The proposal format should always adhere to the agency guidelines. Many funding agencies have moved to electronic research administration and the submission of proposals via the Internet. In most cases, electronic submission may be mandatory.
If the agency does not have specific guidelines, the principal investigator may want to use the following as a guide to preparing the proposal.
Most government agencies and private/corporate foundations are receptive to proposals that follow a “standard" format with which their personnel are familiar. The components listed here are standard to most proposals, though not necessarily to all. Furthermore, the components may appear under different names:
Transmittal Letter — A letter printed on University letterhead, signed by the Office of Research Services indicating the contents of the proposal submission packet as well as contact information for technical (PI) and administrative questions. This is not necessary for most Federal proposals.
Cover Sheet — Typically, a form suggested by the agency. If one is not specified, use a “standardized" outline form.
Abstract — The abstract is usually a one-page summary of the proposal. It presents the essential elements of the proposal. The agency may use it to disseminate the proposal idea for comment from individuals outside the primary review group.
Table of Contents — Appropriate for proposals of more than five pages of narrative (if allowed by the agency).
Introduction — An introduction may be appropriate to lead into a more complex proposal by briefly explaining the reason for, and the basic elements of, the proposal.
Narrative (Technical Proposal) — The narrative describes the proposed project and details precisely what is being proposed:
Subawards — If any of the work will be done by an entity outside of TTU, provide a scope of work (technical proposal) and budget for each subawardee. It will also be necessary to include a letter of commitment signed by the subawardee’s principal investigator and an authorized institutional official (usually from the sponsored projects office). Be sure to follow any other specific instructions including form preparation required by the sponsoring agency. In addition to the letter of commitment, each subawardee should complete the Texas Tech Subrecipient Commitment Form.
Appendices — 1) Bibliography - determine the requirement for bibliographical references. If appropriate, include a bibliography immediately preceding the other appendices; 2) Vitae - at a minimum, include vitae for the senior personnel; 3) Publication Lists - a current list of publications for each of the senior personnel should be included; 4) other current and pending support.
Note: Intellectual Property — All proprietary information in the proposal should be duly marked. For more information, see the guidelines at the Texas Tech University Office of Research Commercialization.