How to write a successful proposal

CERIC-ERIC combines in a flexible and "project-oriented" way, complementary analytical and preparation methods such as NMR, Synchrotron light, neutrons, electron microscopy and other surface and interface analytical instruments (see the full list of available methods).
Proposals should address challenging scientific or technological problems that require the use of several of the complementary methods offered by the partners for sample growth and characterization. CERIC-ERIC features a completely innovative approach, focusing on the scientific or technological value of the project, allowing access to different integrated facilities through a single access point.

The integration is the strength of the Consortium, so it is crucial that the proposal clearly reflects the advantage of having access to CERIC rather than conducting independent experiments in single facilities.

The best way to design a successful experimental plan is to discuss your scientific problem with experts in each technique. They will give you valuable advice and suggestions on how to prepare your sample, estimate required time, define optimal experimental parameters and obtain the most from your measurements. The full list of available facilities and contact persons can be found on this page.

A good proposal should address the following points in its scientific description:

  1. Background: It should describe the scientific or technological problem and its context.
  2. Motivation for the present proposal: Include information about previous experiments performed on the system and the achievements expected with the proposed experimental plan. The aim is to explain how this proposal will contribute to shedding light on the problem described in “background”.
  3. Experimental plan: Describe all the experimental steps your proposal includes, from sample preparation to data analysis. Sample preparation facilities will be available for those cases in which the correct preparation or growth of the sample for a given technique may require specific competences or knowledge of the analytic methods. The aim is to guarantee the success of the analysis and not the sample preparation per se. As a consequence, proposals requiring sample preparation must foresee the use of at least one analytic method. Be as specific as you can in terms of the analytic techniques you require, since this will be necessary in order to evaluate the feasibility of your proposal. Include relevant pictures, for example spectra previously acquired from your sample, if they have not been included in an already published paper. If your sample is an archaeological or industrial object, include a picture or drawing if available.
  4. Explain why this work calls for access to CERIC: Due to their high demand, it is essential to justify the need for the advanced techniques offered at CERIC. If similar results could be achieved with less sophisticated methods, you should not apply for CERIC.
  5. References: Include a list of publications (better if your own or from your group) relevant to the proposal.

For further information please contact CERIC user office: useroffice@ceric-eric.eu