Know what you want to accomplish. It is helpful to have a clear idea of your research goals to better understand what type of funding opportunity best fits your project or concept. It is your job to show that your idea or concept is needed, timely and innovative. Begin by determining what you would like to accomplish and what the ultimate outcome is. Remember that one grant may not meet all of your professional or research goals. By being prepared to answer these questions, the Pre-Award staff can more effectively assist you in developing a successful proposal.
Having an idea is only the beginning. Good ideas are not funded if they are not thoroughly developed and poor ideas, no matter how they are developed, are not usually funded. Most research proposals are evaluated on scientific merit, significance and innovation. Gathering preliminary information to assist with proposal development is critical. Know your subject - search literature or significant data to support your assumptions and to determine if your concept is relevant.
Contact Pre-Award staff early and often throughout the process to discuss proposal concepts and intent to apply
Contacting staff early in the proposal development process will help to ensure that you have enough time to complete all of the required sections of the proposal in a timely manner as well as understand these components well before the submission deadline.
Pre-Award staff are experts in analyzing proposal guidelines, and are well versed in understanding the rules, regulations and policies of different funders and sponsors. Finding the right fit for your concept is critical. Staff can assist you in determining that the sponsor’s priorities and the project concept are compatible.
Staff will obtain proposal guidelines and necessary submission forms, register for the submission process and register faculty as needed in the appropriate research administration portal.
Pre-Award staff are available to answer any questions you may have about sponsor requirements and university policies and procedures. If you have questions, do not hesitate to ask.
Once a sponsor/funding source has been identified, determined to be a fit for the project and a submission date acknowledged, staff will work with you to develop a realistic timeline to complete the proposal development process.
Planning is the key to successful proposal development and will ensure that enough time is allotted to complete all of the tasks necessary for the submission process. Necessary approvals can take additional time, as do letters of support. A six-month timeline or longer is not unreasonable to prepare a quality proposal.
For team proposals or institution-wide proposals, Pre-Award staff will guide and organize meetings to ensure all project components are completed.
It is strongly suggested that you contact the appropriate program officer at the selected funding agency. It is best to e-mail to schedule a time to discuss your concept. It is also beneficial to send a short concept paper to the program officer in advance to prepare for your conversation. The program officer may offer feedback or make recommendations for improvement. In addition, contact with a program officer can build a relationship that enables them to understand your research goals and introduces them to EWU. This relationship can be valuable in some funding decisions.
It is very important for PIs/PDs to communicate with their chair and dean to discuss their concept and proposal details early in the grant development process. Essentially, the proposal is submitted by the university, which has overall responsibility for the project. Your department chair and dean need to be aware of your research and can provide knowledge, guidance and support for your project. In addition, each college may have specific procedures that you must follow. It is your responsibility to determine if any procedures need to be followed.
Some topics that should be discussed with the chair and/or dean prior to budget development include:
- Time commitment for you and for others who may be involved in the project
- Institutional commitment or cost share requirements
- Equipment purchases, maintenance and housing
- Administrative or other needed support
- Additional office or lab space and furnishings
- Technology needs
All draft proposals for external funding, including all attachments, must be provided to the OGRD 10 working days prior to the submission deadline. This will allow OGRD staff adequate time to work with you to ensure that the final application is strong in all components including providing feedback on and proofing of the narrative, budget development, completion of required forms and appendices and adherence to the formatting requirements of the sponsor.
OGRD staff make every effort to assist faculty and staff in the submission of last minute proposals; however, staff may not have the time available to provide the necessary level of support required for a strong proposal submission if the 10-day deadline is not met.
These procedures are not inclusive and may not apply to all grant projects or contracts that are submitted. Contact the OGRD if you have questions.