The Research Committee uses the following criteria when evaluating the scientific merit of proposals.

  1. Goal
    Is the research goal or hypothesis to be tested clearly stated?
  2. Specific Aims
    1. Are the specific aims to be accomplished through the proposed methods clearly outlined?
    2. Is the relationship to the overall goal included?
    3. Is it clearly stated what the specific research proposed is intended to accomplish?
  3. Background
    1. Has sufficient information (e.g. literature review) been provided to justify performing the present application; and has existing knowledge been critically evaluated?
    2. Has sufficient information been provided to support the significance of the proposed research and methodology by including relevant literature in the area of interest?
  4. Significance
    1. Has the importance and health relevance of the research been stated by relating the specific aims to the broad, long-term objectives?
    2. Have the gaps in literature that the project is intended to fill been identified?
  5. Preliminary Studies/Progress Report
    1. Has a sufficient account of the principal investigator’s pertinent preliminary studies been provided in order to establish that the investigator and collaborators are adequately qualified to carry out the study?
    2. Has the investigator outlined factors or qualities that support the likelihood that the project can be accomplished, completed, and converted into a valued endpoint of the research endeavor (e.g. publication)?
    3. If background graphs, diagrams, tables and charts are submitted, are they relevant to the preliminary studies and/or current application?
  6. Research Design and Methodology
    1. Are the research design and procedures used to accomplish the specific aims of the project adequately described? 
      • Does the protocol describe how data will be collected, analyzed and interpreted?
      • If appropriate, is the advantage of any new methodology described to justify its advantage over existing methodology?
      • Have any potential difficulties and limitations of the proposed procedures been discussed as well as any alternative approaches to achieve the aims.
    2. Has a description of the following for each specific aim been provided?
      • Methods to be used to recruit and treat subjects, collect data, collect and analyze samples, and manage and analyze the data;
      • Number of subjects to be studied and how this sample size was chosen (historical evidence should be provided and potential to enroll this number should be demonstrated);
      • Key assumptions that were used in designing the study, including recruitment projections and effect size;
      • Statistical methods of assuring the quality of data and testing;
      • Potential pitfalls associated with and alternative procedures to accomplish each aim.
  7. External Collaborators
    Does the application include a letter of support from each external collaborator, and include their project role and responsibilities?
  8. Timeline 
    Does the application include a timeline which clearly reflects the project’s activities and anticipated timeframe of completion (i.e., enrollment, chart abstraction, data analysis)?
    Note: While there is no limit on the timeframe from start to completion of a project, it is anticipated that most projects and their related budgets will not exceed two years.
  9. Budget
    1. Is the budget complete and accurate?
    2. Have all expenses been itemized into personnel, supplies, equipment and miscellaneous?
    3. Has percent of effort to be committed to the project for all individuals listed, even if no dollars are budgeted? Cost sharing in other budget categories should be included.
    4. Has sufficient justification and detail been provided to validate the need and cost of each item as well as how the requested figure was arrived at?
    5. Are the funds being requested appropriate for the research being proposed?
  10. Budget Justification
    Has sufficient justification and detail been provided to validate the need and cost of each item, as well as how the requested figure was arrived at?
  11. Literature Cited
    Are literature citations appropriate and adequate?
  12. Curriculum Vitae
    1. Is an up-to-date CV included for the PI and each Co-I?
    2. Are the investigators appropriately trained and well suited to carry out this work?
    3. Is the work proposed appropriate to the experience level of the PI and other researchers?
    4. Does the investigative team bring complementary and integrated expertise to the project (if applicable)?