You may wish to consider starting your project description with a short summary. The project summary should not be confused with an introduction. Rather, the project summary must be a concise summary of the most important points in the project description and should be able to function as an extremely brief independent presentation of the project.

Polish your summary – sell your product
In terms of content, the project summary is similar to the lay summary. The major difference is that the target audience of the project summary is not a lay audience. Using scientific/technical terminology is therefore acceptable in the project summary. Nonetheless, you should investigate who will be evaluating your proposal, and you should ensure that the language of your summary is tailored to this particular audience.

Many evaluators read summaries (or the lay summaries) first, using them as a tool to roughly identify

  • which projects are eligible for support by the foundation
  • which projects sound particularly interesting.

For this reason, it is absolutely essential that you describe your project clearly, concisely and not least persuasively. In short, you must try to ‘sell’ your project. If you are in a position to quantify how your results will make a difference, this is often an easily understood and convincing sales argument.

Examples of measurable effects:

  • Optimising processes in a way that allows a company to save time or money
  • Increasing patients’ chances of surviving a serious disease
  • Reducing pesticide use.

Not all projects aim to produce quantifiable results. In such cases, you should explain what effect your project will have on society. If your project has no direct effect on society, explain what secondary or derived effects it might have.

Examples of derived effects:

  • Paving the way for the development of new research projects
  • Removing bottlenecks from research processes
  • Laying a theoretical foundation for later practical applications of your results.

Answer five questions
The project summary should answer these questions:

  • What is the objective of the project? (This is an excellent place to present your hypothesis/research idea).
  • Why are you particularly qualified to carry out the project?
  • Why is it important to carry out the project now (and not in five years, for example)?
  • How will you solve your problem/test your hypothesis?
  • What results will the project deliver, and what effects will those results have? (Perspectives).

The formalities
Always follow the foundation's instructions regarding the length of the summary. If clear instructions are not available, you should limit your summary to a maximum length of half a page.