Proposal Preparation and Submission
These are the steps involved in preparing
a grant proposal.
- Find Grant Opportunities
Finding a funding source to support your research
ideas is your first step in preparing a grant
proposal. The Funding Opportunities tab of
this website offers a wealth of information.
- Read Funding Opportunity Guidelines
Read guidelines to ensure eligibility and that you meet the agency requirements.
- Contact Office of Research Administration
Contact the Office of Research Administration
at (212) 772-4020, for guidance with budget
and submission process. The Office of
Research Administration will help you determine how much
lead time is needed.
The Office of Research Administration strongly
advises that a PI be prepared to submit a proposal
a minimum of two weeks before the actual deadline
so that the submission can be scheduled. That
will allow the needed time to deal with error
messages from Grants.gov and/or the funding
source’s proposal processing system. Many deadlines at different
agencies coincide. All proposals must go through
the Office of Research Administration, and the
staff wants to be able to provide the needed
attention to each proposal, without the logistical
problem of too many people leaving submission to
the same late afternoon.
- Contact Department Chair and Dean
Sign-off is required by both Department Chair
and Dean on the Research
proposal routing form.
Some externally-funded projects require additional
space, modification of space, or matching funds.
There may be limitations on the number of
proposals that can be submitted by Hunter College
or the City University of New York. Released time
must also be approved. Such hurdles should
be cleared before the proposal writer invests too
much time in the development of the grant
- Writing A Proposal
Proposal writing is the crux of the process.
Writing assistance and tips are listed below:
Depending on the size
of the proposal, you may have more than one
person writing the proposal. The more people
that engage in writing the proposal, the more
different writing styles are going to be in the
final draft. It is less jolting to the
reviewers if the style does not vary from
section to section.
preferably not connected to your field, to read
your proposal. That person must be honest with
you. If that person has questions or
criticisms, so will a reviewer. Remember not to
over-use the jargon of your field of study, as
some of the reviewers may not be as familiar
with your field as you might think.
Don’t make claims that
you cannot substantiate. Remember that besides
review of your printed proposal, there could be
a site visit.
Have a final editor.
You want perfect grammar. You want consistency
between the project description and the budget.
For example, if in the review of the budget, you
determine you must change the number of students
or the number of trips, you must make sure this
is also reflected in the project description. A
single change might require a revision in the
project description, a budget modification, the
addition or deletion of a CV, etc.
Don’t dress up
the proposal too much and don't use too many
adjectives. Many readers are given a
large number of proposals to review – they are
looking for substance in the proposal.
They will decide whether your project has the
potential for achieving great things.
- Submit Grant
Many grants are now being submitted
federal grant applications now must be submitted
through Grants.gov, which itself is going through
a software transition, resulting in periods of
time when it is not accessible. The Grants.gov
portal will bounce back with error messages any
submission that does not meet certain criteria.
There is a limited window for dealing with the
error messages. Failure to correct the errors
will result in the proposal not being accepted for
Even after clearing the
Grants.gov portal, an electronic proposal then
goes to the funding source’s own electronic system
(such as Fastlane at NSF or ERA Commons at NIH).
At that time, there may be additional error
messages and warnings, to which the applicant has
two weekdays to respond, and which requires Hunter
to pull back the application, make the needed
changes, and re-submit through Grants.gov. The
proposal submission process is not complete until
there are no error messages at the agency’s
Please see the Grants.gov
link for further information.
Hunter College Office of Research Administration