Research Plan and Appendix


There is no form associated with the Research Plan section of the application. The Research Plan should include a discussion of the following items (A-F) in the order indicated below.

The Research Plan should include sufficient information needed to evaluate the project, independent of any other document. Be specific and informative, and avoid redundancies.

A. Significance
List the broad, long-term objectives and what the specific research proposed in this application is intended to accomplish, e.g., to test a stated hypothesis, create a novel design, solve a specific problem, or develop new technology. Briefly sketch the background leading to the present application, critically evaluate existing knowledge, and specifically identify the gaps that the project is intended to fill. State concisely the importance and public health relevance of the research described in this application by relating the specific aims to the broad, long-term objectives.

B. Approach
Describe the research design and the procedures to be used to accomplish the specific aims of the project. Include how the data will be collected, analyzed, and interpreted as well as the data sharing plan as appropriate. Discuss the potential difficulties and limitations of the proposed procedures and alternative approaches to achieve the aims. As part of this section, provide a tentative sequence or timetable for the project. Point out any procedures, situations, or materials that may be hazardous to personnel and the precautions to be exercised. Although no specific number of pages is recommended for the Research Plan section, the total for Items A-F may not exceed 25 pages, including all tables and figures. Applicants are encouraged to be as succinct as possible and reminded that there is no requirement that all 25 pages allotted for this section be used.

C. Innovation
Describe any novel concepts, approaches or methods employed by the project. Explain how the aims of the project are original and innovative. Describe any new methodology or technologies and its advantage over existing methodologies.

D. Investigators
Use this section to provide an account of the principal investigator's preliminary studies pertinent to the application information that will also help to establish the experience and competence of the investigator(s) to pursue the proposed project. DO NOT INCLUDE descriptive biographical information unless important to the evaluation of merit.

E. Environment
Explain how the scientific environment in which the work will be done contributes to the likelihood of the project's success. Describe how the proposed experiments take advantage of the unique features of the scientific environment or employ useful collaborative arrangements. Describe any evidence of institutional support. LETTERS OF SUPPORT can be included in an Appendix. DO NOT INCLUDE description of available facilities or equipment unless important to the evaluation of merit.

F. Ethical Issues
Describe provisions that have been made for the protection of human subjects and the safety of the research environments. (An application can be disapproved if the research risks are sufficiently serious and protection against risks is so inadequate as to make the entire application unacceptable.) Describe the degree to which the applicant has met the CDC Policy requirements regarding the inclusion of women, ethnic, and racial groups in the proposed research. This includes:

  1. The proposed plan for the inclusion of both sexes and racial and ethnic minority populations for appropriate representation.
  2. The proposed justification when representation is limited or absent.
  3. A statement as to whether the design of the study is adequate to measure differences when warranted.
  4. A statement as to whether the plans for recruitment and outreach for study participants include the process of establishing partnerships with community(ies) and recognition of mutual benefits.

Research Plan page limitations
Do not exceed 25 pages for items A-F
. All tables, graphs, figures, diagrams, and charts must be included within the 25-page limit. Applicants are encouraged to be succinct and are reminded that it is not necessary to use all 25-pages allotted to Items A-F of the Research Plan.

Full-sized glossy photographs of material such as electron micrographs or gels should be included in the Appendix; however, a photocopy of each must also be included within the Research Plan section and counted as part of the 25-page limit for the Research Plan.

Note: Unless otherwise specified in a CDC solicitation, internet Web site addresses (URLs) may not be used to provide information necessary to the review. Reviewers are under no obligation to view the Internet sites. Moreover, reviewers are cautioned that they should not directly access an internet site as it could compromise their anonymity.

The 25-page limit will be strictly enforced for the Research Plan. Applications that exceed this limit or do not conform to the type size limitations will constitute grounds for the return of the application without review.

Additional information pertinent to your application should be included in the Appendix.

Include all appendix material, in the same file with the application. Please label and title each Appendix attachment and list in the Table of Contents (e.g., Appendix A: Research Survey, Appendix B: Screen Protocol). Identify each item with the name of the principal investigator. Do not intermingle appendix materials with the required Forms or Reaserch Plan. Appendices may include:

  • Up to 10 publications, manuscripts (accepted for publication), abstracts, patents, or other printed materials directly relevant to this project. Manuscripts submitted for publication should not be included.
  • Surveys, questionnaires, data collection instruments, and clinical protocols.
  • Original glossy photographs or color images of gels, micrographs, etc., provided that a photocopy (may be reduced in size) is also included within the 25-page limit of Items A-F of the Research Plan.

Do not use the Appendix to circumvent the page limitations of the Research Plan. Graphs, diagrams, tables, and charts that do not need to be in a glossy format to show detail must not be included in the Appendix. An application that does not observe these limitations will not be accepted.