Scientific Outline Overview & Guidelines

May 31, 2013 Debra Cheung

USDA-NIFA CA Agricultural Experiment Station (AES)
New & Revised Hatch (H) or Animal Health (AH) Projects

Scientific Outline


Individuals with appointments in the UC Davis Agricultural Experiment Station (AES) account for their research efforts with AES Projects.  AES Projects (Hatch, Hatch/Multistate or Animal Health) provide necessary research documentation for the university, in its role as a public land-grant institution, to answer questions about current and past research, planning, goals, and direction. The proposal should be scientifically rigorous while remaining easily understood by other interested parties (such as legislative analysts and so-called “watchdog” groups) with little or no scientific background.

Proposals should be three to five pages in length, single spaced, exclusive of references.  The PI name and complete project number, [CA-D-(ABC)-(1234)-(H or AH)], should be included at the top of each page of the Scientific Outline for new and revised projects. 

Please note that the Scientific Outline is not required for Hatch/Multistate (RR) projects.

Note for dept. staff: You do not need to upload the project/scientific outline into REEport on the "Proposal" screen; the upload process will be completed by the UC Davis CA&ES REEport Site Administrators.  Once Peer-Review Certification is complete, email the final Scientific Outline as a Word document to .


Title: The title (maximum length 140 characters) should provide a clear and concise statement of the subject of the research.

Justification: Proposed research must conform to the policy specified in the Hatch Act.  This policy is very broad with respect to subjects that can be studied, however relevance to agricultural, environmental and societal issues that are impacted by, or impact upon, the management of agricultural and natural resource systems is required.

This section should state, as appropriate:

The importance of the problem to agricultural and natural resource systems and/or rural life of the state or region;

The reasons for doing the work (e.g., the needs the project will address), and doing it at this time;

The ways in which scientific knowledge will be advanced; and

The ways in which public welfare will be advanced. 

Previous Work and Present Outlook: This section should provide the conceptual framework for the project.  It should include a summary of relevant previous and current work in the research topic area conducted by the principal investigator and others, and a description of the additional understanding that is to be achieved by the proposed work.  For proposals that are revisions of previous projects, it is important to cite the publications that emerged from the original AES project.

Integrated Research and Extension Activities: If a project is written as an integrated project, please insert a short paragraph in this section that explains the integrated activities.  Integrated activities are defined as jointly planned, funded, and interwoven activities between research and extension to solve problems.  This includes the generation of knowledge and the transfer of information and technology.   Projects that include integrated research and extension activities are highly encouraged. UC Davis is required to spend 25% of their Hatch allocations on integrated activities.

Objectives: The objectives should be numbered, single-sentence statements of specific goals (results to be achieved) of the research project.  Avoid using sub-objectives, and avoid listing more than six objectives. 

Procedure: The procedures section should describe the methodology to be used to attain each of the project’s objectives.  Procedures should, to the extent possible, follow the order of the objectives. 

Duration: Estimate the amount of time necessary to complete the research and publish the results.  The maximum period for a project is five years; projects requiring more than five years will require a revised AES project proposal prior to or at the time of their estimated termination date. 

Personnel: State the names of the principal investigator, co-investigators, and any technical staff involved with the research (when known). 

Institutional Units Involved: Identify all units within the University of California, including research facilities, which will be used to contribute to the research effort. 

Cooperation: Identify other experiment stations, institutions or agencies expected to cooperate formally or informally on the project.  If a Hatch or Animal Health project contributes to a Multistate Research Project, list the MRF number. If the project is written as an integrated project, please include a list of cooperating Extension personnel, if known.

Literature Cited: Provide full citations to all literature cited in the body of the proposal.

Progress Report (not to exceed 1 page): AES project proposals that are continuations of previously approved projects should include a short progress report that summarizes the extent to which previous objectives were met.

Return to Proposal Checklist or AES Menu

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