Assistance with Proposal Preparation

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 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.
  3. Obtain the proposal guidelines and application packet (if available).
  4. Read the guidelines and the instructions.
  5. Match your ideas and language to the needs and language of the grantor.
  6. 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 for creating a broader impacts plan, a list of people and organizational resources to help implement your plan, and support for evaluating your broader impacts plan.

  7. Assess campus needs and contact the appropriate person. For example, call the Chief Technology Officer for computer needs, the Vice President and Treasurer for space assignment, and the College Librarian for library resources.
  8. Obtain the appropriate signatures for the External Proposal Approval Form available electronically here (link upper right, and on CFR Forms & Templates via menu left). Depending on the kind of grant, you may need signatures 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.
  9. Complete and sign the Compliance & Disclosure Form if the funder is a federal agency. CFR will ensure this form is completed, and confirm in the System for Award Management (SAM) ( and document that the PI/coPIs have not been suspended or debarred by the federal government.
  10. If equipment ("small" purchase of $3,501-$150,000) will be procured, 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.