Office of Research & Sponsored Programs (ORSP)

Proposal Preparation

Proposal Development
Writing a grant can be an intimidating process. Whether you are writing a proposal for the first time or are a seasoned writer, ORSP has a wide variety of services to assist you.

Contacting Sponsors
In many cases, particularly among federal agencies, preliminary inquires are encouraged. Proposals to prospective sponsors may have a better chance of succeeding if they are preceded by an informal telephone call or a brief letter outlining the proposed project. This allows the investigator to determine if their project fits within the scope of what the sponsor supports and it gives the sponsors a chance to offer suggestions prior to the receipt of the formal proposal.

Elements of a Proposal
1. Title (Cover) Page: Most sponsoring agencies provide a special form to summarize basic administrative and fiscal data for the project. Julie Marte will fill out the forms for you. If you choose to do this yourself, please call for the correct administrative information.

2. Abstract: The abstract (summary) provides the reader with their first impression. It is the most important element of a proposal. It should present the essential meaning of the proposal and summarize all the issues mentioned in the introduction. The abstract is first in the proposal but should be written last.

3. Introduction: The introduction should begin with a statement of what is being proposed. It should be comprehensive and give enough background to enable the reader to place your particular research problem in a context of common knowledge and should very clearly show how it's solution will advance the field or be important for some other work. Don't assume that the reader is familiar with your subject.

4. Literature Review (if required): Literature reviews should be selective and critical. Reviewers do not want to read through a voluminous working bibliography; they want to know the pertinent works and your evaluation of them.

5. Project Narrative: This is the heart of the proposal and the primary concern of the technical reviewers. Follow guideline formatting precisely. Be realistic, be explicit, be clear, be as detailed as possible, be specific, be certain that the connection between the objectives and the method is evident. Include goals, objectives, outcomes, evaluation and dissemination plans.

6. Description of Relevant Institutional Resources: The institution's demonstrated competence in the pertinent research area; experts in related areas that may indirectly benefit the project; unique or unusual research facilities or instruments available to the project; and/or specific cost sharing agreed to by the College.

7. List of References: If a list of references is included, it is placed at the end of the text and before the sections on personnel and budget.

8. Personnel: This section usually consists of two parts and is sometimes contained in the budget justification section. This section should include explanation of the proposed personnel arrangements; the biographical data sheets for each of the main contributors; how many persons and percentage of time; and academic disciplines participating in the project.

9. Budget: Maria Nakamura will help assist in the budget preparation. Items to think about are: release time/adjunct replacement; student assistants; clerical/other staff; consultants; travel; equipment; materials and supplies; publication costs; audio-visual services; computer services; other direct costs (telephone, postage, etc.); indirect costs; cost sharing.

The Routing Sheet is necessary for ORSP to process any proposal for sponsored funds. This form serves two purposes; 1) it provides a checklist for the Project Director (PD) of issues that need to be considered, 2) it becomes an official document indicating College approval for the project.

The PD is required to sign the Routing Sheet and obtain the Department signatures. Upon submission of a proposal and signed Routing Sheet to ORSP, the necessary paperwork to process the application and request administrative approvals can be initiated.

It saves considerable time if the Routing Sheet is properly signed as the sequence of signature is important. The administrative endorsements cannot be obtained until those people are assured that the application has met with the Department Chair and Dean's approval. In addition, if the project required Human Subject Committee or Animal Care Committed review, a signed approval from the appropriate committee must also be submitted to ORSP with the proposal.

The Financial Disclosure Statement must be completed by each PI/Co-PI and is where any conflicts of interests are identified.   If an NIH/PHS award is granted the PI/CO-PI's must each take the Conflict of Interest course offered through CITI per federal regulations.