Writing Your Statement of Research

The Statement of Research is an important component of a proposal and should consist of well-thought-out research and clear writing. This two-page document is attached to a proposal in the Integrated Proposal Tracking System (IPTS) and should describe the purpose, importance, and goal of the research. Please review the following tips and guidelines to ensure your Statement of Research is thorough and well-organized.

Plan Experiment Details Before Writing

It is important to plan the details before starting your proposal and writing the Statement of Research. Do not wait until right before the proposal call deadline to begin, or there will not be sufficient time for planning, collaboration, and feedback. The proposal process is highly competitive, and the scientists work with multiple proposers during each proposal call.

  • Identify the instrument(s) and major sample environment equipment needed.
  • Consult with a scientist from the identified instrument(s) to discuss your experiment well in advance of the proposal call deadline. If you do not consult a scientist at HFIR or SNS, do not indicate in your proposal that you have.
  • Determine how many proposals you will submit.
    • If two instruments are needed for the same project/experiment plan, submit one proposal requesting both instruments.
    • If multiple experiments are loosely related or not related at all, submit a different proposal for each experiment.
  • Know the characteristics and hazards of your sample(s).
  • Study existing literature to place your research plan in the context of what others are doing.

Address a Proposal Resubmission

If you are planning to submit a proposal that is the same or very similar to one reviewed in a previous cycle, consider the following:

  • You must address any reviewer concerns from the previous proposal in your new proposal. Not responding to previous review comments may negatively impact the ranking of the new submission.
  • The Statement of Research tab in the Integrated Proposal Tracking System (IPTS) includes a section for addressing reviewer comments in proposals that are resubmissions. 
  • Previous reviewer comments can be found by using the link in the notification letter for your original proposal or within IPTS in your new proposal's Statement of Research tab. 
  • Depending on when your previous proposal was submitted, proposal guidelines may be different. Ensure your new proposal text matches the current Statement of Research template.

Follow the Statement of Research Template

The Statement of Research is a two-page document you will attach to your proposal in IPTS. This document should describe your experiment plan and justify your use of HFIR or SNS. Failing to follow the Statement of Research guidelines will lower your proposal’s chance of success.

Please use the provided template when writing your Statement of Research. The guidelines below are also included in the template.

Download the General User Statement of Research Template

Statement of Research Formatting

  • Use font no smaller than 11 point
  • Limit to two pages
  • Safety Considerations and References are not included in the two-page limit and may spill over to a third page.

Statement of Research Outline

Because your Statement of Research is limited to two pages, ensure clear and precise writing is used to describe your research. Each section in the Statement of Research includes prompts to help accomplish this. The following outline is also provided in the template.

Scientific Importance

What scientific question(s) are you trying to answer? Provide a brief statement of the scientific background and general importance of the research, including references to literature where appropriate. Explain why the experiment requires the use of neutrons versus other techniques.

Preliminary Work

Provide results of preliminary work carried out using neutrons or other techniques and the relationship with your proposed experiment. Include preliminary tasks, measurements, synthesis, structural characteristics, or calculations that have been done at your home institution or elsewhere in preparation for the proposed research at HFIR/SNS.

Provide transport measurements and x-ray characterization to prove the samples are well characterized (when applicable).

Choice of Instrument

Explain why you need the chosen instrument. If beam time cannot be awarded on the requested instrument, state alternate instruments on which some or all the experiment could be carried out.

Experiment Plan

State clearly and exactly the research tasks to be carried out. Provide an estimate of the number and quality of the samples, and the expected measurement time needed for each. Describe the techniques to be used to generate and analyze the data.

Response to Previous Panel

If the proposal is a resubmission, provide a response to previous panel comments.

Safety Considerations

Identify and discuss any recommended safety precautions, controls, or procedures that ensure your experiment can be run in a safe manner while at HFIR/SNS.

References

List all sources for cited literature (if applicable).

Ask the Instrument Scientist for Feedback

When your Statement of Research is finished, ask the scientist you have been in contact with to review the draft. Their constructive comments can help strengthen the scientific case and experiment plan. Do not wait until the last minute ask for feedback. Instrument scientists are busy answering a lot of questions and emails at the end of proposal calls.