General Information on Preparing Your CORE Application

General Information on Preparing Your CORE Application

General Formatting Guidelines 

  • The applicant's name should always be in the top "HEADER" portion of all templates (upper right corner); be sure to edit the header on each template.
  • Use English only and avoid excessive jargon and unusual abbreviations.
  • You may complete the template forms using standard word processing software, including Macintosh formats.
  • Use an Arial, Helvetica, Palatino Linotype, or Georgia typeface, a black font color, and a font size of 11 points or larger. (A symbol font may be used to insert Greek letters or special characters; the font size requirement still applies.) Be consistent with the use of font styles and indentation.
  • Type density, including characters and spaces, must be no more than 15 characters per inch. Type may be no more than six lines per inch. Use standard paper size (8 ½" x 11) . Use at least one-half inch margins (top, bottom, left, and right) for all pages. No information should appear in the margins.
  • The application should be single-spaced and stay within the margin limitations indicated on the form.
  • For some templates, for example, "Biosketch", a single biosketch template is provided for you to complete. You can create a single document with a biosketch of all the key personnel, including the mentor, preceptor, co-PI, etc., by copying the template provided and pasting copies one after the other for as many people as required.
  • The Research Strategy section should not exceed page limits, excluding appendices (tables, photos, charts, bibliography/references, etc.)
  • All graphs, diagrams, tables, and charts should be in black ink. Any photographs or oversized documents should be included in the Optional Appendix. Supplementary charts, tables, and graphs and bibliography/references may be added in the Optional Appendix. The optional appendix will not be counted against your page limit. However, the appendix should not be used to circumvent page limits.

Completing and Submitting Your Application

CORE is a paperless program, and requires applications to be submitted electronically via proposalCENTRAL. CORE is a paperless program; DO NOT mail hard copies to the AAO-HNS office.

Grant applications include several fillable templates. Save these MS Word templates from proposalCENTRAL to your local computer's hard drive. You may complete them using standard word processing software, including Macintosh formats. Complete the templates and be sure to include applicant's name in the right-hand corner of each page (in the MS Word template, this is located in the "header"). When you have completed the MS Word templates, convert the files to Adobe Acrobat PDF format. (For information on converting your files to PDF format, please visit this site .)  Be sure to follow the page limitation and format requirements.

Once you have converted the completed Word templates to PDF files, return/attach them through proposalCENTRAL with the rest of your application. Hard copies of applications will not be accepted. This includes the cover sheet which contains space for you to obtain the appropriate signatures. Once all signatures have been obtained, this document should be scanned in .pdf format and uploaded to your proposalCENTRAL account. This can take time so plan to complete your application ahead of time to allow the appropriate individuals to review and sign your application cover sheet.

Applications must be completed in proposalCENTRAL by the close of business on January 15th, without exception.

Signatures for the Cover Sheet

At a minimum, the application must be signed by the applicant, the sponsor or department head, an authorized official of the institution, and an authorized fiscal official of the institution. The online application will allow you to print a cover page which will indicate the signatures you need to obtain. Signatures must be original (not stamped or electronic signatures). It is the AAO-HNSF’s expectation that each person who signs the application has reviewed the application contents and accepts responsibility for accuracy prior to submission. By signing the application, the Principal Investigator and other officials are stating that they have reviewed the final proposal for compliance with the CORE format and requirements.

What if I cannot obtain all required signatures by the January 15th?

We understand that getting the final signature page signed by all of the necessary staff may take some time. If you do not have all of the signatures by the January 15th deadline, please upload what you do have to proposalCENTRAL. proposalCENTRAL will not let you submit your application if you omit required pages. You may upload a placholder page in proposalCENTRAL with "Signature Page Placeholder" noted on it, convert it to a PDF, and upload it to your account in order to submit your applciation by the January 15th deadline. Once you have the fully signed signature page, please scan the PDF document and email to Stephanie L Jones or Sarah O'Connor to upload the signed document to your application no later than February 15. Please be advised that no grants will be awarded without a fully signed signature page.

Incomplete Applications 

An application will be considered incomplete if:

  1. it fails to follow the instructions;
  2. the material presented is insufficient to permit an adequate review; or
  3. the appropriate institutional approvals for use of human or animal subjects are not pending or in place prior to review. No award can be made until evidence of the IRB/IACUC approval has been submitted.

Unless specifically required by these instructions (e.g., IRB or IACUC approvals, change in other support), do not send supplementary or corrective material pertinent to an application after the receipt date without its being specifically solicited or agreed to by prior discussion with the CORE administrative staff. Applications must be completed in proposalCENTRAL by midnight eastern standard time on January 15th. This receipt date CANNOT be waived. Please allow time to obtain necessary approvals and signatures.


The applicant is responsible for selecting a research preceptor at an academic or nonprofit research institution and for making arrangements to work with that person. The designated preceptor must be the faculty member who will directly supervise the proposed research training and evaluate the awardee's progress. An applicant may have a co-preceptor if his/her research interests cross areas of expertise. Selection of a preceptor is a key step in the application process and will constitute an important review criterion. In general, the applicant should seek a successful clinical researcher who has recent publications in the area of research, experience in the research techniques to be studied, and, optimally, external grant support from NIH or other major agencies.

Location in a department that will provide a stimulating and supportive research environment is an additional factor to consider. The applicant's preceptor should be an active investigator in the area of the proposed research who will directly supervise the candidate's research. The preceptor must document the availability of staff, research support, and the curriculum and facilities for high-quality clinical research training. The proposed training shall be designed in collaboration with the designated mentor and approved by the applicant's Department/Division Chair and institution. Training should be specifically focused on the acquisition and refinement of patient-oriented clinical research skills and may include both didactic course work and applied experience. A structured program of study (as opposed to informal directed readings) will be reviewed most favorably.

Applications must be accompanied by letters of support from both the applicant's preceptor and from the Department/Division Chair, verifying that the applicant will be permitted to devote the specified amount of time to the proposed research and research training activities.

A preceptor is required for the following grants:

AAO-HNSF Resident Research Award

Xoran/AAO-HNSF Resident Research Grant

AMD Resident Research Grant

ARS New Investigator Award

AHNS/ AAO-HNSF Young Investigators Combined Grant

ARS Resident Research Grant

AAFPRS Leslie Bernstein Resident Research Grant

Cook Medical/AAO-HNSF Resident Research Grant


Letters of Support

Letters should be obtained from the following:

  • Co-Investigator
  • Preceptor (if applicable)
  • Mentor (if applicable)
  • Consultant
  • Collaborator: If a co-investigator, preceptor, or mentor will play a key role in the project, a letter of understanding from that individual must be submitted, stating what the arrangement will be and what role s/he will play in the project. Also include an appropriate letter from each consultant and collaborator confirming his/her role in the project. Include Biographical Sketch pages for each consultant and collaborator.
  • Department/Chair Head: A Chairman's letter must be included with all applications. Applications must include a letter of reference and support from the applicant's Chairman confirming the applicant's availability for the required period of time, the support of the Department or Division for the project, and availability of resources for the project. For residents, the Chairman's letter must verify that the resident applicant will be permitted to spend the specified time on the project. Plan to scan your letters so that they may be uploaded to the application site. In general, if an individual's biosketch is included in your application, plan to obtain a letter from that person.
  • If applying for an ASPO grant, a letter of support from an ASPO member must accompany the application
  • IF applying for the Bobby R. Alford, MD Endowed Research Grant, see Preceptor/Mentor Instructions in the online application

Biographical Sketches (Biosketch)

Include a biosketch for all key personnel. Start with the principal investigator. List any collaborating investigators who participate in the scientific development/execution of the project. Include all degrees for every individual. Biographical sketches and other support must be included for each individual named.  Sample biosketches are available in the online application.

Other Support

Other support includes all financial resources, active and pending. Include a section for each of the key personnel you have listed, even if they have no currently active support. Clearly indicate whether support for the submitted project is being sought after from other funding agencies or organizations. 

Human and Animal subjects

If you have any documentation concerning IRB or IACUC approvals, be sure to include this with your application (this can be scanned). All required documents are due prior to the date an award commences. If you are selected for a grant and you have not yet received your final IRB or IACUC approval, you grant funds will not be issued until it is received.

Human Subjects: Applicants should submit their projects to the appropriate human subjects Institutional Review Board (IRB) at the time of application. If your research requires an IRB approval, place actual date approved or “pending” (if submitted to IRB but not yet approved). If exempt from IRB approval within your institution, place “exempt” and the date the exemption was approved. If the proposed research project involves human subjects, the population sampled shall be inclusive of the general population, of relevance to the scientific question posed, without restriction in regard to gender, race, age, and socioeconomic status. Proposals that intentionally restrict the population sampled must include a compelling scientific rationale for such design. No award will be made until the appropriate documentation is received by the AAO-HNSF.

Animal Subjects: If your proposal involves animals and your institution does not have unqualified accreditation from the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International (AAALAC), a current Public Health Service (PHS) Animal Welfare Assurance, accreditation from the United States Department of Agriculture, or accreditation from the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees (IACUC), you are not eligible to apply. It is to the applicant’s benefit to include institutional endorsements with the application. If such endorsements are pending when the application is mailed to the AAO-HNSF, the applicant should make every effort to mail in the endorsement documents prior to January 15. Endorsements should specifically cite the applicant’s name and project title.

If you will not have your final IRB/IACUC approval letter prior to the January 15th application deadline, then submit the associated documentation that you do have (e.g. what you have provided to your IRB/IACUC committee, when they will be meeting to review and the date you anticipate obtaining the final approval). We understand that some committees only meet quarterly or have very full agendas and it may take some time for you to get on their schedule. If needed, in proposalCENTRAL, you may upload a placeholder page with "IRB/IACUC approval placeholer noted on it, convert it to a PDF and upload it to your account in order to submit your application by January 15th. Once you receive the final approval (after the Jan 15th deadline), please scan the PDF document and email to Stephanie L Jones or Sarah O'Connor to upload to your application no later than February 15. Please be advised that no grants will be awarded without the final IRB/IACUC approval.

If you have additional questions, please contact Stephanie L. Jones or Sarah O'Connor for assistance.