Develop Proposal

Develop Proposal

Writing a successful grant proposal is a long process that begins with an idea. Applicants must write grant proposals, submit them, receive notice of acceptance or rejection, and then revise their proposals. Below are some general tips:

  • Start early.
  • Identify your needs and focus
  • Identify prospective grants and funding agencies
  • Identify collaborators
  • Be realistic in designing the project.
  • Apply early.
  • Follow the guidelines exactly.
  • If rejected, revise your proposal and apply again.

Notification of your intent to submit a grant

[funding opportunity and proposal mechanism]

Proposal Preparation

Faculty and staff members, who plan to request, anticipate receiving funding, equipment, materials and supplies or any other form of external support from an organization or institution for research, should contact the staff of the Office of Research and Outreach to initiate the necessary submission and approval/compliance processes.

Proposal Review

The Associate Dean for Research and Outreach is available to review any draft proposals for faculty to provide comments on the project, assessment or evaluation plan, and fit for the program to which the grant is intended. This service is provided if the Associate Dean is given appropriate advance notice (at least one week).  Other staff in the Office of Research and Outreach can provide those insights as well as provide feedback on the specific requirements of the program such as page limits, required documents as well as fonts/margins.  Please contact our office to set up appointments for those reviews.

Develop an application timeline

Best practice will always be to plan ahead and give ample time for ideas to develop.  Our office will work with investigators to set up a submission timeline.  The timeline will incorporate time commitments of investigators, availability of staff in the Office of Research and Outreach as well as sponsor deadlines in such a way that it will help ensure that high quality proposals are submitted in a timely fashion.  Please also keep in mind that our office needs all final documents 3-days ahead of the sponsor deadline to complete the paperwork and submission process.

  • Submission Timeline Tool – The purpose of the timeline tool is to provide the Principal Investigator/Project Director with a lists of tasks, timeframes associated with the tasks and suggested deadlines for the completion of each task.

Budget development

Staff in the Office of Research and Outreach will assist the investigator during the budget development, review and approval process. To expedite the process, investigators are encouraged to complete a budget template (Excel) prior to their first budget development meeting.

  • Budget planning: The Principal Investigator/Project director is responsible for budget planning in consultation with his or her school director or department head.  Staff in our office plays an integral part in guiding the investigator through the budget development, review and approval process (Internal approval form – IAF), prior to submission to any sponsor.

Compliance requirements where applicable. The Office of Research Protections seeks to protect the integrity of Penn State research by educating the University on the responsible conduct of research by helping faculty manage financial conflicts of interest; and by investigating allegations of research misconduct.

Gift vs. Sponsored Project

Sometimes a potential funder is a private business or foundation that is considering providing a philanthropic gift to the university.  By the Penn State Policy RA 04 for gifts, grants and contracts, funds that are provided for research need to be routed through our office.  This may be in collaboration with the Office of Development.  We have created a Gift vs. Sponsored Project check list to guide faculty in better understanding when the potentially funded activity should be considered a gift (philanthropy) and thus be processed solely through Development, and when it should be considered sponsored research and should be processed through the Office of Research and Outreach. See the Gift vs. Sponsored Project check list form.

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