A study on the role of mesenchymal stem cells in diabetes
BMS360 Assignment 1 instruction
Synopsis of a Research Grant Proposal
Applying for research funding is an important part of biomedical research as nothing is these days is done for free! Modern biomedical research can be an expensive undertaking and often involves writing grant applications for funding to conduct research, for conference travel and for fellowships and bursaries. Funding bodies can include major international organisations like the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the USA, national competitive granting schemes like the Australian Research Council (ARC) and the National Health and Medical Research Council (NH&MRC) and local funding bodies like the Cancer Council and Asthma Society.
Often the key to success in these schemes is to be able to write a short description of your research that is concise and can be read by someone who is not necessarily an expert in the field (i.e. a synopsis). First impressions are important and often the decision to consider the grant further is made on the basis of the synopsis. The trick is to be able to convey why you want to do the research and how it can benefit mankind and make this so convincing that they have no choice but to give you the money!
In many ways, a synopsis is a slightly bigger version of an abstract you might write for a research study, however with one big difference: this time you are describing work that you want to do, rather than work that has been done!
The synopsis must be kept short (2 A4 pages maximum not including references; use 12
point Times New Roman or Arial font, single spaced) and must cover the following headings (note: you should use these headings!):
Provide a very brief descriptive title for the project that clearly explains the purpose of the project. Try to keep it as non-technical as possible and avoid the use of abbreviations.
In this section, describe the background to the research project you want to do and why it is necessary to do it. (N.B. make sure it is a human disease based project – not a veterinary project!). This section should clearly indicate why you need to do the research and summarise the recent literature in this area i.e. describe the disease you are studying and what is known or not known about a certain disease process, or why a new drug needs to be developed etc. Keep this section clear and to the point – it must indicate what is new about your project that has not been done before, and link in with the Aims of the project. Make sure you provide sufficient references through is section to provide a good background to what has been done previously in this area.
Clearly state the specific Aims of the project (no more than 3 maximum). These should link to the Introduction and should be clearly stated. Don’t make them too broad or unachievable (e.g. “Aim 1: To cure colorectal cancer” is clearly not achievable in a small research project). The trick is to make them achievable in the context of this project, which means making them specific.
In this section briefly describe the methodology you will use and enough detail to demonstrate you know how they work. You need to clearly indicate here how you will recruit patients and how many* (if a human study) or what animal model you will use, what techniques will be used (use scientific detail as required) and how you will interpret the results.
* Be realistic – e.g. if it is a rare disease then you might struggle to recruit 100 patients.
This is the “sales pitch”!! Provide a brief summary of the project, and explain the benefits of your project if you achieve your Aims e.g. you might develop a better drug with less side effects, a better understanding of the side effects of a drug following a clinical trial, a better understanding of the disease process to allow new drugs to be developed.
• Choose current references where possible
• You must use the VANCOUVER style for referencing
o See http://libguides.murdoch.edu.au/Vancouver for further details if you are not familiar with this style
• You will be assessed on how extensively you reference in text, and the accuracy and formatting of your end-text referencing.
o Please check carefully the format for citing in text and end text
o Note the format used for citing web pages and internet resources
• You will probably need around 6 articles, and no more than 8 in total. End-text
reference lists are not included in the page count.
• YOU MUST USE PEER-REVIEWED SOURCES AS REFERENCES. YOU WILL LOSE
MARKS FOR USING NON-PEER REVIEWED WEB PAGES OR ARTICLES.
How do I start?
You can cover an area of research for any disease in any of the topics we have dealt with in the unit – the best advice I can give is pick one you find interesting. My advice would be to find one or two very recent research article in the area and read it (or them) carefully. A good paper will identify both the strengths of their study as well areas that need further research. Use this paper(s) as a guide to writing your synopsis, however your synopsis should not just be a summary of these articles but needs to suggest a new area of research. Identify an area in the field that needs more research and use the recent papers to help you describe your approach i.e. an animal model of the disease or a clinical trial, what types of tests you will be performing and what you would expect to see if your experiments are successful. However, make sure you cite your references accurately!