The Proposal Process

Watch a three-minute video describing SPA's proposal development process.

Step 1

Conceive idea: Discuss your idea with your proposal manager (PM) to amplify the idea and determine key concepts. Inform your chair of your intentions

Identify potential funding sources: Visit our funding opportunities page to begin a search for funding opportunities. Use your key concepts to identify similar priorities and like interests with funding agencies. 

Obtain sponsor guidelines: Acquire guidelines and application forms from the appropriate sources. Go directly to sponsor web sites or contact your PM for guidance.

Discuss with department chair: Review the proposed project with your chair or supervisor to inform him or her of time and funding needs; discuss with other services or departments as needed. Obtain verbal support.

Step 2 

Begin formulating proposal: Write a proposal draft according to sponsor or agency guidelines. Make notations of project budgetary needs along with written notes. Contact your PM at any time for questions or reviews.

Contact the funding source: Call, email, or visit the sponsor to ask questions and discuss the project. Conversations with the program officers of funding agencies are critical to the success of a proposal.

Solidify collaborations: For projects involving partnerships between departments or with those external to campus, ensure that all parties are in agreement regarding their commitments. Sponsors may require letters of support.

Step 3

Draft narratives and budget: Identify proposal elements and craft contents according to specifications in guidelines. Work with your PM to ensure narrative and budget alignment. Review submission specifications.

Review, revise, rewrite: Get feedback from colleagues, your PM, and others to ensure clarity and completeness. Contact the Office of Research Integrity if projects involve human subjects, animals, radiation safety, or biosafety issues.

Final check and signature routing: Confirm unit/department/college commitments. Obtain IRB approval (if required). Collect all necessary supplementary materials (supporting letters, agreements, etc). Sponsored Projects Administration (SPA) will route via Cayuse for PI and University approvals. 

Submit final copy to SPA for processing according to the Proposal Submission Policy. For print submissions, SPA will duplicate and mail. For electronic submission, SPA will convert to appropriate electronic format and submit.

Receive word from sponsor: If you are funded, celebrate, and let SPA know. Our office can assist with all reporting and post-award grant activity. If you are not funded, inform SPA and seek comments for next submission.

Resubmitting a Proposal

Looking to resubmit a external grant proposal? Frequent comments from reviewers one might receive are summarized in the document below to provide insights to potential applicants in resubmitting grant proposals — or in preparing a new proposal.

Learning from Reviewer Comments:  Tips for Resubmitting External Grant Proposals