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Chapter 24. Research and Other Sponsored Programs
Section 24.2. Research Projects


24.2.3. Research Proposal Preparation

General Information

Refer to the Web site of Research and Sponsored Programs for more information on preparing a sponsored research project.


To begin a research project, do the following:

  1. Define the project and the needed outcome.

  2. Contact Research and Sponsored Programs, by calling 7-2225, or the Corporate and Foundation Development office if preparing a project for a foundation, by calling 7-2228, for information about specific funding agencies.

  3. Obtain specific information about proposal requirements and agency rules and procedures, the types of projects supported, and the amount of support available.

  4. Discuss the initial project idea and potential funding sources with the department chair, school dean, or appropriate director.

  5. After selecting and researching a potential sponsor, contact the potential sponsor by either phone or letter. If approaching a foundation for sponsorship, consult with the Corporate and Foundation Development office before contacting to make sure the necessary contact has not already been made.

  6. Conduct preliminary discussions with the potential sponsor which may lead to a preliminary proposal (a two or three page document briefly explaining the nature and significance of the work, the technical approach to the problem, and an approximate schedule and budget).

  7. NOTE: Describe the project to the potential sponsor and get a sense of their interest in supporting the proposal. Ask for specific information about funding priorities, monies available, how many grants will be awarded, due dates, proposal format, review procedures (internal or external), reasonable costs, limits on costs, if it is renewable, and so on.

  8. Prepare a formal proposal (see section 24.2.4. Writing a Formal Proposal).

  9. Consult with the Research and Sponsored Programs office or Corporate and Foundation Development office to plan the proposal budget strategy and explain the various costs and expenses. If submitting to a foundation, it is important to work with the Corporate and Foundation Development office. Foundations tend to limit or not allow some of the same costs that government agencies find acceptable.

  10. NOTE: The sponsor’s review committee will review immediately not only the dollar amounts for budget items, but also a justification for each. It is in the PI’s best interest to present a budget that makes sense to the review board on the first reading.

  11. Any cost-sharing arrangements need to be well-documented and approved by the account manager. A Cost Share/Matching Support Authorization form, available from the Research and Sponsored Programs Web site, must be filled out and authorized by the appropriate financial manager prior to submission.

  12. NOTE: Any authorizations made to the sponsor need to be signed by an official University representative.

Adopted: 11/07/2001
Revised: 08/05/2002 Changed the department name of Research Services to Research and Sponsored Programs and changed Foundation Relations to Corporate and Foundation Development

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