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Proposal Processing
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Proposal Basics

OSP Services/Overview

Before developing a proposal

What has happened to my great proposal?

The OSP maintains a current library of funding sources

How do I write the proposal?

Your goal

OSP Services/Overview

The Office of Sponsored Programs is available to assist faculty and staff with the development and delivery of quality grant proposals to external funding agencies. Whether working with electronic or hard copy submissions, the staff can assist with the following:

Provide information on funding opportunities for general and specific areas of interest.

Locate and download specific agency guidelines and forms.

Review proposals for compliance with all applicable university, state and federal regulations.

Review incoming proposals for form and formatting.

Review budgets to ensure that salary and wage amounts, fringe benefits, cost share, travel, Facility & Administrative Rates, and all other costs are applied correctly.

Determine submission dates or deadline dates to ensure that proposals are submitted to the sponsor by the required time frame.

Provide budget approval and institutional authorizing signatures.

Submit all electronic proposals to the sponsor through the appropriate electronic system (such as or FastLane).

The OSP requests that all proposals, electronic or otherwise, be submitted in their complete and final form to OSP FIVE WORKING DAYS PRIOR to an agency deadline with a hardcopy of the proposal and the signed Internal Approval Form. For electronic submissions, you must also provide all electronic files at the time of submission of proposal materials to OSP.

Please note: Pre-proposals and/or “white papers” do not require OSP review and endorsement unless budgetary information is provided and/or institutional certifications/assurances are required. If budgetary information is required, then the pre-proposal or white paper must be pre-approved just as a regular funding proposal.
Because the actual proposal development process can take weeks, we recommend that the PI contact the OSP very early in the proposal process, so the staff can help facilitate the overall process and allocate resources to assist you.

Before developing a proposal

Before developing a proposal, the principal investigator needs to receive preliminary approval from the appropriate department head, or director, and dean.

Questions regarding your time commitment, space and facilities need to be resolved before you start writing!

If your idea involves hiring additional staff, leasing space or entering into subcontract agreements, call the Office of Sponsored Programs for guidance to be certain you have received the proper clearances before proceeding.

Begin to estimate the costs of the various budget components. The OSP can provide you with assistance and can help in making sure you have captured as much matching as possible and that the budget format complies with the specific sponsor requirements.

So, you're finished - now what? The final copy of the proposal, along with any forms and appendices should be assembled and reviewed. Prepare the Internal Approval Form and begin the routing! Your signature assumes your responsibility for the scope of the scientific and technical effort, your willingness to prepare any required technical reports, and the management of the resulting award in compliance with sponsor regulations and the University's policies and procedures.

Proposals are usually in a race for time. Plan for five full working days to prepare your proposal for leaving the campus. Once your proposal is received in the Office of Sponsored Programs, office records must be made. Your funding request must then go to the authorized University official for signature. If the deadline is extremely short, call us so we can be expecting it and can process your request as quickly as possible.

What has happened to my great proposal?

Not to worry! The OSP will verify your proposal with all agency guidelines to assure compliance, will check for all approvals that may be needed from the Human Subjects Committee, Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, University Advancement if you are submitting to a foundation, and all other aspects that affect your proposal. The proposal will be returned to you after the required signatures are secured for a final review by the principal investigator. Most agencies provide a final checklist to aid in the submission process. This checklist should be followed closely.

The OSP welcomes and encourages your draft proposal and draft budgets. The OSP staff will be happy to review your drafts and assist with the preliminary approvals so your proposal can move quickly once it reaches the final stage.

The OSP maintains a current library of funding sources:

How do I write the proposal?

If possible, talk with a program officer in the funding agency about your idea. LISTEN CAREFULLY.

Read their guidelines thoroughly and follow them to the letter.
Before you begin, have a truth session with yourself by asking the following questions:

Will my study tell anything new?
Is this area already heavily funded?
Will the results make a significant difference?
Will the study have relevance beyond the narrow geographic area of the type of project focused on by the study?
Does the research really answer the question addressed in the proposal?


State objectives clearly.
Design objectives to conform to the interests and guidelines of the agency.
Demonstrate a convincing need for the proposed activity, either by showing that it fills an important gap in existing knowledge or
that it serves the needs of a specific clientele of concern to the funding source.
Indicate project management skills by including devices such as time lines, organization charts or task charts.
Clearly describe the research or program design.
Demonstrate your competence as an investigator by having an updated curriculum vitae and good capsule biographies of professional staff. (Keep in mind that most agencies limit vitae to two pages.)
Use your FACTS Card to provide up-to-date background information about the University.

Your goal:

To state clearly the significance of the problem being addressed
To provide a quality solution
To sell the agency on why you should receive the funding to achieve your goal
If time permits, discuss your idea with peers and look for ways to strengthen your proposal. After your proposal is written, have a colleague critique it to see if you have communicated your ideas thoroughly in writing.



Home | Proposal Basics | Compliance | Forms

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Last Modified May 24, 2012
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