Assistance with Proposal Preparation

Proposal Development Suggestions

Specific Helps

Click on options - in the sidebar to the left - for time-saving proposal-preparation specifics for funders of NSF, NIH, NEH, ACLS, Fulbright Scholar.

General Helps

Proposals vary as much as the individuals who write them. In addition to the guidelines published by the Dean of the College, the following suggestions might be useful in developing proposals:

  1. Discuss your ideas.

    Dialogue with colleagues, your department chair, and the deans. Try to assess the impact your proposal will have on your department, other departments, the curriculum, and the College.
  2. Locate funding resources.

    Consult the staff of Corporate and Foundation Relations (CFR). Along with CFR, the Business Office is available to address budgeting questions.
  3. Read the proposal guidelines.

    Obtain the application packet (if available) and carefully read the program solicitation instructions.
  4. Match your ideas and language to the grantor.

    Closely align your project to the needs and language of potential funder.
  5. Consider merit and broader impacts.

    Funders are increasingly asking for explicit plans for projects to make an impact. The National Science Foundation outlines five elements to be considered in reviewing both criteria of Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts, elements which can offer guidance in the writing of any proposal.

    1) What is the potential for the proposed activity to

      a. advance knowledge and understanding within its own field or across  different fields [Intellectual Merit];
      b. benefit society or advance desired societal outcomes [Broader Impacts]? 

    2) To what extent do the proposed activities suggest and explore creative, original, or potentially transformative concepts?

    3) Is the plan for carrying out the proposed activities well-reasoned, well-organized, and based on a sound rationale? Does the plan incorporate a mechanism to assess success?

    4) How well qualified is the individual, team, or institution to conduct the proposed activities?

    5) Are there adequate resources available to the PI - either at the home institution or through collaborations - to carry out the proposed activities?

    The University of Missouri Broader Impacts Network (BIN) offers helps to Create a broader impacts plan, to Find someone to help me implement my broader impacts plan, and to Evaluate my broader impacts activities.

  6. Obtain the appropriate approvals.

    • While preparing your proposal, inform the Dean's office of your intentions.
    • Complete the External Proposal Approval Form that CFR personnel will send to you via an OnBase Workflow form. Depending on the kind of grant, signatures may need to be obtained from
      • your Department Chair,
      • the Dean of the College,
      • the Business Office,
      • Corporate and Foundation Relations,
      • Information Technology Services,
      • Institutional Research and Assessment, and
      • Vice President and Treasurer.

    [Authority from the Trustees to the President to the Dean of the College to CFR, for submitting proposals is found in this doc showing delegated authority; part of that document includes page 1 of the October 2014 amended and restated Board of Trustees Bylaws.]

  7. Attend to compliance issues.

    • Complete a Compliance & Disclosure Form if the funder is a federal agency, by clicking on this Link to OnBase Form and logging in using your Carleton credentials. CFR will confirm and document, in the System for Award Management (SAM), that the PI/coPIs have not been suspended or debarred by the federal government.
    • If equipment will be procured (i.e., "small" purchase of $10,001-$150,000), complete the Vendor Selection Form and obtain quotes (see the Business Office Grants Manual Procurement, Suspension and Debarment Requirements for Grants).

Beyond this, the Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations can aid grantseekers by providing assistance with draft organization and preparation, informing of NSF proposal specifics, creating a budget, and editing and submitting proposals. After a grant is awarded, we can also help with the administration of the grant, including monitoring and submitting reports on the grant.