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Proposal Development Overview

Developing a grant proposal can be intensive and requires time and patience. The OSPR staff will assist in drafting, editing, and reviewing the content of the Principal Investigator's (PI) grant proposal.

Basic Elements of a Grant Proposal
(IMPORTANT: every grant application and process will differ. PLEASE carefully review the funder's guidelines and follow directions precisely. The OSPR staff will help ensure this process is done efficiently to meet all requirements.)

  1. Cover Letter
  2. Table of Contents
  3. Abstract/Project Summary
  4. Project Narrative:
    • Problem Statement/Statement of Need
    • Project Description
    • Goals and Objectives of Project
    • Dissemination Plan
    • Evaluation Plan
    • Data Management Plan
  5. Project Time Line
  6. Key Personnel Roles
  7. Budget & Budget Justification/Narrative
  8. Appendices
    • Bibliography
    • Support Documents: Letters, maps, etc.
    • Biosketch/Resume/CV of Key Personnel

Developing the Budget

Developing the project budget requires diligence and attention to detail, but also must comply with the funding agency's budgetary restrictions.

Most sponsors require you to submit a budget justification (sometimes also called a budget narrative) in addition to an itemized budget. This allows you to explain the need for each line item in the budget, as well as show the breakdown of calculations used to arrive at the amount in each line of the budget.

See ESU's Sponsored Projects Accounting page for financial policies and procedures for grants.

Helpful Tips:

  • When constructing a budget justification, follow the same order as that in the itemized budget or sponsor's budget form, so reviewers can easily compare the two documents.
  • Check to see if the sponsor limits the page length for the justification.
  • Be sure everything in your budget and budget justification is referenced in the proposal description/narrative as well—and be sure everything mentioned in your proposal description that would incur cost is explained in the budget and budget justification!
  • Double-check what expenses the sponsor will and will not allow, as these differ from sponsor to sponsor.

Remember, all costs must be Reasonable, Allowable, and Allocable

  • Allowable refers to costs that may be charged to a grant or contract.
  • Allocable refers to costs that are necessary for the success of the project.
  • Reasonable refers to actions a prudent business person would employ.