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Proposal Development


Proposal Development Starting well is half the job. ~Korean Proverb Common Sections Of A Proposal Budget Narrative Serves two main purposes: Explains how the ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Proposal Development

Proposal Development
  • Starting well is half the job.
  • Korean Proverb

Why Pursue Grant Funding?
  • Expand your research
  • Provide student support through student salary or
  • Acquire new equipment
  • Pilot project or development funding

Perceived Barriers To Proposal Writing
  • Time
  • Lack of release time
  • Lack of adequate clerical support
  • Indirect cost recovery distribution
  • Lack of graduate assistants
  • Lack of grantsmanship experience
  • Insufficient preliminary data
  • Lack of appropriate research software
  • Internal routing and approvals
  • Lack of knowledge about where the money can be

Where Is The Money?
  • USD Office of Sponsored Programs Funding
    Opportunities Website - http//
  • Links to Databases
  • Community of Science (COS)
  • Copley Library, Funding Resources
  • Grant Advisor Plus
  • Grants Alert
  • Grants Net
  • Other External Funding Sources by Category
  • Foundation Center Database OSP and Foundation
  • Relations have a subscription
  • Email Alert Systems (Sample http// )

What To Look For In A Grant Funding Announcement
  • Grants A financial assistance mechanism between
    a sponsor and recipient for approval activities.
    Performance responsibility lies primarily with
    the recipient.
  • Contract An award instrument establishing a
    legal procurement relationship between the
    sponsor and the recipient obligating recipient to
    furnish a project or service defined in detail
    and binding the sponsor to pay for it.
  • Cooperative Agreement Award instrument
    reflecting an assistance relationship between the
    sponsor and the recipient in which a substantial
    programmatic involvement by the sponsor is
  • Fellowship Financial aid granted to a student
    or faculty member to provide for further study.

  • BAA Broad Agency Announcement (grants and
  • RFP Request for Proposals (grants)
  • RFA Request for Applications (contracts)
  • PA Program Announcement (grants)

Announcement Will Specify
  • A type of funding opportunity.
  • Scope of work or target opportunity.
  • What agency is soliciting the proposal.
  • Who is eligible (Do they fund institutions such
    as USD?)
  • Geographic restrictions.
  • How to apply (Electronic, paper copies, font
    page limitations.)
  • General and specific award conditions.
  • Budget ranges.
  • Who gets the money (you? USD?)
  • Other special considerations (cost share?)

Before You Write
  • Match your needs to the sponsors interests
  • Start Early Dates on the calendar are closer
    than they appear.
  • Contact the Program Officer.
  • What percent of proposals are likely to be
  • Do you have sufficient preliminary data for this
  • Find funded proposals or abstracts to review.
  • Talk to your faculty advisor/colleagues/chair/dean
    /unit head
  • Dont work alone. Get peer reviews often. When
    possible, seek collaborations.
  • Deadlines, letters of intent, matching required,
    page limits, font size, copies.
  • How transmitted? Electronic? Paper?

Before You Write
  • Read the guidelines carefully and then read them
  • Understand the agencys review process. Who will
    read the proposal?
  • NSF says proposals should be understandable by a
    non-specialist a scientifically literate lay
    reader. Reviewers are often chosen on the basis
    of the abstract and title. If a non-specialist
    doesnt grasp the issue, it may be reviewed by
    the wrong people.

Proposal Development
  • When writing is hard
  • talk it out.

Writing The Proposal
  • How is proposal writing different than other
    kinds of writing?
  • A proposal is a request for funding crafted to
    persuade a reviewer that
  • Your topic is important
  • Your plan is sound
  • You are qualified to pursue it
  • You will complete it successfully and
  • Your project matches their priorities.

Basic Proposal Information
  • A proposal will answer the following questions
  • Why do you want the money? What situation are you
    trying to fix? - This is the need section.
  • What will the situation look like when you
    finish? What are the goals and objectives you
    will meet?
  • What will you do to meet the goals and
    objectives? This is the method section.
  • How will we know what was accomplished and that
    methods were valid? This is the evaluation
  • What will all this cost? This is the budget.
  • Why should they fund you?

Writing The Proposal
  • Think like a reviewer
  • Format the proposal so that it is easy to
  • Find key points
  • Read and appreciate
  • Directly address the reviewers comment format
  • Type the guidelines into your narrative so the
    reader knows exactly where you are.

Writing The Proposal
  • Think like a reviewer
  • Write in paragraphs
  • Include only one major idea per paragraph
  • Make the first sentence in a paragraph a topic
  • Use headers frequently
  • Break up the narrative text with charts, graphs
    and pictures (when appropriate).

Writing The Proposal
  • Think like a reviewer
  • Let your text flow
  • Indent paragraphs
  • Skip a line between paragraphs
  • The proposal does not have to reach the page
  • Brevity is fine.

Writing The Proposal
  • Government Proposals
  • Follow the guidelines precisely.
  • Type the reviewers scoring format into the
  • Ask faculty advisor or colleagues to review
    initial concept and later full proposal.
  • Dont work alone.

Common Sections Of A Proposal
  • Title
  • Conform to the agencys guidelines for titles
    (there may be a limit on length)
  • Make the title an accurate statement of long term
  • Include keywords in the title

Common Sections Of A Proposal
  • Abstract
  • First and possibly last section to be read the
    most important part of the proposal
  • Write it last (even though its the first item.)
  • Every proposal, even very brief ones, should have
    an abstract approximately 200 words.

Common Sections Of A Proposal
  • Table of Contents
  • Very brief proposals with few sections ordinarily
    do not need a table of contents.
  • Long and detailed proposals may require, in
    addition to a table of contents, a list of
    illustrations (or figures) and a list of tables.

Common Sections OF A Proposal
  • Introduction
  • A capsule statement of what is being proposed and
    then should proceed to introduce the subject to a
  • Dont assume that your reader is familiar with
    your subject.
  • Should be comprehensible to an informed layman.
  • If the explanation of the proposed research will
    be complex, the introduction might end by
    specifying the order and arrangement of the
  • Explain the underlying assumption of your
    research hypotheses.

Common Sections Of A Proposal
  • Need or Problem Statement (Program Proposal)
  • This sections describes the situation which
    caused you to prepare the proposal.
  • It should refer to the situation(s) outside of
    the organization.
  • Use statistics, supplement with quotes from
  • The lack of your project is Not The Problem.

Common Sections Of A Proposal
  • Literature Review (Research Proposals)
  • Discuss current thinking on the topic and review
    efforts devoted to it in the past.
  • Dont overload reviewers with extraneous
    materials. Literature reviews should be
    selective and critical.
  • Should lead logically to the research rationale.

Common Sections Of A Proposal
  • Typical components of a research plan (NIH
  • Specific Aims short overview of what you aim to
    accomplish (5)
  • Background Significance Why work is important,
    necessary (10-15)
  • Preliminary Data Pilot data (25)
  • Research Design and Methods the experiments you
    will conduct (55-60)

Common Sections Of A Proposal
  • Need or Problem Statement (Research Proposal)
  • State Objectives Clearly.
  • Provide background on the state of the field.
    Include information about general literature.
  • Define what additional questions should be
    answered or gaps in knowledge should be filled.

Common Sections Of A Proposal
  • Research Methods
  • Explain your previous work related to the topic.
  • Explain the work of likely reviewers.
  • Be hypotheses driven.
  • Highlight your strengths in the area of research
  • Your experience and that of collaborators
    (including publications)
  • Methodology and equipment available
  • Unique approach.

Common Sections Of A Proposal
  • Research Methods (cont)
  • Be realistic. Distinguish between long-range
    goals and short range objectives.
  • Be clear about the focus of the research. Pose
    the specific question(s) the project is intended
    to answer.
  • Explain the connection between the research
    objectives and the research method.

Common Sections Of A Proposal
  • Research Methods (cont)
  • Do you have preliminary data?
  • Are the time and skills of staff adequate to
    conduct studies proposed?
  • Explain expected outcomes and contingencies
  • A series of experiments must not rely on finding
    a specific result in prior experiments.

Common Sections Of A Proposal
  • Institutional Resources
  • The institutions demonstrated competence in the
    pertinent research.
  • Availability of experts in related areas.
  • Supportive service.
  • Research facilities or instruments available to
    the project.

Common Sections To A Proposal
  • Personnel/Bio Sketches
  • Include for critical personnel of time and
  • Principal Investigator (PI)
  • Co-Principal Investigator (CoPI)
  • Co-Investigators
  • Senior Personnel
  • Collaborators
  • Consultants
  • Research Assistants with Special Skills

Common Sections Of A Proposal
  • Personnel/Bio Sketches (cont)
  • Include
  • Training, experience
  • Grant support
  • Publications
  • Separate peer reviewed articles, reviews,
    chapters, and abstracts
  • Place in chronological order with complete
    information (i.e. title, vol., and page numbers)
  • Limit manuscripts in preparation to
  • you would be willing to send to the committee.

Common Sections Of A Proposal
  • Budget
  • Start with the application guidelines
  • Determine the dollar amount available
  • Pinpoint the earliest start date and end date
  • Check for budget restrictions and cost sharing

Common Sections Of A Proposal
  • Budget (cont)
  • Direct Costs Costs specifically identified and
    allocable to the project. Examples are salaries
    and benefits, travel, equipment and contract
  • Indirect Costs (Facilities and Administrative
    Costs) Costs that cannot be directly allocable
    to the project but are real. Examples are heat,
    lights, trash, gardening, security, procurement,
    accounting, HR, administration, OSP, depreciation.

Common Sections Of A Proposal
  • Budget (cont)
  • Provide no surprises here! The budget tells the
    same story as the plan of operation.
  • Cost Share/Matching must be documented in the
    same way the funder award is documented.
  • Cost Share can be donated time, donated services
    or cash.

Common Sections Of A Proposal
  • Budget Narrative
  • Serves two main purposes
  • Explains how the costs were estimated
  • Explains the need for individual items.

Common Sections To A Proposal
  • Appendices
  • Dont include information critical to the
    understanding of the narrative.
  • Narrative must stand alone. Appendices may not
    be read by the reviewers.
  • Appendices to proposals are occasionally used for
    letters of endorsement or promises of
    participation, intent to form a subcontract or

Common Sections To A Proposal
  • Appendices Letters of Commitment
  • The individual will explain the scope of work
    relevant to the project.
  • Attests to understanding of award terms and
  • Institutions should state if subject to a-133
    audits and if recent audits had findings.
  • Consultants must not be on the suspended or
  • debarrred lists.

Why Are Proposals Rejected?
  • The proposal contained an unreasonable number of
    mechanical defects that reflected carelessness
    and the authors unwillingness to attend to
    detail. The risk that the same attitude might
    extend to execution of the proposed study was not
    acceptable to the reviewers.
  • The problem is not of sufficient importance or is
    unlikely to produce any new or useful
  • The research is based on a hypothesis that rests
    on insufficient evidence, is doubtful, or is

Why Are Proposals Rejected?
  • The proposed tests, or methods, or scientific
    procedures are unsuited to the stated objective.
  • The investigator does not have adequate
    experience or training for this research.
  • The investigator appears to be unfamiliar with
    recent pertinent literature or methods.
  • Readers are human and they may disagree.

Why Are Proposals Rejected?
  • Avoid the reviewer feeding frenzy where they
    find one thing they dont like and then look for

Project Checklist
  • Follow grant guidelines closely. Meet each
    requirement and dont leave out any steps.
  • Ask several people to review your grant for
    common sense and clarity before you submit it.
  • Make sure your grant application contains a clear
    and logical budget, with narrative description
    that explains the costs in each category.
  • Supply documentation on how the costs were
  • Gather statistics to support your request.

Project Checklist
  • Do a survey to demonstrate the need for the
  • Be sure to include information on how you will
    evaluate the success of the project.
  • Be sure to indicate how our project will meet
    state or national standards.
  • Review the list of projects that have recently
    been funded by the agency you are applying for to
    determine if your project will meet the funding