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Pre-Award Process: Home

Pre-Award Process

Steps outlined in the pre-award phase are designed to reinforce a systematic and logical approach to prepare for funding. Grant proposal writing is the responsibility of the PI/PD and the OGSP will provide guidance, support the preparation of documents, facilitate internal approvals, and assemble and submit final proposal applications, as appropriate, depending on funder requirements. All grant proposals and applications require internal review and approval prior to submission to a funding agency. 

Pre-Award Phase

The flow chart below provides a visual representation of the steps included in the pre-award process, beginning with establishing program need and ending with proposal submission. While you may contact the OGSP for any support or questions, the PI/PD must submit a Notice of Intent to Apply form in order to officially notify and engage the OGSP in the pre-planning process. Please note: Supervisor/Dean approval is required prior to submission of the Intent to Apply form. 

Pre-Award Steps

Once you have a clear project idea in mind consult with your chair, dean, or supervisor to ensure alignment to department and university priorities. It is also important at this stage to consult with other colleagues or faculty in other divisions to seek constructive feedback. The peer review process will build capacity, may lead to collaborative partnerships, and will strengthen your proposal. 

Procedurally, the dean/chair/supervisor is required to review and sign-off on the Notice of Intent to Apply Form. Project/research ideas/concepts that may lead to funding applications should have support and input from leadership early in the process. It is important that proposals reflect department and university priorities.

Grant prospecting takes time and requires detailed review and investigation to establish a viable opportunity. If requested, the OGSP will work with PI/PDs to match research and program ideas to potential funding sources. Pre-award planning teams are encouraged to carefully examine a funding source for program match, eligibility requirements, and funding conditions. If appropriate and allowable, PI/PDs are encouraged to contact the funding agency program officer to verify match, clarify details, and establish rapport. The OGSP will also carefully review the opportunity upon receiving a Notice of Intent to Apply to further determine funding probability.

Once you have a strong project idea and a matched funder in mind then it is time to decide whether to pursue funding. This level of review and discussion are typically completed with your team using a decision-making tool to ensure the full range of criteria have been considered and/or met. Decision-making guides are available on the Tools & Resources page for use during this stage of development. While use of a scoring tool is optional, PI/PDs are encouraged to use some form of objective criteria to evaluate an opportunity. Once your team has decided to move forward and a department dean or supervisor has signed off on the opportunity, the next step is to consult with the OGSP to discuss the opportunity and submit a Notice of Intent to Apply Form. This action will officially notify the OGSP of your intent and begin the pre-planning and proposal development process.

Project planning is a key step to grant acquisition and project success. Depending on the complexity of the grant opportunity, a proposal may take up to several months to plan, develop, and submit to a funding source. Successful proposals are those which are carefully planned and written. While some level of planning takes place informally throughout the proposal process, structured time with your team and the OGSP staff prior to proposal development will ensure all components of the application have been considered and factored into a feasible plan.

At the discretion of the project PI/PD, a representative from the OGSP will attend and/or lead the meeting to review of the RFA, eligibility requirements, compliance measures, and special preferences to ensure the project is feasible and can be supported. Overall strategy and approach to proposal development will often be determined at this time, along with assembly of team members necessary to complete the proposal.

Principal/Co-investigators and project directors are expected to write all components of project proposals and encouraged to consult with the OGSP to provide feedback and support. The OGSP team will work closely the PI/PD and proposal development team with the intent to strengthen the application and increase the probability of success.

Generally, the project narrative and supplemental components should be written such that someone unfamiliar with the proposed project/program is able to obtain a complete picture of the project. Proposals should clearly explain what you plan to accomplish, how your plan will be implemented and evaluated, include a detailed account of planned expenditures, a timeline outlining milestones, and an explanation of the significance and impact of your work/research on the larger community.

Budget development is an essential component to a quality proposal and will reflect thoughtful and purposeful planning to a potential funder. If the proposal is successfully funded, the budget will become the financial plan for the project. PI/PDs must work closely with the OGSP to draft budget proposals. Final budgets must be submitted to the OGSP at least ten (10) business days prior to the grant deadline to allow time for internal review, routing, and approval.

Most funding agencies require grant applications to be submitted through online portals. Federally funded grant applications shall be submitted through the OGSP. In this submission situation, the OGSP will manage all aspects of the electronic submission, converting and uploading proposal and budget files, supplemental files, inputting approved text, and electronically transmitting proposals.

Submissions prepared for state, foundation, and private corporations will be determined by the OGSP working closely with the PI/PD. The OGSP will be responsible for all submissions unless otherwise expressed by the funding agency or decided upon by the PI/PD and the OGSP administrator. It is important to note that the university is always the applicant or sponsoring institution. PI/PDs are not authorized to submit proposals on behalf of the university without approval from leadership and routing through the OGSP.  

After a proposal is submitted to a funding agency, there will be a waiting period while the proposal moves through agency peer review and the evaluation process which can often take four to nine months depending on the type of grant and the funding cycle followed by the granting entity.

If the project is not funded, take advantage of the opportunity to review comments and feedback (if provided), revisit the proposal, and consider resubmitting during another funding cycle. If a project is funded, the OGSP and/or PI/PD will receive a Notice of Award, and the project will move into the post-award phase.

Submission correspondence received from a funding agency, whether a notice of award or rejection letter, shall be forwarded to the OGSP within two (2) days to ensure a timely response from the university. All correspondence received from a funding agency will be kept on file in the university file repository.