Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Related Topics

Project Plan Information
headline bar

Project Plans

Project plans describe a project's objectives, including HOW, WHEN and BY WHOM they are to be met. The project plan must stand on its own, and should convey how the work relates to other similar projects in the same National Program, and how it may relate to a minority-coded project in the same Management Unit. The plan should be clear and well organized; 15 to 30 pages (depending on the number of scientists assigned to the project) are sufficient if written concisely. Typos, omissions, and sentence fragments suggest a lack of concern and may result in a low score. Make the plan easy to read, with a consistent 'message' from beginning to end.

The primary responsibility for a high quality project plan is shared between the Research Leader and the Scientists.

Outline of a "Typical" Project Plan

(with page locations for the handbook)


Cover Page (Title and Investigator(s))

1 page

(p. 11, App 3)

NPL Validation Page

1 page

(p. 11, App 13)

Signature Page

1 page

(p. 11, App 4)

Table of Contents

1 page

(p. 11)

Project Summary (250 words)

? page

(p. 11)


1-3 pages

(p. 12, App 5)

Need for Research

1-2 pages

(p. 12)

Scientific Background

5-7 pages

(p. 12)

Related Research

1-2 pages

(p. 12)

Approach and Procedures

6-16 pages

(p. 13, App 6)

Physical and Human Resources

?-1 page

(p. 13)

Project Management and Evaluation

? page

(p. 14)

Milestone Table

as needed

(p. 14, App 7)

Prior Period Accomplishments

2-3 pages

(p. 14)

Literature Cited

as needed

(p. 14)

Past Accomplishments of Project Team

1-2 pages each

(p. 15)

Issues of Concern Statements

as needed

(p. 15)

Specific Cooperative Agreements

as needed

(p. 15)

Appendices (letters plus other material

as needed

(p. 15)




The complete single electronic file (pdf) as submitted to OSQR is sent to reviewers.  The sections in bold are those to which the page limits (p. 10) apply.

Examples of Successful Plans

Project Plan Instructions and Format

Editorial Checklist and Components and Tips for Project Plans

Letters of Collaboration

National Agricultural Library Resources

CRIS Search

To Complete a Patent Search(this link will take you away from the OSQR web site)
CAMBIA offers free access to agricultural patents from the European Patent Office, applications provided under the Patent Cooperation Treaty, and the U.S. Patent Office.

Websites to help complete the "Issues of Concern Statement":

ARS Facilities Division: Safety, Health & Environmental Branch

National Environmental Policy Act

NIH's Office of Human Subjects Research

NIH's Office of Biotechnology Activities

Occupational Safety & Health Administration

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Homeland Security

Intellectual Property

Last Modified: 12/1/2016
Footer Content Back to Top of Page