Cohort Study on Substance Use Risk Factors

Submit your project

Guidelines for Scientific Collaborations

The Cohort Study on Substance Use Risk Factors (C-SURF) welcomes all types of research projects related to substance use.

II. Submission of a research project

1. General principles

All project submissions and communication with the Scientific Board can occur in English, French or German.

Any use of the C-SURF data for research purposes has to be submitted to the Scientific Board. This avoids duplication and potential conflicts with other projects. Submission is required prior to the initiation of a project.

A preview of the Baseline instruments are available here: Instruments

Once the full proposal has been approved by the Scientific Board, study-specific variables selected in the full proposal are sent by email to investigators.

A continuously updated data calendar shows what data is available and when.

A workflow of the project submission process is available here.

2. Who can submit

Any researcher who is interested to work on public health issues or more specifically on substance use by men are welcome to use C-SURF data. However they should not be connected with the alcohol, tobacco or pharmaceutical industry.

Any project submitted by a non C-SURF investigator has to be endorsed by a C-SURF member who will supervise the project scientifically (responsible investigator).

3. Deadline and addresses

Interested investigators should shortly get in touch with the Chairman Dr Gerhard Gmel before submitting a proposal: . This is to make sure that there is no overlap with another research project, or to identify whether the C-SURF data can fulfil the needs of the proposed project.

Letter of intent and full proposals have to be submitted as soon as possible electronically to (project coordinator).

4. Types of Proposals

In order to simplify the procedure of application for research projects, the Scientific Board supports the following two steps in research proposals:

  • Letter of Intent
  • Full Proposal

At each step, the Scientific Board will get back to the investigators in order to avoid unnecessary efforts if a project is not felt to be worth pursuing or if coordination with other projects is necessary.

4.1. Letter of Intent

The purpose of a letter of intent is to inform the Scientific Board about a plan for a scientific project. The letter of intent will include a short general description of the research question, the rationale and the resources likely to be needed. Minimum requirements include:

  • A short introduction with 1 - 5 key references
  • The study objectives
  • The study design

4.2. Full Proposal

The detailed description of the study should concisely provides all the information necessary to permit a complete assessment of the proposal. Please use the following template:

Downloadable template here

4.2.1. Administrative information

The name of all investigators of each institution involved in the project should be mentioned. It is understood that they have all agreed to participate actively in the submitted proposal.

For each project, a responsible investigator has to be identified (see point 2).

4.2.2. Letter of Intent

1 page maximum. The author should provide a running title (or the complete title) for announcement on the C-SURF Website in case of acceptance.


  • Present state of knowledge in the area of the proposed research with key references
  • Objectives of the project in relation to state of knowledge

4.2.4.Own research in the field

  • Including relevant experience and a list of publications
  • Relevant background information on the other investigators

4.2.5. Study aims and objectives

  • The hypothesis which this project proposes to test
  • The scientific and practical significance of the proposed research

4.2.6. Study design and research plan

  • Investigations and tests to be performed
  • Time-frame for the project (the research tasks to be performed within the credit and the duration of the projects should be explicitly mentioned)

4.2.7. Other information

  • Interim analysis (if applicable)
  • How you imagine disseminating your results (publication in scientific journal, thesis, internal report, conference, etc.)
  • A proposal for authorship should be part of each submitted project.

4.2.8. References

5. Evaluation and decision process

  • The Scientific Board has to evaluate all submitted projects. It may appoint experts for each submitted project.
  • The Scientific Board verifies that there is no overlap with an ongoing project. Should this be the case, the investigator will be contacted.
  • The responsible investigator is invited to attend the Scientific Board meeting during the discussion of his project. A project is accepted with the approval of the Scientific Board. The Chairman may request a secret vote if the opinions among the members diverge considerably.

6. Status report

2-3 months after having initiated the project, the responsible investigator has to send a short status report to the Project Coordinator at contact(at) It should contain:

Quantitative figures if appropriate (% of objectives reached); Delay in the initial time schedule should be explained and a revised time schedule has to be presented (termination, manuscript, publication).

7. Publications

7.1. Authorship

  • The wording to be used is "XYZ.. and the Cohort Study on Substance Use Risk Factors".
  • Alternative wordings like".. for the C-SURF" can only be used with the approval of the Scientific Board.

7.2. Footnote

The C-SURF member list has to be included as a footnote.

7.3. Any submitted or publisched manuscript

with mention of the project number, should be sent by e-mail to the project coordinator: contact(at)


Updated February 2013 


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