Proposal Development and Submission

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The Office of Sponsored Projects is responsible for submitting proposals seeking external support for research, training/instruction, and service projects at UT Dallas. As soon as a Principal Investigator (PI) contemplates submitting a proposal for funding, the respective Grant Specialist should be alerted and a record created in the OAR portal. PIs will also want to provide any information such as the due date and RFP/Program Announcement. This will allow the Grant Specialist to both review the guidelines for any unusual requirements and work with the PI on a timeline for submission.

The Office of Sponsored Projects’ (OSP) goal is to assist Principal Investigators in their efforts to secure external funding. This is accomplished by providing the following services and resources to faculty and professional research staff:

  • Proposal writing assistance with Hanover Research
  • Proposal review, authorization, and submission
  • Completion of required internal and external forms
  • Preparation and adjustment of budgets
  • Award negotiation and acceptance
  • Non-financial post award administrative functions
  • Education and training on sponsored program-related topics
  • Facilitate research collaborations

An increasingly competitive funding climate, combined with heightened compliance requirements, accentuates the need for greater adherence to the 4 business day policy. As a reminder,

  • Faculty should notify OSP of upcoming grant proposals as early as possible to ensure there is time for a comprehensive review of grant requirements.
  • All materials (boilerplate and administrative documents (i.e. Budget/Justification, Biosketch, Current and Pending, Facilities, etc.), science, and approved cert form) must be submitted to OSP at least 4 business days prior to the submission deadline. Technical pieces may continue to be refined during the 4 business days; however, drafts must be provided to ensure compliance with sponsor requirements.
  • Faculty are strongly encouraged to secure commitments (e.g., cost share, etc.), particularly those that involve the Office of Research, well in advance of finalizing the proposal documents.
  • If help is needed for editing or proofreading, including development of the proposal content, improving the accuracy of language, flow, and overall readability, and checking for grammar and spelling, a lead time of at least three (3) weeks is required.

If OSP receives a proposal without being afforded the appropriate lead time noted above, the proposal will be subject to a limited review and will only verify the minimum proposal elements to ensure compliance with University policies and federal regulations. In a limited review, OSP does not review the specific proposal requirements or check to ensure that all proposal elements are correct and have been included for submission. Rather, the PIs are responsible for ensuring that the proposal is compliant with all applicable guidelines. If a proposal that received a limited review is later found to be noncompliant with University or sponsor policy, OSP reserves the right to withdraw the proposal and if an award is made, the school and department will be responsible to cover costs incurred as a result of proposal errors. Such costs might include cost sharing commitments or unallowable commitments of UTD resources. 

For the complete internal deadline memo, click here.

Proposal Format

Many agencies have prescribed formats for proposal preparation, including the required forms for text, biographical data, and budget. Many agencies also have page, font, margin, type size, and character per inch (cpi) limitations for the body (text) of the proposal. For agencies which do not have specific formats, the OSP suggests that the Principal Investigator organize the proposal as follows:

  • Title Page
  • Technical Abstract
  • Table of Contents
  • Statement of the Proposed Research Project
  • Review of Relevant Literature
  • Brief Description of Proposed Activities or Objectives
  • Project Design or Procedures
  • Project Evaluation
  • Project Management
  • Personnel Resources
  • Institutional Equipment and Facilities
  • Project Budget
  • Budget Justification
  • Curricula Vitae
  • References (literature cited)
  • Appendices

See examples of successful proposals and outlines by accessing the Proposal Library.

Principal Investigator (PI) Eligibility

When the University accepts a grant or contract from an external sponsor, the University assumes responsibility for the proper performance of the stated project, the fiscal management of the funds received, and accountability to the sponsor. Since the institutional responsibility for meeting these obligations is vested in the Principal Investigator, only individuals who are full-time university employees (not adjunct appointments) and have the approval of their Dean are allowed to do research at the University. Post-doctoral associates may be PIs only if a full-time university employee is listed as Multi-Principal Investigator/Co-Principal Investigator.

Award Negotiation and Acceptance

Learn about negotiating the budget and accepting your award.

Read More Step 3