Preparing a grant for submission for external funding is a multi-phased process. Some grants are fairly small and well defined and can be prepared without a lot of effort or outside support. Many others, however, are complex, large, and resource intensive to prepare. The Director of the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) tries to match the level and timing of formal review and approval of proposals with the complexity and level of effort likely needed to move from a general idea to a competitive and University-approved grant submission. There are 4 progressively more formal phases to preparing a grant proposal. These phases are:
  1. Initial exploration of potential topics and funding sources;
  2. Preliminary planning phase with more development of basic ideas for a project;
  3. Definitive request for University support of your efforts to pursue a specific funding opportunity;
  4. Submission of the approved proposal to the funding agency.
There are no clear rules about when a proposal is ready to move from one phase to the next because each proposal is fairly unique. Your dean and the Director, OSP can help you determine when it is time to move to the next phase. The complexity, size, and potential institutional impact will affect the level of formality of the process. Simple, straightforward, and low risk projects may start right out at phase 3. More complex, costly, and time intensive projects are wise to move carefully through all 4 phases. The OSP has developed several forms to help guide the process. See the Overview Sponsored Program Proposal Process for more information.