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:
- 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.
- 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.
- Determine if the sponsor limits the number of proposals an institution can submit. If this is the case, review our information on limited submission opportunities.
- If available, sign up for email alerts related to your funding opportunity to notify you of any changes that may impact your submission.
- Contact your pre-award sponsored projects administrator (SPA) when you identify or become aware of a funding opportunity to which you would like to respond.
Develop a Competitive Proposal
Before you launch into the proposal development process, consider the following questions:
- Is a preliminary proposal required? If yes, discuss with your pre-award SPA.
- Will the scope of the project require subawards for collaborations with other organizations?
- Will your project require the purchase of equipment? If so, secure quotes for equipment purchases at the proposal stage to budget accordingly.
- Are human or animal subjects involved?
- 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.
- Does the sponsor allow full recovery of facilities and administrative (F&A) costs (also referred to as overhead or indirect costs)? If not, what allowance is made for these costs? Any difference between the university's full F&A rate and the rate allowed by the sponsor requires a commitment from the university and must be discussed with your chair, dean, and/or the Office of the Vice President for Research.
- Does the sponsor require any cost sharing of direct costs?
- Are there any potential conflicts of interest? If yes, please notify the Office of the Vice President for Research at 202-994-6255.
- 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.
- Will your project have an international component?
- Are there multiple investigators and/or multiple GW schools involved in your proposal? If yes, you will need to utilize the multi-school routing form (PDF). 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.
- Have you reviewed our budget preparation checklist?
- Did the sponsor reach out to you directly regarding the funding opportunity? If so, please contact your pre-award sponsored projects administrator to discuss further.
- Have you sought feedback from your team, collaborators and department before you begin the proposal?
- Have you identified a senior investigator, peer or Research Enhancement Unit consultant who can review your proposal before you consider it to be final?
- Have you verified all necessary compliance and regulatory requirements (including export controls, IACUC, IRB, biohazardous materials, etc.)?
- Have you prepared letters for institutional commitment in advance?