# R01 Aims

http://scientopia.org/blogs/drugmonkey/2009/03/20/repost-structure-of-an-r01-specific-aims/

Reproduced here in case the original goes away.

REPOST: Structure Of An R01: Specific Aims

One of the most important skills a PI in the biomedical sciences must master is writing grant applications. As we allude to constantly, the basic grant award that is the sine qua non of a successful self-sustaining research program is the NIH R01. The R01 is generally awarded for 4 or 5 years, with an annual direct budget of ~$250,000. This is sufficient to support a small research program of about four or five people, including the PI. In this series, we will discuss how to structure the Research Plan of a new R01 application (competitive renewals are a different beast), taking each section in turn: Specific Aims, Background and Significance, Preliminary Studies, and Research Design and Methods. (Note: NIH has asserted that in the near future, the R01 applications will be reduced in length from 25 single-spaced pages to 12. It remains to be seen how applicants and study sections will adjust their expectations to this new length.) We start with the Specific Aims. The Specific Aims section of the R01 Research Plan is the first page, and it should absolutely without exception fit on that one page. Not one page plus one or two lines, but one single page. This has to be the tightest, most structured part of the application, as many of the study section members who will be scoring your application will only read this section, if they read any of the application at all. The goal of this page is to encapsulate the basic gist of the proposed research and get the reviewer excited. If the reviewer is not excited after reading this page, you are toast. The first paragraph of the Specific Aims page should, itself, be a self-contained complete overview of the project. The first sentence of this paragraph states in the broadest possible terms the long-term goal of the research project. The next sentence or two describes, again in very broad terms, the approach(es) to be deployed in service of that goal. The final sentence states the specific hypothesis to be tested or other particular purpose of the project that will be addressed using the approach(es). The next paragraph or two summarizes the background/significance and preliminary studies. The goal here is to (1) justify the importance of the research question and the relevance/utility of the model system chosen to address that question and (2) demonstrate that the selected approach(es) are feasible and will definitely succeed in allowing the specific hypothesis to be tested or other particular purpose of the project to be achieved. Next is a short transition paragraph that leads into the specific aims themselves. Mine are always two sentences. The first sentence restates the main technical and substantive conclusions of the preliminary studies. The next sentence introduces the specific aims. For example: The following three Specific Aims are intended to test the hypothesis that blah, blah, blah. Now comes the enumeration of the specific aims themselves. For an application for 4-5 years$250,000 budget, there should almost always be three specific aims. Each aim should be headed in bold type as follows: