Original Research Proposal – Organic

Original Research Proposal – Organic

General Layout for 4th year ORP

Overview. The goal of the ORP is to have students come up with an independent research proposal. Your ORP should focus on a big picture problem in chemistry. You should pull from multiple areas outside of your area of expertise (synthesis, catalysis, electrochemistry, photochemistry, chemical biology, polymer/materials) to address a contemporary and unsolved problem. Each specific aim should be independent on each other (this will be one of the metrics we will use to assess the ORP). The scope of the project should be that of a postdoctoral fellowship – something that can be accomplished in 2-3 years by one postdoc.

Specific Aims PreORP. You must first submit a one-page, single spaced description of the Specific Aims of your proposal (see formatting requirements below). Consider it an executive summary of your planned proposal. It should include significance (how it fits into the broader field and how it advances the field), innovation, and summary of research plan broken up into 2-3 specific aims. The aims should all focus on solving the problem you laid out, but should be independent of each other (e.g. if Aim 1 fails, Aim 2 is still feasible). This must be approved before writing the full proposal.

An excellent guide for writing specific aims can be found here.

ORP. Once your Specific Aims are approved, you must submit a max 12 page double spaced proposal (see formatting requirements below). It should contain the following sections: Significance, Innovation, and Research Plan. The research plan should be broken up into each of your specific aims, and should describe how you will accomplish them. At the end of each specific aim, you should describe potential problems and how you will address them. Include a concluding paragraph indicating what will be accomplished if the proposal is successful.

Formatting requirements: Times New Roman, Arial, or Helvetica. Font size 11 pt. Margins 1 in. Font color: black. Total length of document: Maximum 1 page single spaced for Specific Aims PreORP; 15 pages max double spaced for ORP. Alignment – Justify (i.e. straight edges like in journal articles). Figures should help to communicate the ideas in the proposal. Use ACS 1996 Template in Chemdraw.

Saving Files

For the ORP document: Last Name_ORP Year
For the ORP Prep Proposal: Last Name_PreORP Year
For the ORP Resubmission: Last Name_ORP Year_Resubmit#

Example: WilkersonHill_ORP2020 for the first draft


4th year ORP Grading Rubric

Grading the Specific aims

  • Reviewers will provide a brief (one paragraph) summary on the student’s ORP. The reviewer will provide a final Yes or No approval with feedback for the student to move forward with the proposals.
  • Split decisions – Both reviewers need to say yes. The student will resubmit the specific aims page to address the concerns to the reviewer that says no. The reviewer that says no must then submit a yes or no for the student to proceed.

Grading the ORP. (Below is a suggested template for reviewers. Copy and paste to MS Word and provide comments under strengths and weakness for each of the review criteria and a decision.)

Potential for Overall Impact (Will the proposal result in a sustained, powerful influence on a research field involved).

  • General summary and comments for the proposal will go here.

Significance: Does the project address an important problem or a critical barrier to progress in the field? Is the prior research that serves as the key support for the proposed project rigorous? If the aims of the project are achieved, how will scientific knowledge, technical capability, and/or clinical practice be improved? How will successful completion of the aims change the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventative interventions that drive this field?

  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses

Innovation: Does the application challenge and seek to shift current research or clinical practice paradigms by utilizing novel theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions? Are the concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions novel to one field of research or novel in a broad sense? Is a refinement, improvement, or new application of theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions proposed?

  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses

Approach: Are the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the project? Have the investigators included plans to address weaknesses in the rigor of prior research that serves as the key support for the proposed project? Have the investigators presented strategies to ensure a robust and unbiased approach, as appropriate for the work proposed? Are potential problems, alternative strategies, and benchmarks for success presented? If the project is in the early stages of development, will the strategy establish feasibility, and will particularly risky aspects be managed? Have the investigators presented adequate plans to address relevant biological variables, such as sex, for studies in vertebrate animals or human subjects?

  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses

Writing Style (spelling, grammar, clear figures, conciseness, academic rigor). Strengths/Weakness/ general comments

Decision (select one): Pass without revision, conditional pass with minor revisions, major revisions needed.

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