Proposal Development

Proposal development is a collaborative effort that involves cooperation among faculty colleagues and the administrative staff of the University. 

Principal Investigators (PIs) are designated by the sponsor/grantee organization to direct the project or activity being supported by the award. The PI is responsible and accountable to the grantee for the appropriate fiscal management, conduct of the research project, and reporting.

The Departmental Research Administrators (DRAs) provide assistance to PIs during proposal development by assisting with budget development and helping to ensure that proposals meet all applicable Federal regulations and University and sponsoring agency policies and procedures.

Department Chairs/Center Directors/Deans are responsible for reviewing proposed projects to verify that they are in-line with the departmental and institutional mission. Individuals in these roles review and approve PI effort, cost share commitments, and other institutional resources/commitments. They also approve the department/college portion of the internal approval forms and other documents as appropriate.

Sponsored Projects Administration (SPA) has the central responsibility for internal review and approval of proposals prior to submission. SPA functions include proposal review, budget review, official institutional signatory, letters supporting collaborative proposals, assurances, and certifications.

Proposals to Private Industry or Private Foundations - Under Development

Proposal Development Process

The following steps outline the process for developing proposal packages and securing internal approvals prior to proposal submission. 

These steps are applicable for proposals submitted in response to a sponsor solicitation (Request for Application (RFA), Program Announcement, etc.), as well as proposals that are developed without a sponsor-specified format to inform and document communications with a potential sponsor prior to entering into a formal agreement to perform a statement of work.

Step 1

Notify Research Administrators:
As soon as a funding opportunity is identified and the decision is made to apply, Principal Investigators (PIs) should contact their Departmental Research Administrator for assistance with development and submission.

If the Sponsor is from a Foundation/Corporation, the PI/DRA must contact their Development Office to get clearance to proceed with the proposal.

The PI or DRA must email SPA ( with the following information:
  • PI's name
  • Funding agency/sponsor (please include name of primary applicant organization if PSU is not the lead institution for a proposal)
  • Proposal submission deadline
  • Electronic copy of sponsor's Request for Proposals (RFP) or link to agency's Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) - Limited Submissions
SPA must receive notification at least five (5) working days prior to the proposal due date.   

Step 2

Develop Proposal Components:
The approach and timeline for proposal development varies depending upon the type of submission and requirements of sponsors.

guidance for proposal development.

Step 3

Secure Approvals:
An application (formal or informal) for external funding in the form of a grant or agreement (not gifts or external sales) to support research or other scholarly activities must be reviewed and approved by department chairs and deans, center directors or other appropriate department heads then submitted to Sponsored Projects Administration (SPA) for review and final institutional approval before it is submitted to the sponsor.  

A completed and signed Proposal Internal Approval Form (PIAF) must be delivered to SPA before a proposal will be submitted.

For proposals with other universities or community partners, a Subrecipient Proposal Assurance Form is required before a proposal will be submitted.