Planning Your Research Project

Planning, writing and submitting a proposal to fund your research will take longer than you might imagine. From concept to submission, it may take over a year. Funding decisions and agreement negotiation often take an additional six months or more. For best results, a well planned and flexible schedule is recommended.

Conceptualize your project

  • What is your research passion?
  • Is it an area that you would enthusiastically spend the next three to five years or more working on?
  • Is it new, novel, distinctive, exciting, rigorous, and high impact?

Discuss your project with trusted colleagues, mentors and team members

  • This is an ongoing process, your colleagues can help you refine your ideas.

Conduct a literature search

  • What current work is being conducted in your field?
  • How is your idea novel and different than the current research in the field?

Prepare a white paper/executive summary/brief project description

  • This will help you refine and succinctly summarize your project idea. This is a dynamic document that will be modified many times as you continue to refine your ideas. It will also be a good resource for later discussions with potential funders and program officers.

Assess the feasibility of the work related to:

  • Time
  • Resources
  • Available Expertise
  • If necessary, pare down the project to fit the available resources

Formulate an approach to the work

  • Do you have preliminary data? Does the quality and quantity of your preliminary data indicate that your project is likely to be successful?
  • If you do not have preliminary data, what is your plan to obtain it?
  • Plan your three to five year research agenda, one that includes publishing and attending conferences in your field.