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What Constitutes a Proposal

A proposal, simply put, is a plan. It is developed with the idea that a potential funding agency, foundation, or corporation will find the plan of such merit that they will be willing to commit support to its execution. A proposal also binds the institution to a plan whenever the application is to a foundation or corporation that does not give to individuals, or when the researcher is asking Dartmouth College to help support a project through cost-sharing indirect costs, or other forms of contribution made by the College. Seen in this light, a good proposal will bring together the skills of argument, persuasion, and the ability to clearly articulate a project's goals, but will also take into consideration the resources and mission of the home institution.

Types of Proposals

New Proposal

A new proposal is one that is submitted for initial funding. Most new proposals are submitted for competitive review by the funding organization and peer review. The criteria for review and evaluation are predetermined by the funding organization and are usually included as part of the initial proposal information provided by the funding organization.

Continuation Proposal or Non-Competing Continuation

Frequently, government sponsored awards are distributed on a year-by-year or incremental basis. Though the award may have been approved for multiple years, the Principal Investigator must submit a continuation proposal to receive annual funding allotments.

Renewal Proposal or Competing Continuation

A renewal proposal requests funds to continue the project beyond the initially approved length of the project. Renewal proposals are usually evaluated under the same criteria as a new proposal. The Principal Investigator must be aware of submission deadlines, and generally treat a renewal proposal as a new proposal.

Contract Proposal

A contract proposal is often in direct response to a Request for Application (RFA) or a Request for Proposal (RFP). That is, the institution agrees to undertake specific and narrowly defined tasks as defined and controlled by the funder.

Revised Proposal

A revised proposal is one that has been informally acknowledged as fundable by a sponsor with the stipulation that specific changes must be made. The revised proposal is then resubmitted for funding consideration.

Supplemental Proposal

A supplemental proposal asks for additional funding to expand a program or project's scope or research protocol. As outlined in a specific sponsor's guidelines, a supplemental proposal may be treated as a new proposal for the purposes of review and competition for funds.

Last Updated: 10/28/09