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Research - Preparing A Proposal

Preparing a research proposal for submission requires early planning, coordination with the preaward research administrator, and several approval steps.


Any planned proposal submission to an extramural funder must be approved by the Department, the preaward research administrator in the School, and RSP prior to submission. RSP is the campus unit authorized to submit extramural proposals on behalf of researchers.

As you prepare to work on your proposal, be sure to review the Overview of Proposal Submission for Principal Investigators which summarizes the roles and responsibilities of the PI, research administrators, and Research and Sponsored Programs (RSP), the office on our campus responsible for submitting proposals on behalf of a researcher.

Once you’ve identified a funding opportunity, the next step is to contact Sarah Marcotte, preaward research administrator, with the funding opportunity information. Sarah will assist with creating a RAMP record, generating a proposal preparation timeline, including a detailed checklist of the required proposal elements, and will assist with creating and finalizing the budget. When the proposal is ready for submission, it must be approved by SoHE and processed to Research and Sponsored Programs (RSP) for submission.

As a reminder, non-faculty members (Emeritus Professors and Academic Staff) must establish PI Status in order to serve as PI on a grant proposal.  Refer to UW campus policy for PI Status and the School of Human Ecology procedure for PI Status.  Contact Sarah Marcotte, preaward research administrator, with any questions or for assistance with the request.

Proposal Submission Timeline

Proposal process
Proposal Preparation

Refer to the New Faculty Guide to Competing for Research Funding [UW NetID login required] for detailed and comprehensive guidance on all aspects of proposal writing. The sections below provide a snapshot of proposal elements required by most federal and non-federal sponsors.

Project Summary or Abstract - Typically one page or less, the abstract or summary outlines the main project objectives and significance.

Research Narrative - This is the heart of the proposal and will most likely determine whether your project is funded or not. See the robust NIH guidance and resources for writing a strong narrative.

Bibliography / Citations / References - Use a format that is standard for the scientific discipline of the project. Refer to the UW Libraries citation managers for several options.

Budget & Budget Narrative - Preparing a budget that captures all anticipated costs is crucial to a successful research project.

Biographical Sketch or CV - Many sponsors have a specific Biosketch format, require certain section headings and have page limits. The NIH and other federal grant-making agencies recommend using ScienCV for managing the information required for a Biosketch. Go to Forms & Templates for fillable templates for NIH and NSF.

Resources, Equipment, Facilities - This section details the scope and scale of institutional facilities, resources, and equipment available for conducting a project. You may want to start with boilerplate language of School of Human Ecology Centers and facilities. For descriptions of facilities or resources across the UW campus or non-campus partners, contact your collaborator in that unit or organization for a description of the facilities and resources the collaborator will contribute to the project.

Current and Pending Support - This form addresses current support and allows the PI to address overlap in funding, effort, or scientific inquiry with the proposal being submitted. When overlap does exist, sponsors will expect a plan to resolve the overlap before making an award. UW-Madison has a tool for generating Current and Pending Support for different sponsors.

Letters of Support - Follow sponsor guidelines closely for the types of letters of support that are permitted. The letter writer should not make voluntary financial or resource commitments (cost share). Letters should not be written in a way that they could be seen as circumventing page limits of proposal sections.

Proposal Submission Steps

Remember: The proposal must be submitted by RSP. To do this, RSP needs i) a RAMP record and ii) notice from the PI or SoHE that the proposal is ready for submission.

See additional details outlining the steps and timeline for proposal submission: Submitting a Proposal.

After Submission

Most sponsors outline the review process and timeline, which can range from a few weeks to several months before a funding decision is communicated. Refer to the sponsor's guidelines or policies about whether and how to inquire about a proposal under review.

If you're notified your proposal will be funded, contact Sarah Marcotte to assist with award receipt and acceptance. Because awards are made to UW, not to an individual, the research administrator must work closely with RSP to accept the award and set it up properly in the campus financial system.

If you're notified your proposal will not be funded, contact Sarah Marcotte to close out the RAMP record and archive internal files.

Receiving a Grant Award

See Research - Receiving a Grant Award for the steps involved in order for the university to receive a new grant award.

Keywordsresearch preaward proposal development grant submission application   Doc ID105079
OwnerSarah M.GroupSchool of Human Ecology
Created2020-08-19 10:22:10Updated2023-08-11 11:49:21
SitesSchool of Human Ecology
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