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Preparing the Proposal

Preparing the Proposal


Once you have carefully researched a grant opportunity and have determined that a program is a good match for your project, then:

  • Read the grant proposal guidelines very carefully and follow them meticulously.
  • Map out the entire proposal preparation process at the very beginning with special attention to the components of the proposal that are outside your direct control (letters of support, material from collaborators, IRB approval if required, pre-review by colleagues, and the University approval process).
  • Create a timeline, make realistic allocations of time to each component allowing for the inevitable complications, and stick to it as closely as you can. Often, the proposal development plan can be drawn fairly easily from the program announcement. I will be able to assist you in developing a timeline.


Project Narrative

  • The centerpiece of the proposal is the narrative that describes what you want to do.The narrative should be written in clear, jargon-free prose, that states at the outset:
  1. What gap or need the project addresses
  2. Why it is important
  3. What your approach is and why it is the most effective approach to the problem that you are addressing
  4. How the project will advance the field and solve a specific problem
  5. Why you are the person to conduct this project.

Sometimes the program announcement will prescribe a format for the project narrative, sometimes with page limitations for each section. If it does, follow those instructions precisely.


Other proposal forms

  • Cover Sheet contains general information about the proposal including contact information for Rutgers. If you have questions, contact our office or your Contract/Grant Specialist.
  • Project summary is usually a single page and should include an overview of the entire project. NSF requires that the summary specifically address intellectual merit and broader impact, so follow sponsor requirements.
  • Biosketch or CV is usually required for everyone who contributes to the development or execution of a project in a substantive, measurable way, whether or not they request compensation. Follow the page limitations and prescribed format, if given.
  • References or works cited should follow the page limitations and format prescribed by the program announcement. If no format is prescribed, it should follow the standard format for the academic discipline.
  • Budget & Budget Narrative will probably take longer than you expect, so it is essential to clarify the process for developing the proposal budget. Determine if developing the budget will require the efforts of the Senior Program Coordinator in our office, or the department business manager, or some combination of the two. You will need to work closely with these individuals during the budget development process. You will also be working with your Contract/Grant Specialist at ORSP.
  • Supplementary documents/Appendices may be required or maybe disallowed.


Rutgers Internal Review Process

The internal review process for all Rutgers proposals must be reviewed by The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) by the designated Grants Specialist assigned to your department. You can find out who that is by going here.

All new applications must use the ‘Research Administration & Proposal Submission System’ (RAPSS), online system, and an internal Endorsement form must be completed in the online system. For non-federal agencies, applicants must complete the PDF version of the Endorsement form.

**For NSF applications, RAPSS must be used for the internal Endorsement of the proposal. However, NSF's FastLane system may be used for the submission of the actual proposal.

Please contact your Grants Specialist if you have any questions regarding the submission of your proposal and its compatibility with RAPSS.


Internal Budget

  • ORSP requires a budget separate from the budget required by the sponsor. The budget template for ORSP can be found here. Click on this link and then select ‘Rutgers Actual Budget’ from the ‘Downloads’ menu box on the right-hand side of the page.
  • If the budget requires you to express your level of effort as a function of person/months, please use the effort calculator.
  • A Budget Justification is required for review by ORSP. Please contact our office for assistance in developing the justification



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