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Specific Aims: Home

Writing Resources

How to write good Specific Aims?

The Specific Aims section in NIH grant are the most important and most difficult part to write. Specific Aims are research objectives you want to accomplish with the grant. 

How to write good Specific Aims? 

Tip 1. Write Aims that are achievable within the funding period. 

Tip 2. Write 3 Aims. (It will help your project focused and completed within targeted time.)

Tip 3. Avoid making all 3 Aims interdependent so that if one fails the other two will succeed. 

Tip 4. Avoid descriptive Aims. ("We will measure/define A"). 

Tip 5. Write a hypothesis that can be tested by Aims. (One general hypothesis or one for each Aim.) 

Sample Grant Applications with Specific Aims

Martin Karplus, Ph D of Harvard University, "Modeling atomic structure of the EmrE multidrug pump to design inhibitor peptides"

Chad A. Rappleye, Ph D of Ohio State University, "Forward genetics-based discovery of Histoplasma virulence genes" (summary statement

Resources at Howard

If you want a workshop on Specific Aims, please contact Office of Research Development:; 202-806-6000

For individual consultations on your Specific Aims, please contact: 

Thomas A. Mellman, MD

Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Center for Clinical and Translational Research 


The next NIH BioSketch seminar is tentatively scheduled to January 25, 2018. 

For questions about the upcoming seminar, please contact:

Youlander Greene (

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