Tips for the Proposal Approval Process

Before submitting a proposal to an external funding agency/organization, applicants must secure internal approval authorizing the submission. Learn more about Union’s internal approval process.

Here are some helpful tips to ensure a speedy review and authorization to submit.

Plan ahead

Preparing a compelling and competitive proposal package may take several months. Begin working on your proposal strategy at least six months before deadline. If you have a draft prepared, consider asking a respected peer (perhaps a seasoned researcher with a history of grant funding) to act as a reviewer and provide you with useful feedback.

Read the program guidelines

Studying the program guidelines will provide you with a wealth of critical information, such as eligibility criteria, application requirements, anticipated award amounts/budget levels, etc. This important information is found in a document often referred to as a “grant proposal guide,” “program solicitation,” dear colleague letter,” “request for proposal,” or similar documents. Many grant funders also provide program-specific Frequently Asked Questions documents – these are another excellent source for application guidelines.

View sample funded proposals

Some granting agency websites provide sample narratives from funded proposals. You may also search awards, such as the NSF Awards Search Database. If you find a project you would like to learn more about, you can reach out to the Principal Investigator (PI) to request a copy of the proposal narrative. Many PIs enjoy sharing their successes! This is also an excellent way for you to see examples of narrative structure, strategy and approach that resulted in an award.

Contact the Grants Office

Staff in the Grants Office are available as a resource for faculty developing proposals (in fact you won’t be able to submit a proposal to a federal agency without the authorized organizational representative in the Grants Office!). Our staff can provide proposal and application checklists, help interpret complicated sponsor guidelines, and provide expertise in developing supplemental documentation (e.g., NSF RUI Certifications, Current & Pending Support forms, and Letters of Commitment). Take advantage of our service!