One of the most perplexing thing I have learned about the review of 5 year R01 NIH grant proposals is a species of reviewer that is obsessed with Future Directions.
It was a revelation to me in one of my first few study section meetings that some reviewers really want to see extensive comment on where the project might be heading after the completion of 5 years of work. As in, a whole subheaded paragraph at the end of the Research Plan. This is insane to me.
For the most part, we all recognize that ongoing results in your own lab and in the field at large are going to dictate what is important to pursue five years from now. So speculation about what is coming next is silly.
And especially when I was a relatively inexperienced grant writer who had been getting beat up for "over ambitious" plans contained in a single 5 year plan, well.... I was amazed that people wanted to see even more in a speculative, hand wavey paragraph.
Consequently, I struggle with this. But I have tried to include something about Future Directions in my proposals. Yes, even now that we have only 12 precious pages to describe the actual plans for the current proposal.
I have recently seen a summary statement that describes insufficient attention paid to the Future Directions as the "primary weakness" of the proposal. I cannot even imagine what this reviewer was thinking. How can this be the primary weakness? Unless there is literally nothing else to complain about. And we know that never happens.