Scientific Overview

This page provides guidance on how to complete the individual sections within the Scientific Overview part of a grant application form.


The abstract should provide a concise summary of the major aspects of the project. It should include a brief background to the proposed research, the hypotheses and/or specific aims, the methodology, the expected results, and how they are anticipated to contribute to the field of research.

The abstract should be no more than 250 words long.

What is known already about the research question and what will this study add? 

This section should provide a clear overview of current knowledge in the field of research, and explain the expected new contribution(s) through the proposed studies.

The existing knowledge and evidence should be objectively summarised, together with an explanation of key knowledge gaps and outstanding questions, and how these led to the development of the proposed research. Any supporting pilot data should also be described briefly. The added value of the study should be defined in terms of generating novel data, moving the overall research field forward, and creating further opportunities for research.

While this summary should be written so that it can be understood independently of information provided elsewhere in the grant application, it does not replace any other section of the application. The points addressed in this section should be expanded on in other sections of the application as required. 

Citations should not be included in this section, and the overall length should not exceed 250 words. Peer reviewers will be directed to assess the information provided for accuracy.

What will be the impact of the proposed study if successful? 

This section should explain the academic, clinical, economic, societal or other impact that the proposed research is expected to produce. It should identify the likely beneficiaries of the research and the nature of the benefit, and define any measures that are in place to realise such benefit. This should not be a reiteration of the added value of the study to the research field (see above) and focus should not be placed on dissemination of results through scientific publications or conference presentations.

Examples of impact include the development of new therapies or diagnostics tests, the development or sharing of important new research resources, and the influencing of clinical practice or policy development. As the impact of research is often realised after a long time period and through the contribution of multiple groups and teams, consideration should be given to the broader benefits of the research that may be achieved in the long term and through the exchange of knowledge with other stakeholders, often in multiple sectors.

This section should be no more than 150 words long.