Standard Research Proposal Format and Required Sections

All research proposals submitted to the National Pork Board should include the standard 13 sections described on this page. Each section should be clearly marked with subheads.

Please note:

  • Microsoft Word format is preferred. 12-point font.
  • Please include all materials in one document. This includes all sections, letters of cooperation, and curriculum vitae.
  • File name format: last name-first initial-proposal.doc
    example: smith-a-proposal.doc
  • The title of the proposal must match the title of the posted RFP.
  • Length requirements

    • Section 1 — two pages max, single space
    • Section 2 — budget must follow this format
    • Sections 2-11 — 12 pages max, double space
    • Sections 12-13 — two pages max for each letter of cooperation and curriculum vitae

  • Please check each RFP for additional requirements unique to that proposal.
  • All proposals must be submitted via the Pork Checkoff Research Portal.

1. Summary

Decision makers (including pork producers and subject matter experts on the appropriate task force) will review the summary to judge the proposal for scientific soundness and assign industry priority.

The summary should answer the following questions.

  1. Describe the objectives of the research project.

    • What deliverables will this research provide to the industry?
    • List or describe the intended outcomes of the project, not the experimental design or statistical analysis.

  2. Describe how the proposed project fits with the research priorities as stated in the call for proposals.


  3. Outline how this research will assist the Pork Checkoff in addressing our mission of improving swine production in the U.S. as outlined in the Pork Act and Order.

    • According to section 1230.23: “Research means any action designed to advance, expand, or improve the image, desirability, nutritional value, usage, marketability, production, or quality of porcine animals, pork, or pork products, including the dissemination of the results of such research.”


  4. Describe why U.S. pork producers should fund this proposal.

    • For example, how does it advance basic or applied scientific information? How does it improve the competitive advantage of the U.S. pork industry? What are the short and long-term economic implications for pork producers? What makes this research unique and important? What other descriptions or reasons are there for pork producers to highly prioritize this research?

Summary length: two pages max, single-space, 12-point font

2. Budget

Budget Format

  • Please create a project budget using this template. Single space required.
  • Budget must be indicated in a 3-column format that itemizes costs for the National Pork Board vs the university plus the sum of both.
  • Other funding requested or anticipated in support of this project must be indicated in an additional budget column.
  • If preparing a budget for a multi-year project, please include columns for each year of funding, even if only requesting one year of funding at this time.

Approved Costs for Research

  • Overhead and indirect costs are not typically covered by Pork Checkoff research funds.
  • Graduate student support, student and other hourly labor, and post-doctoral support is allowed.
  • Partial support for a principal investigator (PI) on less than a 12-month salaried appointment will be allowed if a detailed budget narrative addressing the amount of requested support in relation to the PI project time commitment justifies the expense.
  • Equipment, except for disposable equipment such as test tubes, etc., is not allowed unless explained in the proposal, included in the budget and approved in advance by the Board.

3. Literature Review

Describe the current status of the problem with a brief literature review.

Include previous related research in this area or a closely related field by the principal investigator (not more than five citations).

5. Project Objectives

Clearly explain the research questions to be answered. List multiple objectives separately.

6. Procedures to Achieve Objectives

Include the details of the experimental design and methods. Discuss and reference all assays, procedures and statistical tests used in the study. Document demonstrated expertise with proposed lab procedures.

7. Description of Quality Assurance/Quality Control Plan

QA/QC basically refers to all those things good investigators do to make sure their measurements are right on (accurate; the absolute true value), reproducible (precise; consistent), and have a good estimate of their uncertainty.

In the regulatory arena, this aspect of data collection is as crucial to the final outcome of a confrontation as the numbers themselves. It specifically involves following established rules in the field and lab to assure everyone that the sample is representative of the site. 

8. Proposed Timeline

Include a schedule for the proposed research project.

9. Value of Proposed Research

Describe the value of the proposed research to the swine industry and its relevance to producer priorities.

Length: one paragraph

10. Certification

Most institutions require approval of proposals before submission. Please indicate this step has been completed by supplying the names, titles, e-mail addresses, and phone numbers of the personnel from the grants office, college and department who have approved your proposal for submission.

Proposals may be rejected if this information is not included.

11. Dissemination Plan

Include a brief description of the plan to disseminate research results to appropriate audiences.

12. Letters of Cooperation

Include letters of cooperation from project co-investigators and other collaborators.

Length: Two pages max for each letter

13. Curriculum Vitae

Include curriculum vitae for the primary investigator and each co-investigator.

Length: Two pages max for each individual


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