For topics pertaining to writing a formal statement on one's proposed research, usually for the purpose of obtaining funding or acceptance into a faculty position. It is also frequently called a "research plan".

A research proposal is a statement of work that you would like to do, or intend to do. Grants include a research proposal describing the work to be done. A faculty application might include one for a "direction" in which you would like to do research over then near to medium term. It is necessarily specific for a grant application and might be less so for a faculty position.