Proposal Development

The Office of Sponsored Research is ready to help at all stages of the process.

Notification

Notify us when you are interested in a funding opportunity: ideally when you first learn of it, regardless of how many months out, but no less than 10 days before the deadline. After we are notified, we will start to organize your ancillary material, and keep track of what needs to be done for your submission.

Budget

In order to prepare your budget, we need to know:

  • Funding Agency
  • Solicitation number of RPF
  • Name of the principal investigator (PI)
  • Other people at the School of Engineering who will work on the grant
  • How many postdoctoral fellows, graduate research assistants (GRA's) and undergraduate students you plan to hire; and how many credit hours of tution remission you plan to request
  • Number of months or percentage of time commitment for all persons involved
  • Whether there are subcontracts to other institutions or consultants on the project
  • Equipment with an acquisition value of more than $5,000 and useful life of at least 1 year
  • Publication costs
  • Domestic/foreign travel – including travel to an agency meeting or to meet with the program officer

With this information, we build the budget and send it back to the PI so that it can be either approved or further refined. When the budget is finished, we help the PI develop the budget justification by sending a template to him or her and offering suggestions on drafts.

Document Review

Before submitting a grant proposal, we review all supporting material. This typically includes:

  • Abstract
  • Narrative
  • Biographical sketches
  • Current and pending support
  • Documentation of facilities and equipment
  • Any letters of commitment.

By reviewing the RFP in detail, we make sure that your proposal is following, to the letter, what the agency is looking for. We can help you identify what may be missing, and which will improve your chances of favorable review after submission.

Once we begin this review, we ask that you forward any further changes to us instead of making them yourself. That way, we make sure there is only one “live” version of the document. All last-minute changes should come through us.

Submitting the Proposal

Sponsored Research submits most grant proposals through Grants.gov or NSF Fastlane. In a grants.gov submission, we receive and forward to the PI the three auto-generated notifications:

  • Submission received
  • Proposal validated
  • Agency receipt

For the NIH, the last step is not automatic and requires a proactive follow-up in eRA Commons within 48 hours.

Revising a Budget

Occasionally proposals that are accepted by a sponsor are accepted with a condition that the original budget be modified or reduced. Our office will work with the PI to meet all sponsor requirements in a timely fashion.

Revising the Proposal

If the proposal is not funded the first time, we encourage PIs to get a summary of the reviews from the funding agency. With the critique offered by the evaluators, a proposal can often be successfully revised and submitted during the next cycle.