Scott G. Filler, M.D.
Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute
at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center
• Does the application address a
problem of high importance in the
• Will the results of the work have a
broad, sustained impact?
• Importance of disease
o 1-2 paragraphs
o Make sure it is factually correct
• Current gaps in knowledge
• Description of new technology/
• Importance and impact of proposed
o What are the deliverables?
Goals of Significance Section
• Emphasize importance of the
o In the system under study
o How knowledge gained can be applied
to other systems
• Provide essential background
information for an uninformed
• Get reviewer interested
• Don’t assume the reviewer will read
• Try to describe broad overall impact
• Do not directly criticize previous work
Previous microarray studies were flawed by their inability to
detect low abundance transcripts.
While microarray studies have provided valuable insight into
the transcriptional profile of ..., the frequency of low
abundance transcripts remains unknown.
• One paragraph
• Some use bullet points
• Two types of innovation:
o Innovative technology—applying new
tools to an old question
o Innovative hypothesis—applying standard
tools to a new question
• Optimal to have new tools and
• Avoid using standard tools to
answer old questions:
o Does the calcineurin pathway govern stress
response in organism X?
o Which of the 3 known signaling pathways are
active under these conditions?
• Grants focusing on a process have
higher success rates than ones
focusing on a single protein/gene
o How does microorganism X adhere to
host cells? (Good)
o Is the phosphorylation of tyrosine 234 in
protein X necessary for its function? (Bad)