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.
  • Conduct a literature search and develop your data management plan.UofL Libraries provide resources for researchers at all stages of the research process, including literature searching and data management plan support for Belknap and HSC.
  • 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 graphic design support. For more information, please contact our .
  • 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  .  

Ahead of your proposal being submitted to the funding agency, you are first required to submit all components of the proposal through UofL's instance of iRIS. This may included a Proposal Clearance Form. Please ensure you have submitted all the forms required for your proposal type.

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

The last step is submitting your proposal. Many proposals are submitted by the institution on behalf of the PI. In the event that the sponsoring agency allows the PI to directly submit, you still must submit your materials through iRIS prior to submission.

In order to ensure submission, the final version of the proposal and all documents above must be submitted to IRIS at least 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.

ATTENTION NIH R15 APPLICANTS: More information on UofL’s eligibility for these funding mechanisms is available here and you can find a template letter of eligibility here.