Original Research Proposal – Polymer/Materials

Original Research Proposal – Polymer/Materials

Stage 1: White paper

A 1-page white paper (Abstract, specific aims, including a summary figure of the approach) will be required first. The topic of proposal must be unrelated to the research projects ongoing in their group (students are encouraged to consult with their advisor).

Due date: October 15th of the student’s fourth year. Must be uploaded to dropbox on Sakai site.

The P/M faculty will jointly review these and indicate by Nov. 30th if the proposal idea is reasonable or not. If a resubmission is required, it is due on December 15th (also to dropbox on Sakai site).

Stage 2: Full proposal

The proposal must have the following sections and formatting (example of a proposal will be provided):

  1. Sections:
    • Abstract: A short paragraph (5–6 sentences) providing the context of the proposed research, the key problem/question the research will address, and summarizing the approach.
    • Specific Aims (typically 2–3 aims): A sentence per aim, describing what you seek to accomplish within its scope. All together, the aims constitute the proposed approach. Note: a figure that summarizes these aims must be included in this section.
    • Background and Significance: This section is meant to provide a more detailed context for the significance/impact of the problem/question, as well as what has already been accomplished to address it. Precedents relevant to your proposed research should be included here as well. The literature overview presented here should be as comprehensive as possible, but not be a “laundry list” of reported results—you need to give the reader a clear understanding of why they should care about your area of research and what makes your proposal original. Typically, this section will take up ~1–3 pages.
    • Approach (separate sections for each aim): This section will detail the research you propose to do. Key aspects to include in this section are insightful, well-informed and testable hypotheses, and how you plan to test them. Figures showcasing crucial data that you might expect could also be helpful. Also, what you’re going for is strategic originality and tactical feasibility. The former will be established in the Background section; the latter can be best established by describing your approach in detail, with proper citations. Typically, this section will take up 6–8 pages
    • Outlook: A short paragraph that describes the broader significance of the research being proposed. What are some fields/applications that could be impacted? What are some further directions/branch-points that this research will present?
    • References: Provide citations in the following format:
      1. Zhukhovitskiy, A. V.; Mavros, M. G.; Queeney, K. T.; Wu, T.; Voorhis, T. V.; Johnson, J. A., Reactions of Persistent Carbenes with Hydrogen-Terminated Silicon Surfaces. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2016, 138, 8639–8652.

    • Suggested Reviewers: The students must suggest 3 reviewers (in any division or in APS) for the full proposal. State full name, department, and email address.
  2. Format
    • 10 pages double spaced, not including references
    • Margins ½ inch
    • Font: Arial, 11—12 pts,
    • Roughly 1 figure per page; make sure the figures are legible—avoid shrinking them to fit more text—e.g., font sizes in the figure should be ≥10 pts.
    • References: see above
    • Alignment – Justified (i.e. straight edges like in journal articles).
    • Figures: organized, legible, and ideally prepared using Adobe Illustrator and/or Chemdraw (both accessible at UNC for free).
    • Chemical structures: use ACS 1996 Template in Chemdraw, avoid unrealistic bond angles and lengths, and ensure that all are scaled similarly throughout the text.
    • Submission: upload pdf file to Sakai
      • For the ORP White paper: Last Name_WP_Year.pdf
      • For the ORP document: LastName_ORP Year.pdf
      • For the ORP Resubmission: LastName_ORP Year_Re-#.pdf
        • Examples: Zhukhovitskiy_WP_2020.pdf; Zhukhovitskiy_ORP_2020; Zhukhovitskiy_ORP_2020_Re-1.pdf

Due date: 5PM on March 1st, uploaded to the dropbox on the Sakai site.

Stage 3: Review / revision

Proposals will be reviewed asynchronously by panels of 2 faculty, assigned by the P/M division rep and with consideration of the student’s suggestion, and an evaluation with constructive feedback will be provided by May 1st. A proposal deemed inadequate will be returned to the student for revision. Revised proposals must be submitted to the Sakai site dropbox within one month following return of the reviews, and these proposals will be re-reviewed by the original panel by June 30th.

Rubric for reviewers:

  • White paper (WP):
    • The WP will be reviewed jointly by the P/M division, and the P/M representative will provide a brief (one paragraph) summary on the student’s idea and a Yes or No by majority faculty vote for the student to move forward with the proposal or change course.
  • Full proposal:
  • Potential for Overall Impact: Will the proposal result in a sustained, powerful influence on a research field involved?

    • General summary and comments on the proposal 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

    Originality/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
    • Weaknesses
    • General Comments

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

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