Research Award Tips and Checklist


  1. Start early. Do not wait until the last minute to begin working on your proposal.
  2. In the narrative description, clearly state the title of your research, the objective(s), rationale, methods and the significance of your research proposal. Use subheadings to delineate each part of the narrative description.
  3. Specifically in the significance aspect of the narrative description, overtly state how your study contributes to skin of color research.
  4. For tips on how to prepare a proposal, please see this NIH page.  
  5. In your mentor’s letter of support, the mentor should mention you by name. They should also mention how they will be mentoring you and providing you support for your research project. If they have mentored other SOCS award recipients or been mentors for NIH K award recipients (or equivalents), that should also be noted in their letter of support. They should also mention that you will be provided the necessary time (and space if needed) to complete your research.
  6. Complete the budget breakdown using the provided budget template. Please note the grant funding cannot be used for indirect departmental costs or departmental costs including salaries, salary support, travel expenses, overhead costs, IRB fees or to purchase capital equipment such as computers, cellular phones, tablets, appliances, machinery, camera equipment, sensors, etc.
  7. Read through your proposal prior to submission. Don’t just use spellcheck — read through your proposal out loud to look for syntax errors, spelling errors and homonyms.
  8. Consider having someone in medicine, not familiar with your research topic, read your proposal prior to submission. If the proposal is difficult for him or her to understand, it will likely be difficult for the Research Committee to understand as well.
  9. Make sure your application is complete prior to submission (use the Application Checklist as your guide). Incomplete applications will not be evaluated.


Application Checklist:

  • Research Award Application Form
    • Research proposal (2500 words or less)
    • Completed budget template
  • Applicant’s bibliography/CV
  • Mentor’s bibliography/CV
  • Letter of Recommendation from Mentor and/or Chairperson
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By 2042, more than 50% of the US population will have skin of color.