Developing and Funding Your Great Research Ideas

Academic, discipline-based research is key to the research institute's mission. Of note, research is increasingly accessing expertise of multidisciplinary collaborative groups. Team science is the collaborative effort that addresses a scientific challenge while leveraging the strengths and expertise of professionals trained in different fields. Any member of IBHRI may propose the formation of a new research project. Individuals who would like to establish a new project should convey their interest to the Board President and Vice-President.

The Proposal

Begin with a Project Summary (or Abstract) and Specific Aims. Identify yourself as the lead research scientist and be certain to include the title of the proposed research project. The Project Summary/Abstract should be a brief paragraph (200 to 250-words) that describes the research question(s), the anticipated approach to answer the questions, and overall focus and intent of the proposed research project.

The Specific Aims page should be no more than one page (single spaced) and should detail the objectives of your planned research project. You should be able to accomplish your objectives within a reasonable period of time. Start with an emphasis on the significance of the project and how it will move the field forward. Then, focus on generating experiments with clear endpoints that can be readily assessed. Limit your project to a few specific aims (objectives) and keep your project manageable.

Some researchers begin with their Specific Aims and then develop a hypothesis. Others do the reverse. Use the approach that works for you and your project. Each specific aim should be tied to a hypothesis that you have about the research questions addressed in your abstract (and restated in your specific aims document). The proposal should be specific enough to allow potential research scientist partners to make educated judgments about scientific merit and whether or not to join the effort. Remember that at this stage, it is only a draft. It will continue to be worked through. 

Research at IBHRI

The Integrative Behavioral Health Research Institute (IBHRI) is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization. The purpose of the Institute's empirically-driven research on a variety of behavioral health topics is to help key stakeholders in society - policymakers, media, nonprofit organizations, and the public at large - make decisions about programs, services, policies, and the field at large. As documented in our bylaws, our activities are funded through grants and individual donations. Research scientists with a proposed project should proactively seek appropriate funding and request a budget that sufficiently supports the activities of the research project. 

Additionally, IBHRI is seeking opportunities to partner strategically with funders who share our commitment to impartial research and data that drives discussion and improvement in the health and behavioral health fields. Board members are supportive of research scientists' efforts and may provide support with identifying funders. Also, a number of resources are available online for identifying entities that provide support for research. As a research scientist seeking funding for your work, consider that a major barrier to collaborative research activities is the lack of funding to support the required infrastructure for multi-site studies. Thus, identifying individuals, institutions, or foundations that offer infrastructure support for collaborative studies will ensure that your multi-site, team science study is appropriately funded. 

While a number of funding opportunities may be available, they are extremely competitive. It is essential to have thought through the significance of the study, the impact it will make in the field, the team of investigators, and the approach (including your timeline) that will be taken in the endeavor.

For more information, please contact a board member or fellow research scientist at IBHRI.