Once you have identified a funding opportunity, it's time to prepare a proposal. Some federal agencies have specific application forms and/or their own web-based submission systems. Download the most up-to-date version of the application forms, policies, and procedures and adhere to the sponsor’s requirements.
Key Elements of a Proposal
Every grant proposal has its own special requirements for information that needs to be included. At a bare minimum, all proposals require the following elements:
Preparing an NIH Proposal
National Institutes of Health (NIH) proposals typically require a project summary/abstract, project narrative, bibliography/references cited, facilities and other resources, equipment, biographical sketch(es), personnel justification, budget, budget justification, specific aims, research strategy, rigor and reproducibility, and letters of support. The proposal may also require additional components, such as human subject research protection, care and use of vertebrate animals in research, consultants, facilities, and a leadership plan if your project will involve multiple PIs.
Preparing an NSF Proposal
National Science Foundation proposals typically require a cover sheet, project summary, table of contents, project description, references cited, biographical sketch(es), budget, budget justification, current and pending support, data management plan, facilities, and supplementary documents.
When preparing a proposal, it is important to be aware of issues that require special attention. These issues include the following:
Preparing a fundable and competitive budget allows the sponsor to determine the financial picture of your proposed project. Sponsors review budgets to verify that costs are reasonable, necessary, and in keeping with budget guidelines.
The PI should only request funds that are adequate and do not include unnecessary expenses. In preparing your budget, keep in mind that sponsored project costs fall into the following categories:
The most significant direct costs for any sponsored project are typically salaries and fringe benefits, but direct costs may also include travel, printing, materials and supplies, subcontracting agreements, etc. If your budget charges the sponsor for expenses that would normally be considered indirect costs (e.g., equipment, facilities, administrative support, etc.), these items require a budget justification.
Facilities & Administrative (F&A) Costs
F&A costs are also known as indirect costs or overhead. F&A rates reimburse the university for the indirect costs associated with a research project. It excludes equipment, capital expenditures, charges for tuition remission, rental costs, scholarships, and fellowships as well as the portion of each subgrant and subcontract in excess of $25,000.
If a sponsored project has expenditures that are unallowable on a sponsored account (e.g. overspent budget or budget category, expensed items that are not allowable by the sponsor, or expenses that are inappropriate to the project), it is the Principal Investigator’s/department’s fiduciary responsibility to move those expenditures off the sponsored project promptly.
Unallowable Administrative, Operational, and Research Related Costs
Office supplies, pens, paper, basic software, etc.
Local telephone and fax; telephone line and equipment charges, cell phones
Postage, express mail (Freight to ship component parts necessary for the research is allowable)
Hazardous waste disposal
Proposal preparation costs
Costs of reprints of articles on the research funded by the grant are allowable; other printing costs may or may not be allowable depending on the circumstances
The costs of memberships in business, technical, and professional organizations are generally not allowable.
Books and periodicals (these are typically considered indirect costs supported by the institutions library)
Key Elements of a Budget
The following items are typical components of a budget.
Through funding provided by the Augusta University Research Institute and Augusta University, consultants from Health Research Associates (HRA) and Stone Fence Collaborative have been engaged to assist faculty with grant proposal preparation and revisions. Assistance is provided in preparation of specific aims, significance, hypothesis development, and other sections of the grant application, as well as with responding to review critiques.
HRA consultants visits Augusta University twice yearly to meet individually with faculty and to present grantsmanship seminars, and they welcome FAX, telephone, and email communication. Dr. Batt primarily works remotely via email. Contact DSPA, email@example.com, to learn more about these programs.
Israel Goldberg, PhD
Stone Fence Contact
Carl Batt, PhD
All extramural research grant proposals should be reviewed internally by one or more of your colleagues. To increase the probability of receiving an award, we also encourage faculty to have one or two nationally or internationally recognized senior scientists in the appropriate field outside Augusta University's review their proposals. These individuals will have a strong track record of serving as principal investigators on NIH grants. Of course, this will require that the draft of the proposal be prepared sufficiently prior to the submission deadline to allow time for adequate revision based upon the review.
The Office of the Senior Vice President for will pay a $250 consulting fee for up to two external reviews of a major (e.g., NIH) grant proposal being submitted by any Augusta University faculty member.
Prior to the Review
The Request for External Grant Review form, Non-Disclosure Form, a copy of the consultant's four-page NIH biosketch including other support or his/her curriculum vitae, a copy of the most recent version of the grant proposal (i.e., specific aims, background and significance, research design and methods), should be submitted to the Office of the Senior Vice President for Research for approval.
After the Review
The Service Agreement Request , Contractor Determination Checklist, and W-9 should be completed and signed (except where the account number and Approver signatures are required). Submit these forms along with a copy of the consultant's critique to the Office of the Senior Vice President for Research, Attention: Rhea Lord, Director, Research Business Operations, CJ 3329, (706) 721-7075. The critique could be a standard NIH review and/or the actual handwritten or typed editing, rewrites, suggestions, etc. Following receipt of this information, review payment will be issued.
InfoEd is AU's electronic routing system. To submit your proposal for review, log in to InfoEd and complete all required fields and upload all related materials. The system will generate emails to the appropriate financial and administrative leaders for approval.
Cost-sharing commitments begin with the proposal. Cost-sharing commitments should be indicated when the proposal is routed and delineated in the budget submitted to the external sponsor. Cost-sharing commitments require approval by the Department Chair and Dean’s Office. Charges will be recorded against the sponsored and cost share accounts as directed by the Principal Investigator, on Personal Action Requests, check requests, et cetera. Principal Investigators and their departmental administrators are responsible for monitoring the activity in their cost-sharing accounts to ensure that charges are necessary, reasonable, allowable, and allocable.