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Where to start? What to include? If the sponsoring agency does not provide specific
what should be included in a proposal, the following guide may be helpful. However, when guidelines
are available, read them carefully and follow them exactly, ensuring that all requested information is included and the proposal is properly organized.
|Name of organization applying for funding; contact information for the institution's
authorized official (address, telephone number, fax and email); name of the agency
(program title) to which proposal is submitted; project title; dates of the project
period; name of the project director (with telephone number); total amount of funds
requested; signature of authorized official.
||Cover Sheet; Application Form|
|Listing of proposal sections with page number references (include a listing of the
attachments). Some federal agencies provide their own forms for this page, but even
if one isn't provided, the table of contents is helpful for reviewers who should not
have to hunt for the relevant parts of the proposal.
|Abstract||Usually no more than one page, this is should be a concise description of the project,
emphasizing the objectives, the significance or need, plan of execution, outcomes
and dissemination. It may be the most important part of the proposal since it is the
portion that can either entice a reviewer to read on or put the proposal aside. Write
the abstract last, but give it serious attention. "It should not be an abstract of
the proposal, but rather a self-contained description of the activity that would result
if the proposal were funded. It should be informative to other persons working in
the same or related fields and, insofar as possible, understandable to a scientifically
or technically literate lay reader." (NSF Grant Proposal Guide).
||Project Description; Executive Summary; Summary|
|State the problem to be addressed. Identify the target population or the research
question upon which the project will have an impact. Consider the potential national,
regional and local need to be address by the project. Document the significance of
the project for the intended audience/topic. Use data to demonstrate a need for the
project, compare it with what has already been done by others, and explain the relationship
to the mission of the sponsor or the defined priorities of the funding agency.
Questions to be Addressed;
|Start with a concise statement of what the project will accomplish. Identify expected
outcomes, and relate them to short-term and long-term objectives. Each goal should
be a general statement of what will be achieved. Specific, measurable, objectives
can then be tied to each goal.
||General Objectives; Solutions;
Specific Solutions; Expected Outcomes
|List the steps the project will execute, when each activity will be started and completed,
where it will be done, and who will be responsible for each activity. A chart may
be helpful to illustrate an organized plan of action. For research proposals, this
section may outline the plan of work, including the broad design of activities to
be undertaken, with an adequate description of experimental methods and procedures
used, including data analysis, and a schedule or timeline of the work to be done.
Research Design; Management Plan; Narrative;
Action Plan; Operating Plan; Activities
|Evaluation||Explain how the success of the project will be measured (refer back to the stated
objectives). State how the data will be collected, analyzed and documented. Discuss
who will be responsible for this task and what methods will be employed.
||Summative and Formative Evaluation;
Assessment of Outcomes
|Dissemination||Explain how the project results will be made available to others. This may take the
form of publications in professional journals, presentations at national/regional
meetings, or technical reports. If the project is applicable elsewhere and it is appropriate
to include a plan of pilot implementation, be sure to describe this as part of the
project plan and make appropriate allowances in the budget.
||Distribution of Results; Transferability;
|List the key persons involved in the project and give brief descriptions of the responsibilities
and qualifications of each one. Curriculum vitae are usually included in the appendix,
so it is not necessary to duplicate the information but rather to provide a summary
that documents the ability of the project staff to complete the project. If consultants
are to be involved, describe the reason for their involvement, their qualifications
||Qualifications; Project Staff; Biographical Sketches|
|Particularly important for projects which require unique capabilities and equipment,
this section should explain what resources are available and what access will be provided
to them in the proposed project. For proposals which do not propose intensive use
of equipment or specialized facilities, this section could include a description of
the relevant resources provided by the applicant institution (special museum collection,
access to a natural resource, unique events for project participants, etc.).
||Resources; Institutional Context;
Space and Equipment Requirements
|Budget||Present a detailed budget for cost categories such as personnel (salaries and fringe
benefits), materials and supplies, travel, equipment, contractual costs, participant
costs, and indirect costs. If the project includes contributions from the applicant
institution or a third party, present a three- or four-column budget with a total
of all costs in the final column. Most federal agencies provide their own forms on
which the budget request is summarized, but some proposals will also include a detailed
budget in the body of the proposal. A brief explanation (Budget Justification) should
follow the budget, which justififies each category of funding requested. It is particularly
important to show how the requested amounts were calculated and to justify any unusually
large request (equipment, for example).
||Fiscal Requirement; Project Costs; Financial Resources|
|Appendices||Curriculum vitae (resumes) of key personnel; letters of cooperation; supporting materials such as a course outline, bibliography, reading lists, reports of consultants. For many private funding organizations, other materials may be required: eg., a letter documenting the non-profit status of an organization, a list of the members of the board of directors, or certain portions of the applicant organization's most recent financial report.||Attachments; Background Materials; Supporting Documents|