Preparing a Proposal
There is no better advice OSP can offer than to encourage you to start preparing your proposal as far in advance of the deadline as possible. After you get a copy of the sponsor's guidelines and deadline information, share that information with your Dean, your department/program/center Chair, and with OSP. Then, immediately begin internal discussions about the proposal.
With competition for funding becoming increasingly fierce, committing concentrated time and energy into the proposal process will significantly enhance your likelihood of success. A deliberative process should include sharing drafts of the technical proposal with colleagues and obtaining their informal feedback. Peer review is one of the soundest investments you can make while attempting to craft the best proposal possible. You'll also need to work with School and OSP staff on the proposal’s budget and administrative commitments.
To facilitate the proposal review process, OSP has developed a Targeted Timetable. That Timetable reflects the institutional review and approval steps needed before a proposal can be submitted to a sponsor. We urge you to take the Timetable into account as you structure your overall plan for proposal development. While OSP always tries to accommodate a Principal Investigator' needs and schedules, the steps OSP is responsible for undertaking require adequate time if the proposal is to be submitted to the sponsoring agency by the mandated deadline. So, adherence to the Timetable, to the extent possible, is really important.
As you prepare your proposal, it's crucial that you carefully review the sponsor's guidelines and application requirements. Don't take anything for granted. Requirements can vary tremendously in number and type, depending on the sponsoring agency. Some sponsors, including many federal agencies, even have stipulations about page limits, font size, and the format of the narrative components. Sponsors will reject proposals that are non-conforming; and, grant reviewers will often discount proposals that don't follow guidelines.
When in doubt about a sponsor's guidelines or any aspect of proposal preparation, please contact OSP for an interpretation. OSP will work with you to obtain any clarifications needed.
While most sponsors require specific forms and proposal formats, not all do. Below is a sample of proposal components you may encounter as sponsor requirements; or, even if not specified by a sponsor, you might still want to consider these suggestions for development of your proposal.
- Title Page
If a format is not provided by a sponsor, create a title page that includes the following:
- Name of entity and program for which the proposal is being submitted
- Institutional IDs (Touro, School, Department); Principal Investigator (PI) name, address, telephone, email, and fax number
- Touro Employer Identification Number
- Title of your proposed project
- Total amount of funding being requested
- Anticipated start and end date of project
Typically, an Abstract is one to two pages.
Table of Contents
Budget & Budget Narrative Justification
- Project Goals and Objectives
- Methods and Procedures
- Dissemination of Findings
- Equipment and Facilities Supporting Project
- Biographical Data on Staff
- Direct Costs (suggestions below are not meant to be an exclusive list)
(a) Salaries/Wages (with % effort of time specified per individual)
- Professional Research Staff
- Graduate Research Staff
- Other Project Staff
(b) Fringe Benefits
(g) Other Direct Costs (e.g., human subjects participant costs; equipment maintenance, printing and publication, etc.)
(h) Partners, Sub-recipients and Consortium Agreements
Any partner/sub-recipient's proposal (i.e., the sub-proposal) must contain, at a minimum, the following: statement or scope of work; itemized budget; period of performance; and signature of a representative authorized to contractually commit the partner/sub-recipient
- Indirect Costs (Overhead or F&A)
Use either Touro's federally approved rate or the rate specified by the sponsor in the application package, whichever is appropriate
- Cost Sharing/Matching
Specify whether Mandatory [i.e., required by the sponsor] OR Voluntarily contributed [please consult with OSP before electing to commit any voluntary cost sharing]
- Forms and Certifications/Additional Information (as required by sponsor)
Special Proposal Reviews
In addition to the standard institutional reviews and approvals of a proposal, there are other special reviews that are mandatory when the proposals involve certain types of activities. Examples include:
- Human Subjects
- Laboratory Animals
- Radiation Safety
- Biohazard Safety
- Conflict of Interest
- Proprietary Information/Intellectual Property
Most sponsors allow proposals to be submitted for funding consideration before these special reviews have actually occurred; however, sponsors do require that the appropriate institutional approvals be in place before a project can begin (for example, prior to actual commencement of a project there must be the appropriate Institutional Review Board for the Protection of Human Subjects approval of a project involving human subjects research). Please work closely with OSP on setting such reviews in motion.