The purpose of the Project Summary/Abstract is to describe succinctly every major aspect of the proposed project except the budget. The abstract is an important part of your application. It is used in the grant referral process, along with a few other parts of the application, to determine what study section is appropriate to review the application and to what institute at NIH it is most relevant. Members of the Study Section who are not primary reviewers may rely heavily on the abstract to understand your proposal.

The second component of the Project Summary/Abstract is Relevance. In this section, describe the relevance of this research to public health. Be succinct and use plain language that can be understood by a general, lay audience. Use no more than two or three sentences.

Recommended Length

The first component/section must be no longer than 30 lines of text, and follow the required font and margin specifications. The Relevance component should be no more than two to three sentences.

The abstract should include

  • a brief background of the project; 
  • specific aims, objectives, or hypotheses; 
  • the significance of the proposed research;
  • refer to the health relatedness of the project (i.e., relevance to the mission of the agency);
  • the unique features of the project; 
  • the methodology (action steps) to be used; 
  • expected results;
  • evaluation methods; and 
  • description of how your results will affect other research areas.


  • Be complete, but brief. 
  • Use all the space allotted. 
  • Avoid describing past accomplishments and the use of the first person. 
  • Write the abstract last so that it reflects the entire proposal. 
  • Remember that the abstract will be used for purposes other than the review, such as to provide a brief description of the grant in annual reports, presentations, and dissemination to the public