Proposal Development and Submission

Once you find a funding opportunity that matches your research goals, it's time to begin preparing your proposal. Before you do, it is important to be familiar with the common elements that must be included in proposals. Review the checklist, then tackle each of the steps below to get your proposal developed, submitted and funding your work.

If your proposal is industry-sponsored, there may be additional considerations. Please visit our industry proposals page for more information. 

Prepare to develop your proposal by learning more about institutional rules and policies that apply to your work. These include: 

The second step in the development process is to develop your team and drafting your proposal. Time management is critical, and it's important to give yourself enough time to finalize your proposal before the sponsor's deadline.

In this step, you should:

  • Find collaborators whose research expertise may compliment your proposal. You can search for possible collaborators using UofL's sponsored ORCiD instance, which catalogs the publications and awards of UofL faculty. 
  • Outline your idea and identify any gaps / issues that may prevent if from fully responding to the solicitation. 
  • Complete your budget. This will include assigning 'effort,' or the percentage of salary release by the proposed award for each collaborator. You should also account for the percentage of F&A, or overhead, that will be applied to your award. 
  • Write your proposal. This is, of course, the most time consuming piece of the process, so it's important to budget time accordingly. Fortunately, some resources are available to help you, including writing and editing assistance and in some cases, even .
  • Review. We recommend having colleagues or members of our staff, especially those who have successfully applied to the same funding mechanism before, review your proposal before finalizing. They may be able to help you catch any errors, strengthen arguments, and generally make sure your proposal is the best it can be. 

Industry-sponsored projects may involve different requirements and steps. To learn more about industry projects, please visit our Industry Partnerships page.

New faculty members may also be interested in completing the Essentials of Grant Proposal Development CITI course, which provides basic training on everything from crafting your narrative to preparing your budget justification. If you have questions or need assistance in the proposal development process, please contact staff in the  .  


The third step in the proposal process is to prepare to submit. Here, you should return to your proposal clearance checklist, and ensure that all elements are present.

Two weeks ahead of your submission date, you should also contact the and inform them of your intent to submit.

To work with OSPA and move forward with your proposal, you will need a signed Proposal Clearance Form (PCF) and to have secured the needed approvals. More information on these requirements is available here.

The last step is submitting your proposal. Proposals are submitted by the institution on behalf of the PI. In the event that the sponsoring agency allows the PI to directly submit, a fully signed copy of the PCF is required prior to submission. The complete package (final version of proposal and signed PCF) should be submitted by email to the service account with a copy to your respective Grants and Contracts Assistant.

In order to ensure submission, the final version of the proposal and all documents above must be submitted to OSPA five (5) full business days prior to sponsoring agency deadline.

If your proposal is ultimately funded, OSPA also can help you set up and manage your award. Learn more on our Awards and Agreements page.