Principal Investigators Association

Specific Aims: The Logical Framework That Holds Your Grant Proposal Together

Specific Aims: The Logical Framework That
Holds Your Grant Proposal Together

60-Minute Webinar Available in CD-rom, MP4 and PDF Transcript
All formats include the PDF presentation handouts

Specific Aims: The Logical Framework That Holds Your Grant Proposal Together Creating the specific aims page of your NIH grant application is arguably the most important part of your proposal. Deciding how much experimental detail to include, how to condense the Aims into one page, and how to effectively use them to convince reviewers that your work has impact are the crucial questions you should be asking yourself as you begin outlining your proposal.
Your Aims page is your opportunity to wow reviewers from the get-go. If you fail to capture their attention here, the rest of your proposal may not stand a chance. As you begin to craft your Aims, keep in mind these 3 common mistakes most reviewers find: A lack of innovative ideas; Aims not being justified clearly; and Aims which are not hypothesis driven.
“As a reviewer, I have usually found that the Specific Aims page of a well-written application provides enough information for me to decide whether or not to argue strongly for its funding… Thus, in my opinion, the SA page effectively provides 75-80% of the salesmanship of the grant. If this is done well, a big part of your job is done.”
Dr. Christopher Francklyn
Join your expert presenter, Dr. Christopher Francklyn, an NIH investigator and reviewer to gain first-hand knowledge on:

  • Using the Specific Aims page as a “foundation” during the writing of the application.
  • The essential components of the Specific Aims page and how to write them.
  • How many Aims should you include? Can there be too few or too many?
  • Explain the importance of the Specific Aims page relative to the other parts of the application.
  • The importance – or not – of the hypothesis during the writing of your Specific Aims page.
  • How to use your Specific Aims page to convince reviewers your work has Impact.

5 Key Take-Aways:

  • How writing the Specific Aims constitutes the key piece of writing for the grant to that sets the stage for everything that follows.
  • How to make your Specific Aims page work as the key element to convince your reviewers to argue strongly for your applications.
  • How to balance the amount of emphasis on each section to gain maximum impact.
  • How to craft a page in which the Aims are mutually supporting, and not a collection of dissimilar research questions.
  • How to use hypothesis to convince the readers of your scientific vision, or how to avoid hypothesis and still gain reviewer hypothesis.

Who Should Attend:

  • The webinar will be most useful for 1st time grant writers and Early Stage Investigators, but will also have some specific comments and recommendations for mid-career scientists who need to maintain funding and/or alter direction.


Christopher Francklyn, PhD, has been a funded NIH investigator for nearly 25 years, and reported discoveries related to protein synthesis and the genetic coding in leading journals such Nature, Science, Cell, Molecular Cell, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. His work on the molecular recognition of transfer RNA is routinely cited in most standard biochemistry textbooks. He has been a regular NIH reviewer for the last decade and a half, served as the founding Chair of the Molecular Genetics A Study Section, and served on the editorial board of the Journal of Biological Chemistry. during the period of 2010-2011, he served as a regular columnist for the Principal Investigator’s Association Study Section Insider newsletter. He is proud of the many former graduate students, post-doctoral students, and junior colleagues that he has successfully mentored in the process of capturing their early career awards.

Limited-Time Offer:

Purchase this 60-Minute On-Demand Webinar in CD-Rom, MP4 or PDF Transcript for
only $99

As an added bonus, you will receive a free PDF copy of the executive brief entitled “The Power Behind Your Specific Aims Page: What to Include, Mistakes to Avoid.”

*Please note: Each format includes the presentation handouts in PDF. CDs are mailed within 48 hours. A link to the MP4 and/or PDF Transcript is available immediately after purchase.

Have additional questions?


You have the floor with the speaker during an interactive Q&A. Remember, you can submit your questions in advance via email to [email protected].


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This Webinar presentation is brought to you as a training tool by the Principal Investigators Association, which is an independent organization. The presentation, tools presented and their contents are not connected with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), nor are they endorsed by this agency. All views expressed are those personally held by the presenter and are not official government policies or opinions.

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