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Procedure Library

Sponsored Projects

Submit a Proposal Overview


High-level description of the sponsored project proposal process, from concept to submission.


Principal Investigators (PIs) and departmental administrators preparing sponsored project proposals for grants and contracts, except those funded by for-profit companies. For information about industry-sponsored proposals, contact the Industry Contracts team.

For additional information and detail about proposal development and submission, go to the Grant Life Cycle. Contact your Sponsored Projects Officer (SPO) with questions regarding specific proposals. Search the directory for the SPO assigned to your department.


  1. Principal Investigator (PI) finds funding opportunity.
  2. PI identifies project team (co-investigator, subrecipients, consultants).
    1. Federal research agencies have policies and procedures to allow more than one co-equal PI on research projects that require a "team science" approach. Each proposed PI must have an appropriate level of authority and responsibility to direct the project or program supported by the grant. The presence of more than one identified PD/PI on an application or award diminishes neither the responsibility nor accountability of any individual PD/PI.
  3. Read the sponsor instruction for proposal preparation, including format and required information, page limitations, review criteria, and evaluation priorities. See more at Review the Solicitation.
  4. Review eligibility requirements for the PI in the sponsor's funding opportunity. Review eligibility requirements for the PI in the University's rule on Principal Investigator Eligibility.
  5. Prepare a pre-proposal if required by the sponsor.
  6. Prepare proposal
    1. PI and collaborators write programmatic and technical information
    2. PI works with administrator to develop proposal budget.
      1. Review sponsor instructions for budget requirements and restrictions.
    3. If the proposal involves subrecipients, PI and administrator obtain budget and other information (such as biosketches for subrecipient personnel). See Include Subrecipients in a Proposal Budget.
    4. PI and administrator gather other required proposal documents such as letters of commitment from consultants, letters of support and biosketches).
  7. Prepare a Document Summary Sheet (DSS) in eProposal for the proposal and submit for approval.
    1. Submit for approval well before the sponsor's submission deadline. All proposals should be submitted to OSP at least 5 business days prior to the sponsor deadline for review and validation. See Understand Submission Processes.
  8. After submission and approval by the PI's, the proposal is approved by the department, unit head, and (in some cases) OSP and the VPR.
    1. Each department has an eProposal Administrator who controls the approval chain. See the Reporting Roles Procedure.
  9. OSP reviews proposals for compliance with proposal, budget and electronic submission requirements.
  10. OSP provides certifications and authorized institutional signatures.
  11. OSP submits or approvals electronic proposal submission to sponsors, via Cayuse 424/, NSF Fastlane, NASA NSPIRES, or other sponsor system. See Electronic Submission & Registration.
  12. PI or department administrator submits paper copy proposals to sponsors, if required, after approval by OSP.

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Last Updated: 12/1/22