Guidelines for Preparation of the Research Proposal
A key element of your application is the Research Proposal. The proposal reflects your thinking and design of an original research project. It should be innovative, technically sound, compatible with the research interests of the government agency and laboratory to which you are applying, and feasible to complete in a 1-3 year period of time. The outcome of the proposed research should be new information that can be published in the peer reviewed literature and that will further knowledge in your field of science or engineering.
Applicants are encouraged to discuss their proposal with the prospective dviser(s) at the federal laboratory. Part of the overall evaluation is the application is the assessment of the laboratory regarding the quality and relevance of the proposed research. An enthusiastic endorsement of your proposal by the prospective Adviser(s) will increase your chances of receiving an award.
When preparing your proposal, make sure to include the following key elements:
Statement of the problem
This should be a clear and concise statement describing the subject area of your research and what you hope to accomplish.
Background and relevance to previous work
Briefly review the literature as it pertains to your stated problem. Describe how previous work, by you and/or others, has led to the research that you propose to perform. Discuss any technological developments that have contributed to the state of knowledge that will allow you to conduct this research.
Provide sufficient detail of your plan of work such that knowledgeable reviewers can evaluate whether the work you plan is technically sound. Whenever possible, refer to published methods. Include methods that will be used to interpret or evaluate results (e.g., statistical methods). If the proposed research involves the use of animal or human subjects, a statistical discussion of the number of animals (or human subjects) relative to the validity of the results should be included
New or unusual technique
If your research will include new methods or methods that are not likely to be generally known in the discipline, provide additional detail that documents feasibility of these methods in the context of your proposed research.
Expected results, significance and application
Describe what results you hope to obtain, including any contingencies that might apply if unexpected results are obtained or methodologies fail. Describe the significance of these results and how they might be used in practical application to problems of interest to the agency to which you are applying. If your proposed research does not have obvious practical applications in the short term, explain how the work will further knowledge in the field that will eventually lead to practical application.
Provide citations to all published work that is used in preparing your proposal.
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