Scientific Background– Do not repeat information from the previous sections. The “Scientific Background” section should focus on presenting the relevant (key) literature and identifying the gaps in knowledge the research addresses. This is, primarily, a discussion of the gaps in knowledge that the research is intended to address. The literature cited should be sufficient to allow reviewers to conclude the investigators have current knowledge and understanding of the field of study, not a comprehensive review. This should be no more than 1/3 of your allowed pages in length.
Results of past projects or other preliminary results of the investigators relevant to the current project plan may also be presented. If applicable, try to show how your project relates to other ongoing research within and outside ARS. It is not necessary to cite every ARS Research Project: only those relevant. Some of these projects might be discussed under collaborations in the Approach and Procedures section. It is important that peer reviewers see that investigators are aware of others performing similar research.
Related Research– This very important section shows the relationship of the research to other efforts within and outside USDA. Do not repeat detail that may be in the prior section. This includes the CRIS search. If not included in the scientific background you may make this a separate section. The purpose is to show linkages and relation to other, related and similar, work. This is particularly important where there are related or analogous ARS projects. As well, if there are significant efforts outside of ARS, demonstrating your knowledge and/or cooperation with them can be important to note here or elsewhere (For example, as a collaborator in the Approach and Procedures section). See CRIS Search for information on doing a search for related USDA research.
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