Objectives– The objectives should be as in the PDRAM. Accompanying this should be one to three paragraphs illustrating the linkages and general bases for this set of objectives to be part of this plan. This provides a framework for the objectives and a clear context that will guide the reviewer. A figure to illustrate the relationships among objectives, overall goals or outcomes, and staff can be most valuable and is strongly encouraged ( Example of a Flow Chart). Such a figure or diagram can be useful in refining the prior Project Summary section.
Need for Research– This short section (1-2 pages) summarizes the nature of the problem to be addressed, its relevance to the National Program Action Plan, the anticipated products, the potential benefits, the customers/recipients of the research, and, where appropriate, their involvement. Rather than detailing these as individual subsections, including the information in a single narrative will provide a clear picture while conserving pages. Build upon, rather than repeat, the project summary.
Scientific Background– Do not repeat information from the previous sections. The “Scientific Background” section should focus on presenting the relevant (key) literature and identifying the gaps in knowledge the research addresses. This is, primarily, a discussion of the gaps in knowledge that the research is intended to address. The literature cited should be sufficient to allow reviewers to conclude the investigators have current knowledge and understanding of the field of study, not a comprehensive review. This should be no more than 1/3 of your allowed pages in length.
Results of past projects or other preliminary results of the investigators relevant to the current project plan may also be presented. If applicable, try to show how your project relates to other ongoing research within and outside ARS. It is not necessary to cite every ARS Research Project: only those relevant. Some of these projects might be discussed under collaborations in the Approach and Procedures section. It is important that peer reviewers see that investigators are aware of others performing similar research.
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