Office for Research & Economic Development
Physical: Business & Technology Center; 1651 Alvin Ricken Dr., Pocatello, ID 83201 | Mailing: Stop 8046
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Tips & Links for Proposal Writing

Federal Grants News for Colleges & Universities, which is published by the National Council of University Research Administrators and the National Association of College and University Business Officers, has gathered some resources for writing successful grant proposals. We have listed their suggestions below with some additions:

*National Science Foundation Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide
January 2013 (NSF 13001)

*NIH Grant Writing Tips Sheet

*NIH Tips for New NIH Investigators

*National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) - Strategy for NIH Funding is an excellent resource for all NIH applicants

*Guide for Writing a Funding Proposal by S. Joseph Levine, Ph.D., Michigan State University – helpful hints and examples for major sections of a proposal; includes useful links to other proposal-writing sources

*Albert Einstein College of Medicine’s Grantsmanship Tutorial – described as a quick, no-nonsense guide that most faculty investigators, regardless of discipline, would find useful

*Jacob Kraicer: The Art of Grantsmanship

*The Foundation Center: Proposal Writing Short Course  

Need some more help with your grant writing? We have compiled a list of grant writing consultants you can contact. This list can be found here.

Proposal Preparation Basics

Definition of “Proposal”: A proposal is a detailed request for funding prepared in accordance with the sponsor’s instructions.


Preparing the Proposal 


Approving and submitting the proposal

The Division for Research Development is the central administrative office responsible for providing Institute endorsement and submitting proposals, and for accepting awards on behalf of ISU and its faculty. 

PIs and departments should allow adequate time for proposal review. Proposals must reach the Division for Research Development at least five working days before the sponsor’s deadline to provide full and comprehensive proposal review, approval, and submission.

Proposals not meeting the the Division for Research Development submission guidelines may be withdrawn from sponsor consideration, if subsequent review reveals that the proposal is incomplete or does not conform to the Universitiy or the sponsor requirements.


Basic Components of a Proposal

1. Cover or Title Page

The Title Page contains the following information:

2. Abstract or Project Summary

The abstract outlines the proposed research, including the objectives, methodology, and significance of the research.

3. Statement of Work/Research Plan

The Statement of Work provides a full and detailed explanation of the proposed research, and typically includes a project timetable. It should include general background information about how the project relates to previous and current research. The Statement of Work describes how the work will be done, where the work will be done, and who will do the work.

Will there be any subawards?

If so, you will need scope of work, budget, and approvals from the subaward organization. Depending on the Sponsor’s requirements, you may also need a copy of the collaborating institution’s F&A rate agreement, CV and/or bio sketch for key personnel; facilities/equipment /other resources, and letter of commitment.

Will there be consultants?

Usually a letter from the consultant indicating the consultant’s role on the proposal, the consultant’s experience with the type of research and an established consultant rate is required. Check proposal guidelines to make sure any other specifications are met.

Are there special review components?

Make sure that any special review components are indicated are considered, and that you have provided as much information as possible concerning the items. Many sponsors will require additional forms if there are special review items such as humans or animals. Below is a list of ISU’s special review categories that may need additional consideration.

  • Human Subjects
  • Animal Usage
  • Recombinant DNA
  • Biohazard Materials
  • Radioactive Isotopes
  • IT Needs

4. Budget

The budget is the financial expression of the project and must include a reasonable estimate of the resources necessary to conduct the project. Most sponsors require a detailed breakdown of the budget into certain defined budget categories and a detailed budget justification. Estimated costs for the entire project period typically are broken into “Direct” and “F&A” costs. Separate budgets are necessary for all collaborating institutions or entities (“subawardees/subrecipients”).

5. Cost Share

If the sponsor guidelines require mandatory cost sharing, the cost sharing should be described in the budget. Otherwise ISU, prohibits offering voluntary cost sharing.

6. Budget Justification

The budget justification should clearly explain what costs will be paid for by the sponsor and how the expense was calculated. It is important to compare the scope of work to the budget and justification to ensure that all costs are accounted for, and that the requested funds align with the scope of work to be performed within the project period.

7. Curriculum Vitae or Biographical Sketch

Include for all key project personnel.

8. Bibliography

Lists all references cited in proposal.

9. Additional Information

Additional information may consist of the following:



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