How to propose a project in a YAU group

Some recommendations to send in your project proposal.

  • Once you have an idea, you should do a focussed literature search to understand what is known already and establish why your proposal is important.
  • Once you have done your literature search, then discuss your idea with your YAU working group chair. They will only approve ideas that they think are important, that will add important knowledge to the literature and influence how we manage our patients. They should be selective over which projects go forward to peer review.
  • If they think it’s a good idea, they will give you approval to complete a project proposal proforma. This completed proposal should undergo peer review by team members allocated by the YAU working group chair. These team members can be internal YAU working group members or external experts in the field. Target timelines should be set for this process.
  • An Associate YAU member can take responsibility for evaluating progress according to the timelines and can send reminders to members of the group
  • A decision will be taken by the group chair on basis of the peer review recommendations on whether to take the project forward, revise the proposal or to not take the proposal any further
  • The revision phase can go through several rounds of revisions
  • If approved, then the remainder of your YAU group should review the proposal and provide comments
  • Once given full approval by the group, YAU group members should be invited to take part
  • Timelines should be set for the project, data collection, analysis and write up

Key principles to a successful proposal

Focus on ideas that are topical, relevant and clinically important

  • Think about whether a prospective study is required.
  • If a prospective project will be far more valuable to address your research question, then don’t settle for a retrospective study design: be ambitious.
  • Do not propose a project just because data is available for a question.
  • Do not propose a retrospective study just because it is easier to do this.

All proposals should be submitted to a project template

  • This ensures that all key aspects of a project design are included. This makes the person proposing the project think carefully about the feasibility of the work. This also allows the group to carefully consider the value of the project.
  • What should not happen: projects simply proposed by email or in an unstructured way.

All proposals should have had a focussed literature review done

  • This does not have to be a systematic review or a published review but it must be a focussed review to the review question addressing the following aspects: What is known about this question, what will this project add to what is known, how important is this project? The key relevant data should be referenced in the background section of the proposal
  • What should not happen: projects proposed without an effort in understanding what has been published to address this question. It should be a default that a focussed literature review is the foundation of any project discussion.

There should be a peer review pathway for all project proposals

  • The peer review process ensures: 1. We only launch a project if it is important and agreed by peer reviewers with final decision by group chair based on peer reviewers recommendations 2. We improve the project design of those studies that we do launch
  • This can be peer review by a couple of members of the group (e.g. might be members with experience of this area or experience in peer review but at least 3 members per project)
  • The process by which someone proposes a project should be transparent and people should understand that there is a peer review process and the outcome will be whether or not to launch the project
  • What should not happen: anyone within a group can propose a project and launch it within the group without peer review

Special thanks to Veeru Kasivisvanathan for his valuable contribution.