Developing a strong, competitive grant proposal requires planning and focus. A well-written proposal not only gives a PI a better chance of receiving funding, but provides a detailed plan for carrying out the program upon receiving the award. The following considerations and questions can guide your thinking when developing a proposal.
After the program is developed, a PI may want to contact the potential funding agency directly to confirm common areas of interest. If an initial contact has already been made, further contact can be helpful in developing the proposal. Common questions you may encounter are:
In preparing proposals for submission to external sponsors, read the directions and information available in the application material provided by the sponsor. Application packages are often referred to by one of the following: RFP – Request for Proposals; RFA – Request for Application; Application Booklet; Program Brochure or Guidelines.
SP should be contacted as soon as a PI knows he/she will be submitting a proposal. SP can be of great assistance to faculty/staff in the proposal preparation and review process and will act as a second set of eyes to ensure the proposal meets the RFP requirements. Whatever the sponsor provides in these instructions should be followed precisely, i.e. page limits, typeface size, and other restrictions are taken seriously by sponsoring organizations and act as the first level of grant review. If the directions are not followed the proposal is routinely returned to the PI without review.
Sometimes sponsors request a preliminary or shorter proposal (3–5 pages) before asking for a complete final proposal. Often times these pre-proposals are binding, meaning if accepted, the PI needs to further develop the proposal and is not at liberty to change the terms of the pre-proposal. In this case, the pre-proposal will need University approval before submission.