Do you have a developed research project idea? Are you planning to apply for funding within the next six months?

Developing Your Specific Aims: A Writing Workshop for Researchers will help you to develop a compelling and focused Specific Aims section.

The Specific Aims section needs to describe your proposed work and excite your readers by introducing the area of research and the problem addressed; stating your objectives, research questions, and hypothesis;  and highlighting why the work is important. This section may be called different things – Specific Aims, Executive Summary, or Overview and Objectives, for example – and it must capture the interest of your reviewers by providing a clear and compelling summary of your project and why the granting institution or agency should fund it.

Our small group workshop focuses on crafting and refining your one-page Specific Aims page through a combination of instruction, guided feedback, and intensive peer review. You will revise and receive feedback on your drafts several times over the course of the workshop.

By the end of the workshop, you should be able to:

  • Apply strategies for developing clear and compelling specific aims.
  • Practice constructive and effective peer review.
  • Apply strategies to target your Aims to your reviewer audience with respect to funding agency mission and reviewer expertise.
  • Deconstruct the review criteria and process.


The workshops are taught by Susan Lewis, Associate Director, and Anna Ponzi Dalby, Senior Research Development Specialist of the Tufts University Office of Research Development (ORD).


There will be four workshop sessions, held online via Zoom, on Thursday October 1, 8, 15, and 22 from 1:00-3:00PM.

Participants must be able to attend all sessions and must submit an initial draft of the aims in advance. Please contact us with any questions at

***Drafts must be submitted by September 28, 2020.


Register here by September 28.

Participants must attend all four sessions and must be able to submit a draft of their Specific Aims by September 28.

Please Note

Registration is first come, first served, and open to faculty members of Tufts CTSI partner institutions. Once the course is full, additional registrants will be put on a waitlist.

Still formulating a research concept? Need some advice? Submit a service request.