Guidelines and Tips

The following tips for success will help you choose the right funding opportunity and develop a competitive proposal.

Evaluate the Funding Opportunity

Once you have identified a potential funding opportunity:

  1. Confirm that the opportunity is really a sponsored project. GW's Categorization of External Funding policy identifies the criteria for sponsored project agreements as compared with gifts or vendor contracts.
  2. Take note of the sponsor's deadline. Don’t forget to factor-in the five-day submission deadline and the routing and review of your proposal packet prior to submission.
  3. Determine if the sponsor limits the number of proposals to be submitted from one institution or the number of awards made to one institution. If this is the case, review our information on limited submission opportunities.
  4. If available, sign up for email alerts related to your funding opportunity to notify you of any changes that may impact your submission.
  5. Contact your research administration pod when you identify or become aware of a funding opportunity to which you would like to respond.

Developing a Proposal

Before you launch into the proposal development process, consider the following questions:


Is this the right team to handle my request?

GW requests Supplemental
The Sponsor wants to add
additional SOW and extend
the performance period
GW is submitting a Task
Order/SOW proposal under a
Master Agreement
  • The requests are considered competing applications as the funder must review all proposals and decide on funding.
  • A complete proposal package is required and must be routed in myResearch.


  1. Is this a competing application? If yes, work with your research administration pod to create and route a myResearch funding proposal to the pre-award team. If no, a non-competing request for an existing award should be routed to the award management team as an award modification
  2. Is a preliminary proposal required? If yes, discuss with your research administration pod
  3. Will the scope of the project require subawards for collaborations with other organizations?
  4. Will your project require the purchase of equipment? If so, secure quotes for equipment purchases at the proposal stage to budget accordingly.
  5. Are human or animal subjects involved?
  6. Are your current facilities and space appropriate and sufficient to conduct your project? If not, discuss your needs with your department chair and/or dean early in the process. It may be possible to include a request for funds to provide the necessary facilities or space in the proposal.
  7. Does the sponsor have a published policy? Please consult GW’s guidance on F&A.
  8. Does the sponsor require any cost sharing of direct costs?
  9. Are there any potential conflicts of interest? If yes, please notify the Office of the Vice Provost for Research at 202-994-6255.
  10. Does the sponsor require a Data Management Plan (DMP)? Will the project be receiving, sending and/or storing data that may be classified as restricted or regulated? If so, the GW Libraries serve as an excellent resource for assessing needs, discussing best practices and developing a DMP that will best fit your project.
  11. Will your project have an international component?
  12. Are there multiple investigators and/or multiple GW schools involved in your proposal? If yes, you will need to work with collaborating school to complete your respective sections of the proposal. For collaborative proposals, the lead PI must consider additional budget costs for each collaborator. GW also offers a number of resources, including support from our Research Enhancement Unit, to assist with developing collaborative proposals.
  13. Have you reviewed our budget preparation checklist?
  14. Did the sponsor reach out to you directly regarding the funding opportunity? If so, please contact your research administration pod to discuss further.
  15. Have you sought feedback from your team, collaborators and department before you begin the proposal?
  16. Have you identified a senior investigator, peer or Research Enhancement Unit consultant who can review your proposal before you consider it to be final?
  17. Have you verified all necessary compliance and regulatory requirements (including export controls, IACUC, IRB, biohazardous materials, etc.)?
  18. Have you prepared letters for institutional commitment in advance?
  19. Does the request for proposal include a requirement for disclosure of any organizational conflict of interest? Please follow the GW Procedures on Organizational Conflict of Interest (OCI) (PDF).

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