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Proposal Preparation Resources

Proposal Basics

  • A proposal is a detailed request for funding developed in accordance with sponsor's instructions.
  • Proposals must comply with NDSU policies and sponsor requirements.
  • Proposals become an official record of what NDSU promised to a sponsor.

Preparing the Proposal

  • Principal Investigators (PIs) are responsible to prepare and and route proposals for institutional approval. 
  • Most formal (full) proposals submitted to the federal government and/or in response to a formal sponsor announcement will require proposal components such as: title/cover page, table of contents, abstract/project summary, budget, budget justification, project description, bibliography, personnel vitae, current and pending support, facilities/resource statement, representations, certifications and assurances as well as appendices.
  • Less formal proposals, such as submission to some non-profit organizations, minimally include a cover page, scope of work, budget, and budget justification.
  • Review sponsor guideline requirements to identify funding limits, start and end dates, budgetary limitations, page limitations, font sizes, section headings, submission method etc... and complete all required proposal documents.

Budget Development Resources

Guidance regarding the following topics can be found on the Budget Development webpage.

  • General Budget Development Information

    • Personnel Costs
    • Non-Personnel Costs

  • Facilities & Administration (F&A)/Indirect Costs (IDC)
  • Fringe Benefit Rates
  • Budget Templates
  • Budget Justification
  • Cost Share/Match

Institutional Information

Many sponsor proposal application forms require standard information about NDSU, including frequently used numbers (DUNS, Congressional District, Cage Code, etc.), contact information and authorized organizational representative. This information can be found on SPA's Institutional Information page.

NDSU Approval and Submission Process

NDSU policy requires that all external proposal budgets be reviewed and approved by Sponsored Programs prior to submission to any sponsor. A flow chart of the proposal process can be found on SPA's Forms page. At least three business days prior to application due date, route the following documents to Sponsored Programs for review and approval:

  • Completed Proposal Transmittal Form (PTF) signed by PI, Co-PIs, department chair/head, dean
  • Budget in sponsor approved format
  • Budget justification
  • Summary of proposed work

After approval, submission is done by:

  • PI to most external funding sources (including some electronic proposal systems), or
  • SPA to external funding sources that require submission by Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR).

Research Development Office

Research Development staff review grant proposal drafts for individual faculty members upon request. This does not include a technical review of the disciplinary content, but rather, it is a review of the proposal organization, grammar and sentence structure, adherence to specific program guidelines and NDSU policy, completeness, and readability. To inquire about this service, email 

Research and Sponsored Activity Handbook

The Research and Sponsored Activity Handbook is a resource that serves as a guide for NDSU faculty and researchers pursuing external funding for sponsored program activities. While not covering all topics that could potentially arise with various funding agencies, this guide provides general information of areas typically addressed at NDSU.

Funding Opportunities

Resources to find internal and external funding opportunities can be found on NDSU's Research Development Office webpage.

Roles and Responsibilities Matrix

The Roles and Responsibilities Matrix identifies parties involved in the grants process and their defined responsibilities.

Federal Agency Proposal Resources

Find federal agency resources on the Research Development web page under Proposal Development Resources.

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Phone: 701.231.8045
Physical/delivery address:  1735 NDSU Research Park Drive/Fargo, ND 58102
Mailing address:  P.O. Box 6050—Dept. 4000/Fargo, ND 58108-6050
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Last Updated: Wednesday, November 14, 2018 9:21:38 AM
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