Writing an official research proposal
Elements of a research proposal
Introduction (History, previous works, general background, and goal)
What are the issues? What do we know now? What is the objective of this research?
Show that the project is important. Explain why it is worth pursuing the project, and what impact the experiments will have on science and technology.
How do we understand the issue now? Explain theories necessary for understanding the proposed research project.
How can we extract more information? Explain experimental methods. Draw schematic diagrams to help understanding.
Show that the project is not just a dream. Explain that conditions for the experiments (such as high vacuum, low temperature, high voltage, reduction of floor vibrations, etc.) can be achieved with reasonable efforts. Estimate signal-to-noise ratios of the proposed experiments. Must be feasible quantitatively (at least within an order of magnitude), not just qualitatively.
Use your track record to convince the readers that you have enough background knowledge and experiences in the proposed experimental techniques.
Show the open facilities or collaborative resources you have to help achieve your goal.
Justify the expense. Show that you have taken into consideration every possible way of saving money. List major equipment required and the cost. Estimate cost of operation (maintenance, material cost, electricity, gas, coolant, etc.) per year.
Space and environment (required when applying for a professor/research fellow position)
State the required laboratory space. Air conditioning, humidity and dust control. Electricity and cooling water supply, etc.)
Evaluation of a research proposal
Significance and innovation
Does this project address an important question ? How will it advance scientific knowledge if achieved? Does the project challenge existing paradigms ?
Does this project lead to significant technological breakthrough? Does this project employ novel concept, approach, or method? Are the ideas original and innovative?
Are the conceptual framework, design, methods, and analyses adequately developed and appropriate to the goal of this project?
Are the potential problems or difficulties addressed or alternative tactics provided?
Do the investigator and co-investigator have the experience/expertise and existing resources to carry out the project?
Does the investigator have good track record in research?
Does the scientific environment in which the project will be carried out contribute to the probability of success?
Does the proposed experiments take advantage of unique features of the scientific environment or employ useful collaborative arrangements?
Is there evidence of institutional support?