Helpful Hints

  • Contact OSP as soon as you are aware of a funding opportunity that you would like to respond to and provide OSP with the solicitation or RFP or a copy or website link.  Often, sponsors will ask for pre-proposals and selected applicants will be invited to submit a full proposal at a later date.   Notify OSP of your interest in applying BEFORE your letter of intent is submitted.
  • Read the grant notification thoroughly and make a checklist of necessary components for a successful application.
  • Enlist collaborators and include letters that clearly spell out the collaborations in your proposal.  Collaborations arepossibly your key to success in grant-seeking A sponsor’s “comfort level” especially among new independent investigators, will be improved.
  • Ask principal investigators in your institution to include you as an investigator on their application.
  • If the proposal involves multiple partners, start early and keep all partners engaged and involved. 
  • For collaborative proposals, prior to formulating the proposal, contact the appropriate program official of the funding agency to discuss the options (single vs. multiple proposals).  The method chosen is generally the program official's call.
  • Have a draft critiqued by: (a) someone familiar with your topic, (b) a colleague outside your field, and, if possible, (c) someone with experience in judging proposals. These people may raise questions, the answers to which can be incorporated into a revised draft. Reviewers of proposals will never call to find out what you mean by a particular statement; they will simply set aside your proposal in favor of another which is more clearly presented.
  • Remember all proposals must convince the reviewers of four things: (a) that your project is of sufficient importance and significance to merit research support, (b) that you've done a thorough review of literature in the field and have a well-designed plan of study, (c) that the project is of manageable size and can be carried out within the time frame of the proposal, and (d) that you are competent to complete the project successfully.
  • Fill out the correct agency forms correctly! If the sponsor provides an outline or other formatting instructions, FOLLOW THEM!
  • Provide all mandatory attachments and address all required topics.
  • Arrange for supporting documentation (letters, senior personnel bios, matching commitments, etc.)  EARLY.
  • Carefully check/edit for spelling, grammar, and clarity. 
  • Meet internal processing DEADLINES.  Proposals that are late may miss the submission deadline.
  • If a proposal is rejected, ask sponsor for the reviewer’s comments. Rewrite the proposal addressing those issues. A resubmitted proposal can be, and often is, funded the second time around