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General Resources for Proposal Preparation & Project Development


Sponsored Programs Administration provides many resources for creating budgets on their Budget Development webpage, including information on NDSU's F&A Rate Agreement (indirect costs)

To assist you in developing your budget, the following templates are available: 

If you have questions regarding budget development, contact Sponsored Programs Administration.

Data Management Plan (DMP)

Many funding agencies now require data management plans; review the funding opportunity announcement or solicitation for specific requirements.

You can also visit the SPARC Data Sharing Requirements by Federal Agency webpage. 


  • The DMP Tool is a useful resource for developing data management plans.  It includes templates for various funding agencies and examples of plans. 



Evaluation Plans

Center proposals or other large multidisciplinary projects typically require a plan for evaluation.  Some program solicitations require an external evaluator to be part of the proposal.  

Resources for developing evaluation plans include:

Resources for using Logic Models in your Evaluation Plan
Logic Model Planning and Development:

Logic Model Examples:

If you are looking for an external evaluator or need some assistance in developing an evaluation plan, please contact the Research Development office at

Identifying Funding Priorities

When developing a project idea, it is helpful to relate your idea to current priorities:

Institutional Information

Sponsored Programs Administration maintains an Institutional Information page which includes: 

  • NDSU authorized organizational representative
  • Official NDSU address for sponsored projects
  • Indirect cost rates
  • Fringe benefit rates
  • Proposal routing procedure
  • Audit reports, and
  • Frequently used numbers: 

    • NDSU's EIN #: 45-6002439
    • DUNS Number: 80-388-2299
    • Congressional District: ND1
    • Cage Code: 40341
    • NDSU's Animal Welfare Assurance #: A3244-01
    • USDA Research Facility Registration #: 45-R-002
    • NSF's Institutional Code # assigned to NDSU: 00 29975 000
    • Human Subjects Assurance: FWA00002439
    • Number of NDSU employees 

ABoilerplate Description of NDSU contains general campus information that can be used or customized as needed.  

Postdoc Mentoring


PTF and Proposal Process

Sponsored Programs Administration provides information on proposal processing for university approval, as well as the Proposal Transmittal Form (PTF) which is required for proposal routing. 

The proposal process at NDSU is detailed in the graphic below: 

Handout: Proposal Submission Flowchart

Program Officers

Tips for Contacting Program Officers

Congratulations on making the important step to visit with a grant program officer.  Statistics show that making a personal connection with your program officer will increase your chances of getting funded immensely.  Following are some tips, based on past experience, to help make your visit as successful as possible.


  1. Identify a program officer.
  2. Prepare a concept paper / abstract.
  3. Make contact with the program officer. 
  4. Talk / meet with the program officer.
  5. Follow up after the meeting.


To plan for the visit, prepare a brief 1-2 page concept paper that you can hand to the program officer at the beginning of the meeting. You should be ready to discuss a specific proposal. The format is flexible, but include:

  1. Overall goal and objectives of the proposal.  SMART objectives should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
  2. Describe the problem to be addressed. Use Heilmeier’s Catechism -
  3. Refer to your unique personnel, resources, collaborations, whatever strengths will stand out in your proposal
  4. To the extent possible, use the agency’s format, style, and terminology.
  5. For the title of the concept paper, use an eye-catching newspaper-like headline (think of benefits and potential impact of proposal).  This is not going to be the same as the title of your subsequent formal proposal. 
  6. Use headings, color, and institutional branding, and employ meaningful graphics to assist in telling your story.
  7. Ask others to review and provide feedback.


  1. Well before meeting, send an email to introduce yourself.  Attach your concept paper & biosketch in agency format.  Ask to set up a ½ hour meeting. Try to avoid peak review panel season if possible, a busy time for them.
  2. Prior to the meeting, confirm the date, time and location. 
  3. Be on time.  At the meeting, listen closely for his/her advice and recommendations. Program officers will sometimes be willing to advocate for your proposal or refer you to other programs if appropriate, or even find other pockets of funding at times.  This type of ‘inside information’ can be invaluable to you.
  4. Plan to keep the meeting within the planned time constraints, but take your cue from the program officer.
  5. To keep communication open, follow up with a thank you note to the program officer, including a brief written summary of the conversation.  Also share this with university administrators and any collaborators.


  1. Do your homework on the grant agency beforehand so you have a good understanding of how it works.
  2. Though 1-on-1 is best, if a face-to-face ‘live’ meeting is not possible, Skype, Facetime, or even a phone call is a good alternative, better than no contact. Proposals are too much work to be submitted as ‘a shot in the dark.’
  3. Customize questions. For NSF, ask about ideas for broader impacts. For NIH, ask which study section to target.  
  4. Do NOT ask who is on the review panel, but it’s appropriate to ask about the types of expertise of reviewers who will be on the panel.  Do NOT ask if a Congressman can help or provide a letter of support.  Do NOT ask for a copy of a funded application, or if a particular person got funded - that information is available elsewhere.  
  5. DO ask how proposals from early career applicants are handled, if applicable to you.   For other appropriate questions to ask program officers, as well as other good advice, see Can We Talk? Contacting Grant Program Officers 

Download this handout

General Proposal Writing Tips

Some general proposal writing resources are listed below. They include print and video guides from agencies, foundations, and other grant writing groups. 

Print Resources


Video Resources

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Last Updated: Tuesday, September 18, 2018 3:59:06 PM
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