Guide To Proposal Writing

Proposal Preparation
Letter of Intent/Preproposal 
Proposal Deadline Policy




The following information is designed to assist faculty in developing and submitting proposals to any funding source:

  1. Notify the Pre-Award group in the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) as soon as you have identified a funding source and wish to begin developing a proposal. The Pre-award group will need to be advised of the deadline and have a link to (or copy of) the funding announcement. Many sponsors also have a basic set of guidelines or a set of electronic guidelines that are cross-referenced within the funding announcement. These guidelines will include logistical information for prescribed formatting, required forms, budgetary guidance, and very specific directions regarding other components of the application (title page, biosketch, references, facilities, etc.) The guidelines may also address compliance issues or include contractual terms and conditions that must be pre-viewed at the proposal stage. Lead time for planning is absolutely critical.
  2. Also notify Pre-Award if you have been asked to participate in a proposal as a collaborator. Sub-proposals must follow the exact same guidelines of the sponsor and procedures within the University. In addition, involving collaborators increases the need for Pre-Award to be pro-active and contact Sponsored Program Offices in collaborating institutions to be sure all components of the proposal have been addressed and authorizations obtained by each partner.
  3. Preliminary budgets should be submitted to the Office of Research in rough draft for review ten (10) days in advance of the deadline. Indirect cost rates, employee benefit rates, and cost sharing requirements are subject to change. Refer to TU’s Proposal Preparation Fact Sheet for the current rates.
    Any proposal which has matching requirements or cost sharing must be approved prior to budget preparation and submission.
  4. Final budgets should be completed, and in the Pre-Award office at least five working days before the application deadline. A copy of your internal budget and completed proposal should accompany the two internal routing forms that must be signed by your Department Chair and Collegiate Dean to allow ample time to obtain other required signatures and final processing. 

    Office of Research and Sponsored Programs Proposal Routing Form (.xls template)
    Office of Research and Sponsored Programs Proposal Routing Form (.pdf template - Fillable) 

    5.  If hard copy is required, assistance with copying, collating, and mailing of the proposal is provided by the ORSP if received in the Office at least five working days prior to the proposal deadline.

6.    Electronic proposal submission is now utilized routinely and these mechanisms widely vary. In the case of Federal proposals, there is an extensive infrastructure to support the grants process and many proposals are submitted through Grants.Gov – a centralized portal that interacts with every Federal agency system. State agencies and private sponsors and foundations are also actively engaging in electronic submissions. Please Remember: It is the policy of this institution to obtain internal approval BEFORE submitting ANY proposal—regardless of on-line instructions.

Due to the many types of proposals, various agency/sponsor guidelines and forms, potential compliance, contractual or electronic requirements, you MUST read the guidelines carefully. We urge you to contact the Pre-Award office as early as possible in this process. If you need assistance of any kind in the development or processing of a proposal, please call the Office of Research at Ext. 3312 or Ext. 2480.


This initial type of interaction is often appropriate to make first contact with a potential grantor. The term may vary (preliminary proposal, white paper, letter or notice of intent, etc.), however, this approach might be the required first step in a multi-step process or it can generate feedback as to whether your idea is of interest to the grantor. If there are guideline requirements, it is important to organize the pre-proposal precisely as instructed.

Please be aware that it is a TU policy to obtain internal approval for pre-proposals when budget information is requested. There are times that guidelines ask for a budget statement, budget total or cost share estimate. If a sponsor or collaborator (such as OK EPSCoR or another institution) tells you this is not necessary—remember it is internal policy that takes precedence here. If you have any question, please contact our office for clarification (x3312 or x2480) as we will be happy to review the wording of the announcement and determine if routing is necessary.

Please see our Proposal Deadline Policy