Week 3: Proposals

September 25, 2017

Before we can do science, we have to convince someone to let us do the research. The lifecycle of most research projects begins with a proposal, and every grad student does a proposal as part of their research program. Today’s lecture will focus on this critical step.

Lecture Topics

  • What are proposals for, and what types of things get proposed?
  • Crafting excellent research questions
    • Intro to literture searches
  • Just read the instructions! (Study the criteria of a grant, scholarship, or proposal before you start writing)
  • How (and who) to ask for a reference letter

In-class Activities

  • Build a proposal
  • Power 1/4 hour


Recommended: Bourne, Philip E and Leo M Chalupa (2006). “Ten simple rules for getting grants.” In: PLoS computational biology 2.2, p. e12. ISSN: 1553-7358. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.0020012. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16501664http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=PMC1378105.

Also, I recommend page 146-232 of: Heard, Stephen B (2016). The Scientist’s Guide to Writing: How to Write More Easily and Effectively throughout Your Scientific Career. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, p. 255. ISBN: 9780691170220


  • Begin research proposal (peer review during the week, submit Week 4)

Lecture Slides

Slides available via speakerdeck