I’m staring at a blank computer screen, and it’s staring back at me. How do I get started writing my proposal?
Check our Tips and Advice pages.
My question isn’t on this page!
Email it to us, so we can answer you and use your question to improve this website. Thanks!
Can I submit my proposal electronically myself?
It depends. Some sponsors allow Principal Investigators to self-submit, but many require a College representative, most often someone in the Sponsored Research Office, to do it for you. Please contact us if you’re not sure.
Will the Sponsored Research Office copy and mail my proposal for me?
No. If your proposal is going out in hard copy form, you are responsible for copying, packaging, and shipping it. Be sure you know whether your deadline is a ship-by (postmark) deadline or a receipt deadline!
Can I use the same NIH (NSF, NEH, etc.) forms I used last year for this year’s proposal?
Perhaps, but we strongly recommend that you don’t! Sponsors constantly update their programs, and forms often change with these updates. If you use the wrong forms, your proposal may be returned without review. To be 100% certain you’re using the right forms for the current funding opportunity, download the latest version from the sponsor’s website.
My project is really complicated, and I’m having trouble keeping my proposal within the sponsor’s page limit. Can I use a smaller type size (smaller margins, a few extra lines, closer spacing) to make everything fit?
Not unless you want to risk having the sponsor reject your proposal without even reading it! Use exactly the format they request. If you need help condensing your proposal, let us know.
What’s the most important thing to include in my proposal? The least important?
Depends on what the sponsor is looking for. Read the guidelines and consider how they apply to the project you’re proposing. Tell them everything they want to know, and leave out anything that isn’t germane. Our Tips and Advice pages offer hints for general areas or scholarship and some specific sponsors.
Tips and Advice: Science and Social Science Proposals
skip to Tips for NSF
skip to Tips for NIH
Tips and Advice: Humanities Proposals
Most funding sources will want to know these details about your humanities research project:
Proposals seek either research grants—support for a faculty or staff member for an individual research or professional development project, or institutional grants—support for projects relating to academic program, facilities, student life, or other institutional needs.
This section of the site pertains primarily to research proposals. For more about institutional proposals,