Originally Posted by grad
Iam writing a grant in the field of molecular biology regarding a protein . There is no information about its function. Iam testing it as a marker for a chemotherapy. I have no experience in this field. So the question is - if the proposed hypothesis is not achieved and all i can say is it cannot be used as a marker(since no other information on its function), is it essential to have a backup plan ?
You do not need to know the function of a protein to study it, either as a marker, or for functionality (in fact, if we did this science would go no where). But I would assume that there is some reason why you suspect it would be a good marker - previous data showing an association with cancer/chemo, or perhaps a structural similarity to another protein which is linked to cancer/chemo. Just picking a protein at random is not a good idea; but even a weak basis for your choice will generate a lot more "cred" with the grant reviewers.
As for backup plans, you should always have one or two. In my experience, somewhere between 75% and 95% or proposed hypothesis will be wrong. As such you need to have alternate ideas and research plans to account for the inevitable incorrect hypothesis. Usually I explain my main idea, and then finish off that section of the grant with a paragraph or two describing other possibilities and how I would go about testing those alternate hypothesis.
PS: is this for a class, or is it a real grant/fellowship application?