Content of Proposal
The PI is responsible for the technical content of the proposal and for compatibility of the proposed research along with her or his other professional duties. It is important to remember that if a project is funded, the sponsor will expect the work to be carried out substantially as proposed, with significant deviations requiring prior approval.
Generally, every proposal should include the following:
- Title Page—Unless a specific format is supplied by a sponsor, the following format may be used:
- Name of the entity to which the proposal is being submitted.
- Legal name of the university, University of North Texas.
- Title of the proposed project.
- Name of the principal investigator and any co-investigators, with the departmental and school/college affiliations of each.
- Signature of the principal investigator, and signature of the authorized University official.
- Date of submission, and proposed project period.
- Standard information about the University, e.g., taxpayer identification number (FEIN), DUNs number, etc., which may be obtained from GCA.
- Technical Abstract—Depending on the scope and complexity of a project, an abstract may be of assistance to a prospective sponsor. The technical abstract should be a condensed version of the project. State concisely the significance of the project, what is expected to be accomplish and how, and the period of performance of the project. The abstract is extremely important in creating a favorable first impression of the proposal.
- Table of Contents (optional)
- List of Tables (optional)
- List of Figures (optional)
- Introduction—The introduction, or statement of need, emphasizes the importance of the project. The proposal should be set within a background framework of previous related research and have a theoretical orientation. The relationship of the project to the interests of the funding agency may be stressed tactfully. The introduction sets forth the focus of the proposal.
- Objectives—The problem should be stated as specifically as possible and should be related to the background information provided. The importance and rationale of the proposed research should be well specified. It is important that the objectives, both general and specific, are well conceived. If they are poorly defined, it may be found that the timeframe is unrealistic or that the budget is inadequate.
- Methods and Procedures—This section details how the research will be carried out. The procedures may be written in several different ways: by activities tied to specific procedures, by functional categories such as planning, development, and implementation, or by major time blocks. If the procedural section takes up an undue number of pages, the narrative can be reduced considerably through the judicious use of appendices, tables, and illustrations. If the agency limits the number of narrative pages, these devices can be particularly useful. Be mindful, however, that some sponsors have limitations on use of appendices and what they may contain. Although requests for equipment are usually described in a separate section, additional justification for unusually expensive or specialized equipment can be stated in this section to reinforce the budget request.
- Dissemination of Findings—While projects generally result in published papers in professional journals, many agencies require additional means of disseminating the results of the research. A statement of how this is to be done should be included. Some projects may require inclusion of a plan for evaluation of the success or progress of the project.
- Equipment and Facilities—Most proposals should include a section on equipment and facilities available to the research project. It is extremely important that major items of equipment which are being requested are clearly identified and their need described.
- Budget and Budget Narrative (include subcontract and consultant narrative as applicable)—The principal investigator must estimate with reasonable accuracy the costs of performing the research and provide adequate justification and documentation of those costs. The Grants and Contracts Specialist may be available to assist in preparing the budget. For more details regarding proposal budget preparation, see the section on Budget Development.
- Bio Sketch—These data should be submitted with every proposal to indicate the background, areas of interest, research capabilities, and publications of the principal investigator and other professional investigators.
- Current and Pending—This section of the proposal calls for required information on all current and pending support for ongoing projects and proposals, including subsequent funding in the case of continuing grants.
- References—Proposals should include a list of references to pertinent literature in the field. The list should be as current as possible at the time the proposal is prepared and should cite the most recent advances in the field.
- Supplemental Documents or Appendices—Appendices may be used to indicate data of peripheral benefit to the research, e.g., reprints of articles, letters of support (as required by the RFP), tabular data, and graphs. The use of appendices is recommended, particularly when a sponsor limits the length of the proposal to a specified number of pages.
- Certifications—Federal agencies require a number of representations and certifications from UNT which typically must accompany each proposal. Some agencies such as NSF and NIH have incorporated these in their forms, while others such as DOD, NASA, DOE and EPA have separate certification forms which generally must be completed, in part by both the PI and GCA.