Staff in the Office of Sponsored Programs can assist you in a number of ways as you develop a competitive extramural proposal. They can assist you with the process of proposal development, agency interests and priorities, and UW-Platteville's institutional procedures for proposal submission. They are also familiar with agency procedures and requirements and can match the project with the sources that are most likely to fund it. Obviously, not every proposal is funded the first time. As a matter of fact the probabilities of successful funding tend to double with resubmissions. Certain agencies expect to see proposals, especially from new investigators, three or four times before they are actually funded. Many successful proposals are funded after multiple submissions. Proposal revisions and resubmission, therefore, are to be expected. The results of proposal reviews are either provided automatically by the agency or can be requested by the principal investigator.
The format for proposals, which are not prepared on funding agency forms or in a format prescribed by the prospective agency, may be completed as given below. Check with the Office of Sponsored Programs for specific agency requirements.
Name and address of funding agency
Name of the organization
Name of the university
Title of the Project
Amount of request-for multi-year proposals it is helpful to show the total request and the amount for the first year.
Name of the principal investigator or project director
Signatures of authorizing official(s)
The title of the proposal is very important. It should be descriptive, short and easy to remember.
While an abstract or summary is not required by all funding agencies, it is a highly effective means of presenting a project to a reviewer or review board. Typically, an abstract is no longer than 200-250 words. It is brief, summarizes the objectives, significance of the problem, procedures to be followed and the plans of evaluating the results. Unless specifically requested, facts given on the title page need not be repeated in the abstract.
If extensive introductory remarks are appropriate to "set the stage" for the specific proposal, devote a separate section to them. However, if the introduction is brief, it should be included in an introductory paragraph of the next section.
The description of the proposed project is an expansion of the abstract. It is a full and detailed explanation of the PI's proposed research plan and should include a detailed description of the work to be undertaken, it's relevance to the present state of knowledge in the field and to comparable work in progress, and a justification of the need for the research. This section should also include clearly stated objectives, goals and methodology.
If present facilties and equipment are used, they should be described and emphasized. If additional facilities and equipment are needed and requested in the proposal, they should also be described in detail and UW-Platteville's expected contribution should be indicated. Financial information should be noted in this section and detailed in the budget narrative.
Permanent equipment is defined an non-expendable, tangible equipment costing $1,000 or more per unit and a useful life of two years or more. The cost of shipping, installation and fabrication should be included. Whenever possible, the PI should specify the name, model number and manufacturer of the equipment.
Permanent equipment is defined in two categories-special purpose and general purpose. Equipment purchased on grants or contracts is generally designated special purpose because it is necessary for the research and is not, generally, available within or of general use to the university, i.e. lab equipment or testing apparatus. Justification for this request must be provided in the budget and the budget narrative.
General purpose equipment includes items like office furniture, typewriters, computers, etc. The purchase of general purpose equipment is allowed by some federal agencies when it is primarily or exclusively used in the conduct of the business or supported research. Generally, title to equipment purchased with grant funds remains with the university. However, specific conditions in each grant will govern.
Equipment costing less than $1,000 should be listed under expendable equipment and supplies. These articles should be itemized in the budget. For example, laboratory supplies, office supplies, chemicals, glassware, and software should be included in this category.
Brief biographical sketches, including bibliographies, of the principal investigator/project director and senior professional personnel should be included in the proposal. If support personnel and students are known, they may be listed in the proposal. If support personnel are not known, a position description with appropriate classification(s) and title(s) should be given. Naming a person in the grant application does not commit the institution to hire him/her and does not satisfy the requirement of open recruitment. Some of the following categories of personnel may be needed.
- Program Director-principal investigator, co-principal investigator, or project director
- Faculty-professor, associate professor, assistant professor, lecturers and academic staff (instructional and administrative)
- Employees-in-Training-research associates, research and project assistants (undergraduate or graduate students)
- Academic Staff- scientists, managers, specialists, and technicians
- Classified Staff- clerical, physical plant, and maintenance staff
- Student hourly- graduate and undergraduate students
Cost of preparing and publishing the results of the research conducted with grant funds, including the cost of the final report, per page duplication charges, journal costs, and illustrations should be indicated in the proposal budget. Normally such costs do not include support of book or monograph publications.
Distinguish between type, research or meeting, and category, domestic or international travel, since different types of approval may be required. Within each category list the name of the traveler, destination and reason for the trip; round-trip mileage and/or coach airfare; number of days and per diem or actual living expenses; other expenses such as ground transportation and conference registration fees.
The purpose of each trip should be discussed in the proposal. Expenditures for travel should be budgeted in accordance with the university and the state of Wisconsin travel regulations.
If international travel is anticipated, the proposal should give relevant information and justification. It is preferable to include this in the original proposal and budget the expenditures in accordance with per diem rates established by the federal government. If provisions for foreign travel were not included in the original proposal, approval must be obtained from either the funding agency or the university (as appropriate) prior to the commitment of funds.
Training grants may provide for payment of tuition, segregated fees and/or institutional allowances for trainees. When such provisions exist, they must be fully documented in the proposal. Also, when budgets are prepared, be sure to allow for anticipated increases.
Consultants must be identified by name (if known) and/or by their speciality, the number of person-days of consulting, and their daily rate. Federal funding agencies ask that PI's hire consultants only when the services are necessary and cannot be provided by salaries to current employees on the project. PI's should engage in an objective selection process designed to secure the most qualified individual. And, PI's should assure that these persons provide a "necessary and unique contribution" to the project.
Eligibility of individuals holding local, state, or federal positions to serve as paid consultants must be determined in advance. Employees within the UW System or of a federal agency cannot serve as paid consultants unless they are on leave status.
Where the costs of consultants are borne in whole or in part as direct costs on federal projects, an invoice from the consultant must document the consultation. Any of the following information not shown on the invoice must be shown in a memorandum or other document, including handwritten notations on the invoice, signed by an authorized official and retained in the file: the name of the consulting firm or individual; social security number and home address; the nature of the services rendered and their relevance to the grant; the period of service; basis for calculating the fee, i.e. rate per day, hours worked or rate per unit of service rendered; amount paid.
Subcontracts should appear as a line item in the proposal budget with reference to the attached subcontractor's formal, detailed budget. PI's should document the reasons for choosing a particular subcontractor. The first $25,000 of each subcontract is subject to UW-Platteville's indirect cost.
Expenditures necessary for construction, remodeling or rental of space and facilities should be explained in detail. The basis for this entry will be the estimates you receive from the university's director of space and management. If the university approves off-campus rental facilities, the budget should include rent, utilitites, custodial care and other costs, which may be incurred.