Biostatistics Research

This page contains some information for investigators who are planning to submit a grant proposal to the NIH.

See also for information about administrative grant support (scroll down to the "Grant Support" section).

NIH grant application due dates

StarBRITE Tools for Grant Writing

The following links may also be useful as you prepare to submit a grant proposal:

_NOTE: Your grant title cannot exceed 81 characters including spaces! _

Biostatistics Grant Contacts

See and click on "Grant Support".

Biostatistics Proposal Development

See and click on "Grant Support".


COEUS is Vanderbilt's vehicle for proposal development and electronic submission to NIH via You may choose to attend COEUS Lite for PIs and Approvers, especially if you are a new investigator. You may register for COEUS Lite by logging into RATE. You will also find the entire COEUS manual and other aids at this site.

Narrative Sections of a Grant Proposal

The following Research Plan information is taken from the NIH description of Restructured Application changes (effective January 25, 2010). The Business Plan and other narrative descriptions are derived from the COEUS manual and is representative of typical proposals. Your specific guidelines will trump these guidelines.


This section does not have to be provided before submission to OSP and may be uploaded/revised up until submission to

1. Introduction to Application (Resubmission or Revision applications only)

  • May not exceed one page for Resubmission (unless R25 which is three)
  • May not exceed one page for Revision

2. Specific Aims

  • Always required
  • One page

3. Research Strategy

  • Start each section with the appropriate section heading.
  • Cite published experimental details in the Research Strategy section and provide the full refernce in the Biobiography
  • cannot exceed 12 pages for an R01 or 6 pages for an R21

(a) Significance

  • Explain the importance of the problem or critical barrier to progress in the field that the proposal addresses
  • Explain how the proposed project will improve scientific knowledge, technical capability, and/or clinical practice in one or more braod fields
  • Describe how the concepts, methods, technologies...that drive this field will be changed if the proposal aims are achieved

(b) Innovation

  • Explain how the application challenges and seeks to shift current reserach or clinical practice paradigms
  • Describe any novel theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies..., and any advanage over existing methodologies...
  • Explain any refinements, improvements or new application of theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies...

(c) Approach

  • Describe the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses to be used to accomplish the specific aims of the project
  • Discuss potential problems, alternative strategies, and benchmarks for success anticipated to achieve the aims
  • If the project is in early stages of development, describe any strategy to establish feasibility...
  • Preliminary Studies for new applications and Progress Report for Renewal and Revision Applications should be included within the Approach section of the Research Strategy


  • Maximum of 10 PDF attachments allowed
  • A summary sheet listing all of the items included in the Appendix is encouraged but not required
  • Do Not use the Appendix to circumvent the page limitations of the Research Plan

Protection of Human Subjects

  • Discovr-E web site
  • If "YES" to Human Subjects, you must include
    • Inclusion of Women and Minorities
    • Targeted/Planned Enrollment
    • Inclusion of Children
    • Clinical Trials Waiver form where applicable
  • Clinical Trials Billing Compliance FACTr web site


  • Provide a bibliography of references cited in the Research Plan
  • No page limitation

Letters of Support

Other, less commonly used Documents include:

  • Inclusion Enrollment Report (Clinical research, renewals & revisions)
  • Progress Report Publication List (renewals)
  • Vertebrate Animals
  • Select Agent Research
  • Multiple-PI Leadership Plan
  • Consortium/Contractual Arrangements (Financial arrangements with subaward institutions)
  • Data Resource Sharing Plan

Cover Letter

  • Applicants are encouraged to submit a cover letter (required for resubmissions)
  • May request assignment/referral to a particular Scientific Review Group


This section is required before submission to OSP for review/approval

Project Summary, aka Abstract

  • Informative to others working in related fields, understandable to scientific or technically literate lay reader
  • Do not describe past accomplishments
  • Do not use first person
  • This section must be no longer than 30 lines of text

Narrative (Relevance/Public Health Statement)

  • Describe the relevance of this research to public health
  • No more than 2 or 3 sentences
  • Understandable to the general, lay reader

Facilities and Other Resources (EnvirResource)

  • Describe how the scientific environment will contribute to the probability of success of the project
  • Unique features of the environment
  • For Early Stage Investigators, the institutional investment in the success of the investigator (e.g. resources, classes, etc.)


  • List major items of equipment available for this project and pertinent capabilities

Budget Justification

  • Detailed Budget Justification
    • non-modular budget only
    • Detail all expense, personnel and non-personnel, with the purpose for each category of expense
  • Personnel Justification
    • modular budget only
    • do not detail non-salary expense
    • Include all personnel, names, number of calendar months devoted to the project
  • Narrative Justification
    • modular budget only
    • Describe variations from year to year or changing number of modules
  • Consortium Justification
    • subawards only
Note: Modular Budget submissions require Personnel Justification always and Narrative Justification as needed; there is no need for non-personnel expense justification and should not be included
Topic revision: r76 - 31 Jan 2024, DalePlummer
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