General Proposal Format

Cover Page

  • Quick reference sheet about the PI, proposal and College.
  • Signature of Authorized Rep.


  • Summary or abstract of one-page or less.
  • Should be jargon-free and comprehensible to the non-expert.
  • Should connect clearly and in a compelling fashion with the priorities of the sponsor.

Project Description, Narrative, or Technical Approach

  • Main body of the proposal.
  • Should address goals and objectives, importance, contextual background or theoretical basis, what you plan to do and how you will do it, what preliminary data or track record you have and what makes you well qualified to do the project.
  • Should include preliminary data or track record you have and what makes you well qualified to do the project, what you will do if the primary approach doesn’t work, what you expect the results will be, how you will know if the project is successful, and how you will publicize the results.
  • Use headings, white space, bold, italic, figures, tables, captions, or other means to bring attention to the ideas and topics you want to emphasize. Structure the proposal to be easy for reviewers to read and evaluate against the criteria established by the sponsor.


  • Represents the PI's best estimate of the costs of doing the work described in the proposal.
  • Direct costs are those that can be specifically and easily identified with the proposed work.
    • Includes such items as salaries, fringe benefits, equipment, travel, materials, publication costs.
  • Indirect costs are those costs that are incurred for common or joint objectives and cannot be specifically assigned to a particular project. Often reffered to as F&A or overhead.

Supplementary materials

  • Bibliography, curriculum vita(e), resources and facilities, other support, letters of support, appendices (where appropriate).