Step 2: Proposal Development (Pre-Award)


You have completed STEP 1: Planning a Proposal, have identified a funding source, and are now ready for STEP 2: Proposal Development.

Proposal Development

Developing your proposal will build upon the work you’ve already accomplished under STEP 1: Planning a Proposal. The following are not necessarily intended as consecutive tasks as each part of your proposal must reflect a coordinated effort.

  1. Carefully review the specific sponsoring agency solicitation and all related documentation, e.g., the NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide to ensure compliance with all agency proposal requirements. The GSP will assist with clarifications as needed.
  2. Begin preparing your Project Narrative in conformance with the sponsoring agency instructions on section requirements/headings, page limitations, formatting, etc.
  3. Generally, the following sections are not counted toward the Project Narrative page limits, e.g., Table of Contents, Budget/Budget Narrative, Biographical Sketches, References Cited, Current/Pending Support, Facilities/Resources, Assurances, and other attachments, e.g., letters of commitment.
  4. The GSP, in consultation with the investigator, will prepare the Budget, Budget Narrative, and online electronic application. You must provide an early draft of your project narrative to the GSP at least two (2) weeks prior to the submission deadline.  The goals/objectives (a.k.a. specific aims) and the section on methodology or implementation strategy are critical in preparing the budget/budget narrative.  These documents are financial representations of your project narrative and must be appropriately scaled.
  5. The Proposal Development Authorization (PDA) is a routing process for internal signatures required BEFORE you can submit an extramural proposal. It is now an online and must be initiated by the lead faculty member. See more details.
  6. Contact one or two investigators in your discipline with research expertise and grant-writing success to review a near final draft of your proposal, e.g., a previous mentor, and/or someone prominent in the field of investigation. This step is highly recommended prior to finalizing your proposal.
  7. Provide Biographical Sketches for you and all key personnel, Facilities/Resources, Reference Citations.
  8. Obtain Letters of Commitment from collaborators and/or consultants as allowable by the sponsoring agency.

Proposal Submission and Outcome

You will likely be making last-minutes changes to the Project Narrative as the deadline is approaching.  Final proposal submissions to the GSP must occur at least two days prior to the published deadline. Under extenuating circumstances, and as the GSP is able, you may appeal the internal deadline in advance and in writing to The GSP will not be responsible for proposals submitted at the last minute that encounter transmission problems and are not accepted by the agency.

The GSP is the only entity authorized to officially submit extramural proposals on behalf of the University.

  1. The GSP will utilize or other agency-specific transmission systems as indicated in the solicitation.
  2. You will provide all final documents to the GSP for system upload.
  3. A final copy of the proposal will be provided and officially retained in the GSP.
  4. The GSP will notify you of a final funding determination by the sponsoring agency.
  5. Once the peer-review critique is published, the investigator and the GSP will co-review outcomes and plan for a re-submission as allowable.

When a grant award is achieved, please proceed to STEP 3 for information on Award Management (Post-Award)!