Common Elements of a Proposal

The cover page captures items such as:

    • Principal Investigator's name, address, phone number
    • Title of proposal
    • Sponsor name and address
    • Period of performance with start and end dates
    • Amount requested
    • Institutional information
    • Signature of Institution's Authorizing Official

The abstract outlines the proposed research, including objectives, methodology, and significance of the research.

Statement of Work or Research Plan

One of the most critical elements of a proposal or subagreement is the Statement of Work. At a minimum, it should provide a full and detailed explanation of the proposed activity, typically including project goals and Investigator responsibilities.

Budget and Budget Justification

The budget includes a reasonable estimate of the financial support required to conduct the project, including justification of budget expenses.

Typical budget categories include:

      • Direct Costs
          • Salaries

For University professional and research staff, graduate and undergraduate students, and casual or part-time workers, salary figures should be based on the percentage of effort by each individual on the project applied to his/her annual salary.

The fringe rate is expressed as a percentage of salary. The rate may vary depending on personnel classification.

          • Equipment

Under UofL financial policy, an item is considered capital equipment when it has a unit cost of $5,000 or more, and has a useful life of at least two years and is typically excluded from F&A.

          • Materials and Supplies

Itemize supplies in separate categories, such as glassware, chemicals, radioisotopes, etc. If animals are to be purchased, state the species and the number to be used. (Typically excluded items are: office supplies,all computers, IT, and phones.)

          • Travel

Domestic and foreign travel should be shown separately. List the name, destination, and purpose of trip. Include transportation costs (coach airfare), registration fees, accommodation fees, and other related expenses. For any federally funded travel see the: Fly America Act Travel Policy.

          • Publication Costs

Estimate the number of pages, page charges, and names of journals if possible.

          • Consultants

List each consultant, their specialty or service to the project, and their daily, weekly or monthly rate of reimbursement, and show the consultant's total projected cost on the project. Include in the proposal a letter of collaboration and the consultant's curriculum vitae or biographical sketch. (This is typically non-university employees)

          • Subrecipients

A subrecipient should be identified at proposal stage. Include in the main proposal the subrecipient's authorized proposal, letter of intent, statement of work, and budget with justification.

          • Other

Other costs typically include items such as research publications, fees, animal per diem costs, or other project related costs and tuition when requested fro sponsor.

F&A rates are negotiated with UofL's cognizant federal agency, the Department of Health and Human Services.

Use current negotiated rates in proposals for the type of project being proposed (organized research, other sponsored activity, sponsored training). If a sponsor has policies regarding F&A rates, budget rates should reflect those policies and a copy of the policy should be included with the proposal.

      • Cost Sharing

    Cost sharing is any cost to the project not borne by the sponsor.
    Cost Sharing Policy

    Additional Information

    Additional information may consist of the following:

      • Current and pending support. Sponsor may require a listing of the PI and Key Personnel on current awards and pending proposals.
      • Letters of support from non-university investigators may also be required.

    The CV or Biographical Sketch is required for all key project personnel. Your CV often includes common elements describing your academic and professional experience, including responsibilities, publications, classes taught, grants received, etc. For more information on developing a CV, please visit....

    If your solicitation requires a biosketch, please refer to the funder's guidelines, as these often vary.

    Other support is a compilation of the current funding and time commitments for the Principal Investigator and any other key project personnel. The latter is often described as 'effort,' and represents the percentage of a researcher's working time. As a general rule, no more than 80% of a university researcher's effort may be committed to grants.

    If the project is multiple years, identify percent effort per year. For example, if the first year is 20%, second year is 15% and third year is 10%, enter 20%/15%/10% or state the percentage per year.

    The percent RIF (formerly "collaboration") must total 100%, distributed among project PIs and Co-Is. This information determines the distribution of research infrastructure funds (RIF) and departmental research infrastructure funds (DRIF) which are a return of a portion of indirect costs to support efforts to secure and maintain extramurally funded activities.

    A list of all references needs to be cited in the proposal. If you need assistance locating relevant references, a reference librarian may be able to help you.