Proposal Timelines

All funders provide guidance on rules and expectations for a proposal at the agency and program level. Below is the Office of Sponsored Research's (OSR) outline of the general timeline for developing and submitting a proposal to an external sponsor.


1. Announcement. Programs are commonly announced on sponsor websites or through centralized services such as  Each signifies that a sponsor has an identified area of interest to fund. These documents provide instructions on how to compete for available funds. As soon as a program has been identified, contact OSR to schedule pre-award meeting! OSR requests notification of a potential submission no less than one month prior to the published submission deadline.

2. Key submission information. Announcements provide critical information such as submission instructions, deadlines and eligibility requirements (including collaborations and cost-share). Proposals deviating from sponsor instructions or missing deadlines are typically rejected without review.

3. Proposal development. Requires tailoring a specific project or research idea to sponsor parameters, guidance, and funding priorities. Institutional approval must be secured prior to submission. OSR should be notified of the submission deadline and level of assistance required from the office.

4. Proposal writing. PIs draft the main programmatic narrative due to their subject expertise, with support as required. The PI should address any specific questions and all the evaluative criteria identified by the program announcement.

5. Budget development. OSR is available to collaborate on budget development.

6. Compliance and other requirements. OSR can direct faculty to appropriate compliance committees such as IRB (research with human participants) or IACUC (animal welfare. OSR, on behalf of the College, will secure internal and/or external certifications and assurances, as required through the program announcement.

7. Proposal submission. OSR will submit the proposal or collaborate on the submission process, as determined in advance.

8. Post-submission. The PI should send OSR a copy of the final proposal and should obtain reviewer comments if the proposal is denied. Addressing comments and resubmitting to the same or another funder greatly increases chances of being funded.