Proposal Preparation & Submission

Currently, the Office of Contracts and Grants (OCG) is revising its resources for proposal preparation. In the meantime, see a Short Guide to Proposal Preparation, OCG Training Presentations, or the other links on this page for guidance. Submissions

Most proposals submitted to the federal government must be submitted electronically through or an agency specific system or portal, e.g. Fastlane, in response to the Paper Reduction Acts of the 1990”s. For details and instructions for, see the following documents:

Enhancing Peer Review at NIH

Proposal Information 

Crafting the proposal is an important yet time-consuming process. The following information, as well A Short Guide to Proposal Preparation is designed to help you learn more about and navigate proposal writing and submission.

Grant Proposals versus Contract Proposals 

Grants: Proposals submitted under general guidelines, e.g. Funding Opportunity Announcement, Request for Application (RFA), Broad Agency Announcement (BAA)

Contracts: Proposals submitted under specific Requests for Proposals (RFP) or Purchase Orders

Types of Proposals 

The following terms refer to particular types of proposals:

  • Pre-Proposal/White Paper: Description of research plans and estimated budget submitted to determine sponsor interest and whether a formal proposal will be requested
  • New: first submission or a revision to a first submission
  • Continuation: non-competing continuation of an active project
  • Renewal: competing continuation of an active project
  • Supplement: addition to an active project (treated essentially as a new proposal)

Proposal Solicitations 

Proposal solicitations may take many forms, below are a few common ways in which sponsors communicate funding opportunities.

  • Program Announcement: describes a funding opportunity for a topic of general interest to the sponsor. It may identify a new program or serve as a reminder of a sponsor's continuing interest in a particular program.
  • Request for Application (RFA): describes a funding opportunity for a topic of specific interest to the sponsor.
  • Request for Proposal (RFP): specifies the Scope of Work, methods to be used, timelines for the research, and products to be delivered.

Limited Submissions 

Sponsors may limit the number of proposals an institution may submit for consideration. In such instances, the office of the Vice Chancellor for Research coordinates the internal solicitation and review of these proposals: an ad hoc faculty committee reviews these proposals and the principal investigators of projects selected for submission are notified of their eligibility to prepare full proposals for submission to the sponsor.

Limited CU-Boulder Research Competitions

The Proposal Process 

To begin processing your proposal, provide a proposal analyst with specific information. Early provision of the following items will help ensure a smooth submission process:

  1. Name of the Principal Investigator(s) and Co-PI(s) and their departments
  2. Departmental administrative/Indirect cost recovery information
  3. Name of sponsoring agency
  4. Program announcement/Request for proposal
  5. Proposal deadline (date and time )
  6. Cost Share Addendum Sheet (if cost share is required)
  7. Submission instructions
  8. Budget information, including:
    1. Project title
    2. Project start and end dates
    3. Personnel and corresponding level of effort
    4. Equipment
    5. Travel
    6. Other direct costs
    7. Cost share expenses (if part of proposal)

Additional Proposal Information 

Please see the links below for further information, including more specific and detailed information about the components of and how to write and submit a proposal in A Short Guide to Proposal Preparation.