The Statement of Work (SOW) describes the what, why, how, and when of the research project. It shows how the project relates to the sponsor’s purpose and goals. For the proposal to succeed in peer review, it must win over the assigned reviewers. The application has two audiences: a small number who are familiar with the field, and the majority of reviewers who are probably not familiar with the proposed research techniques or field. All reviewers are important because each reviewer gets one vote. The proposal should be written and organized so all the reviewers can readily grasp and explain what is proposed and advocate for the proposal.
The statement of work should provide a clear description of the work to be undertaken and must include:
Objectives for the period of the proposed work
Expected significance of the proposed work
Relation to longer-term goals of the PI's project
Relation to the present state of knowledge in the field
Relation to work in progress by the PI under other support
Relation to work in progress elsewhere.
The statement of work should outline the general plan of work, including the broad design of activities to be undertaken, and, where appropriate, provide a clear description of experimental methods and procedures.