Proposal Guidelines

Sponsor Application Guidelines

Application guidelines and submission deadlines for sponsored funding should be followed exactly. A significant percentage of proposals are not funded each year because the application guidelines were not followed. Sponsors frequently spell out the requirements for their applications in very specific terms. These organizations return proposals without a review if the proposals do not conform to the directions provided by the potential sponsor.

Page limits, typeface size and other restrictions are taken seriously by sponsoring organizations. Often sponsors request a preliminary or shorter proposal (3-5 pages) before asking for a complete final proposal. Take the same care and effort with pre-proposals as you would with the final proposal. In particular, faculty should pay careful attention to all of the following in preparing the proposal:

  • Page length of the proposal
  • Specifications on the typeface size
  • Limitations placed on the length of resumes or other appendix materials
  • The deadline date for submission of the proposal:
    • Date of delivery at the agency
    • Date by which proposal must be stamped with official U. S. Postal Service postmark
  • Note what pages must be submitted as originals vs. those pages that are acceptable for submission as copies
  • Specific number of copies of proposal to be submitted
  • Certifications or assurances to be sent with proposal

The OSP staff can assist in proposal review and explanation of proposal preparation requirements. Questions about required certifications, budgets, and other issues related to the submission process should be referred to the OSP as early as possible in the preparation of the proposal.

Guides to Writing Competitive Proposals

Acronyms (pdf)
Conversion Chart (Excel): To help you convert % effort into person months

NIH Resources

NIH Resources for New Investigators
Frequently Heard Comments at Study Section Meetings (pdf)
NIAID's "All About Grants"
NIAID's Sample R01 Applications
NIH Center for Scientific Review Applicant Resources
"Science's" Next Wave NIH R01 Guidance


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