Getting Started with the Proposal Process

Whether you are in the beginning stages of developing your idea or are ready to submit an application, the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs is available to help. ORSP provides many services to assist with the proposal process including searching for funding opportunities, interpreting solicitations, developing budgets, reviewing applications, and collecting appropriate institutional approvals. Please see the steps below to help you get started and understand how ORSP is able to assist you during the proposal process.

1. Develop an Idea

Think about what you would specifically like to do. Who will this project benefit? How will this contribute to your field? What resources are needed? Will you collaborate with a colleague? Another institution? Use our Proposal Development Form to assist in the brainstorming process.

2. Find Funding

There are many useful tools available online to help search for funding opportunities, including, SPIN,, or our Funding Sources page. It is also helpful to subscribe to listservs in your field of study which will frequently email open solicitations. 

3. Contact ORSP

Contact ORSP when you have found an agency you would like to approach for funding. We will review the eligibility requirements, confirm any submission due dates, discuss all of the required proposal components, and develop a plan with you in order to facilitate a smooth submission. Before the first meeting, it would be beneficial to submit a Proposal Development Form to give our office an overview of your project to review. 

4. Start Writing

You should begin writing your proposal as soon as possible. Often, there is only a short window of time a solicitation is open. You need to allow adequate time to review and edit all of the components of your proposal and receive the necessary internal approvals. ORSP is available to offer assistance during the entire proposal process and will interpret the solicitation, contact the program director (if necessary), and collect the necessary institution approvals. For writing tips please visit our Grant Writing Resources page

5. Collect Institution Approval Forms

All proposals must be submitted to ORSP with the appropriate approval forms. The necessary approval and matching forms may be found on our Forms page. You will need to collect the signature of your department head and dean and ORSP will collect the remaining final signatures. 

6. Submit to ORSP

Send your proposal with the completed institutional forms to ORSP. The full proposal will be reviewed to ensure that all requirements from the solicitation are addressed. Your proposal should be submitted to ORSP at least 5 business days before the due date, to allow for review and appropriate administrative approval. Typically, the final review will take less time if ORSP is involved with the proposal process from the beginning.

7. Wait on Response from Funding Agency

ORSP will submit all proposals on behalf of the institution. Our office will always keep you posted, but it may take several months before the agency responds with a funding decision. We will contact you as soon as we receive any news.