Tips for Developing a Proposal

Proposal Preparation and Submission Process

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Proposal Preparation

  • PI identify funding agencies or response to funding announcements from FAMU OSP
  • PI works with department and research dean’s office(s) on preliminary aspects of the proposal.
  • PI submits required internal forms to the Unit Head (Chair, Director, Dean, and Provost (if applicable) for signature(s).
  • Intent to Submit Form
  • Proposal Transmittal Form
  • Cash or in-Kind Match requests
  • Request for Letters of Support
  • PI must complete FCOI, Responsible Conduct in Research, IRB, IACUC. Biohazard (if applicable), Export Control, and Fundamental of Grants Management trainings as applicable.
  • PI must complete eProcurement and Travel training to approve all expenditures related to sponsored project.
  • At least 5-10 business days prior to proposal submission date, PI submit proposal file to for ensuring that sponsor’s submission procedures (agency url website or attachment required for RFP) are uploaded timely.

Proposal Development

  • Prior to beginning the proposal, PI reviews the guidelines for the application process and the requirements.
  • PI begins writing the technical/narrative portion of the proposal and develops the budget.
  • At least 5-10 business days prior to the proposal submission date, PI submits the proposal file for routing and approval – all parts of the proposal, except the proposal narrative must be in final form (files completed and uploaded into the proposal package/format).
  • The proposal transmittal and supporting documents must be is routed to and reviewed by the department chairs (or Center or Institute Directors) of the PI and all co-PIs, for department/unit compatibility, budget, or other commitments or use of facilities and by the dean(s) of the PI and all Co-PIs, for consistency with college or unit goals, budget, or other commitments or use of facilities.
  • PI works with the Coordinator responsible for budget review in the Office of Sponsored Programs to finalize budget.

Proposal Finalization

  • PI works with the Coordinator in the Office of Sponsored Programs to finalize the proposal package prior to submitting to funding agency.  The OSP will review for compliance to university policy, state or federal regulations, budget and fiscal compliance, sponsor certifications and assurances, adherence to regulatory and safety compliance, and potential conflicts of interest.

Proposal Submission

  • The OSP Coordinator will confirm with PI if the proposal is final and ready for submission.
  • The Office of Sponsored Programs completes one final review of the proposal to makes sure it meets the requirements and guidelines of the sponsor’s RFP.
  • The OSP Associate Director and Director review for submission to Vice President of Research for final approval.
  • The Office of Sponsored Programs submits the proposal to the funding agency – either electronically or in paper form.  There are instances where the PI submits the proposal directly to the funding agency.  When this occurs, the PI should inform the OSP that they will submit and provide the OSP with confirmation once the proposal has been successfully submitted to the funding agency.



Guidelines For Institutional Proposals

Institutional proposals are proposals submitted by Florida A&M University to a funding sponsor that limits the number of proposals the sponsor will receive by any one institution. When the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) is made aware of institutional proposals, the OSP web page will be updated with information specific to the proposal, such as the proposal's due date and the number of proposals the sponsor will accept. The information will also be sent in an e-mail to all faculty. 

Any faculty member who is interested in responding to a Request for Proposal (RFP) should immediately complete the “Intent to Submit” form on the OSP webpage and send a white paper (one page) to the Vice President for Research within the time specified. The faculty member should prepare the white paper as narrative responses to the rating questions listed on the Evaluation Criteria for Institutional Proposals.

The white paper for institutional proposals must include the following information:

  • A statement regarding the ability of the proposed Principal Investigator and each member of the project team to successfully secure and complete the project;
  • A description of project team's track record with the Division of Research in securing and managing grants;
  • An indication of whether the proposal requires institutional costs, such as cash or in-kind match (If so, identify the funding source.);
  • A description of how the project will benefit FAMU; and
  • The goals and objectives of the project (Link these to the RFP.)
  • A description of the project's planned collaborative effort.

The PI should send this information to OSP as directed in the call for white papers at least 30 days before the proposal is due, if possible. However, if the OSP finds that the proposal is due within a short time-frame, the Vice President for Research, or his designee, will decide which proposal to submit to the sponsor.

If the number of white papers received by OSP is greater than the number of proposals allowed by the funding sponsor, the Vice President for Research will convene an Ad Hoc Subcommittee of the Faculty Research Advisory Committee (FRAC). The Vice President for Research will appoint members to the Ad Hoc Subcommittee according to the scope of the RFP. The subcommittee will review the white papers and make recommendations to the Vice President for Research on which proposals to submit for funding.

The following evaluation criteria will be used by subcommittee members to assist in evaluating institutional proposal white papers.

Within five days after the white papers are reviewed and evaluated, the PIs will be informed in writing by the Vice President for Research, or his designee, as to which white paper(s) was/were selected to be submitted to the funding sponsor.

Helpful Tips for Developing a Proposal

  • Provide advance notification to the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) regarding your intent to submit a proposal by completing the Intent to Submit Form (Click to Download) and faxing, hand delivering or e-mailing us. We can assist you in developing your budgets, facilitating collaborations and determining timeframes for the completion of your proposal and subsequent approval / submission.
  • Submit full proposals to the OSP at least six (6) business days prior to the agency's deadline (receipt/postmark) date. If the proposal consists of several budgets, a consortium or multiple-year funding, please submit proposal to the OSP at least (10) business days prior to the agency's deadline date.Submit an advance copy of the proposal and/or budget to your Sponsored Research Representative by fax or e-mail. You may also hand deliver this information. An early review of the budget can prevent delays later and problems can be identified and corrected before the final proposal is ready.
  • Submit the Proposal Review Transmittal Form (PRTF) along with the Proposal and the agency guidelines. The PRTF must have the appropriate signatures prior to submission to OSP.
  • Ensure that the cover page/face page of the proposal is signed by Charles A. Weatherford , Ph.D., Vice President for Research, and not by the PI.
  • Organize sections of the proposal according to the agency guidelines.


Important Facts On Proposal Data

  • The authorized institutional representative is the only person who may commit the University to contractual obligation (as it relates to research).
  • The authorized representative is Charles A. Weatherford, Ph.D., Vice President for Research.
  • The “applicant” or “applicant organization” and “legal name of institution” is Florida A&M University (FAMU), acting for and on behalf of the FAMU Board of Trustees.
  • The mailing address is:

    Florida A&M University
    Division of Research
    Office of Sponsored Programs
    1700 Lee Hall Drive
    400 Foote- Hilyer Administration Center (FHAC)
    Tallahassee , Florida 32307


Important Facts On Budget Development

  • Make sure your budget is detailed, complete and reflects the funds necessary for the completion of the project.
  • If no budget form is provided by the agency, include in your budget the applicable line items:

    Personnel Subcontractual
    Fringe Benefits Stipends
    Consultants Other Expenses
    Travel Consultants
    Equipment Total Direct Costs
    Supplies Indirect Costs/Overhead
    Participant Cost Total Budget (Direct & Indirect Costs)


  • Provide detailed justification for each line item request in the budget.
  • Unless the funding agency specifies, the writer can use discretion in choosing a font/type style.
  • A breakdown of costs per year should include allowances for cost increases in future years (personnel, equipment, and supplies). Increase in personnel and tuition should be preceded by the following: subject to university and legislative approval.
  • Travel requests should include specifics on the number of persons traveling, destination, airfare, registration costs, and per diem.
  • When students are included in the budget, please show the number of hours, number of weeks, number of students, and the rate of pay used in your calculations.
  • If stipends will be issued, include the qualifications, i.e. major, academic standing, and G.P.A., as well as when the stipend will be paid and in what amounts.
  • Subcontractual agreements (subawards) require the receipt of a copy of the institution's indirect cost rate agreement sheet as well as their institutional fringe benefit rates.
  • Indirect costs should be charged against all line items except tuition, scholarships, equipment, construction and each part of a subcontract in excess of $25,000.
  • The negotiated indirect cost should be applied to all budgets unless a specific program has placed a ceiling on indirect cost recovery. Written verification is required in such instances.
  • Proposals including cost-sharing/match must have written verification and documentation that identifies the committed sources (e.g., account numbers, letters of commitment from outside sources).


Additional Documents


Principal Investigator Starter Kit 2020 (PDF)                         FAMU DoR Helpful Tips (PDF)


Florida A&M University

Division of Research Office of Sponsored Programs
1700 Lee Hall Drive
400 Foote- Hilyer Administration Center (FHAC)
Tallahassee , Florida 32307
(850) 599-3531