Quick Guide for Principal Investigators Submitting a Proposal

A basic grant proposal consists of the Project Description (or Scope of Work or Narrative) and the Budget, along with a Budget Justification, the purpose of which is to quantify and explain the costs of everything you will need in order to complete the aims of the Project as proposed. Put another way, the Budget serves as the fiscal expression of the Project, and the Justification provides the basis for your calculations. In addition to the Project Description, Budget, and Justification, there will probably be other sponsor-specific documents that you will find listed in the Program Announcement, Solicitation or Request for Proposals (RFP) to which you are responding. It is important to read the Announcement closely and to refer to it as you are preparing your proposal. The Sponsored Programs Office will assist you in determining what is required for your particular submission and which documents need to be routed for approvals. They will also provide guidance in the preparation of the required documents.

  1. Draft your Project Description and prepare the Budget utilizing the HWS internal budget template.
  2. Download and complete the Grant Proposal Authorization Form (PAF). If you are applying for a Fellowship, use the Fellowship Authorization Form (FAF) instead.
  3. The Sponsored Programs staff will answer any questions you have about the PAF/FAF and associated proposal documents. You may want to review Tips for Viewing and Using Fillable PDFs if you encounter problems with the form.
  4. If you have not already done so, contact Sponsored Programs (OSP)
    • to advise them of your intention to submit a proposal,
    • to discuss preparation of all the elements of your proposal,
    • to formulate a timeline for obtaining approvals, and
    • to clarify the mechanism for submittal. Sponsored Programs staff can help you anticipate and address both institutional and sponsor requirements.

Reaching out to OSP early (several months in advance is not unusual) will help ensure that your proposal has the greatest possibility of success.

When you are ready, initiate the routing and approval process by uploading the completed PAF and associated documents to the Online Proposal Routing & Approval system (OPRA).

  • OPRA assembles the documents into a proposal and notifies your Chair that the proposal is awaiting review and approval.
  • Once departmental approval is in place, authorized personnel from Human Resources and Information Technology Services are notified and can simultaneously review and comment on the proposal by logging into the OPRA system.
  • Once HR and IT have approved, the Provost is notified that the proposal is ready for final review and approval.
  • Following Provost approval, the Authorized Institutional Official in Sponsored Programs (usually the Director) is notified and will submit the proposal to the sponsor, unless another method of submission has been previously agreed upon.
  • Keep in touch with Sponsored Programs regarding the status of your submission.

Please note that a minimum of two weeks is required in order to complete internal review and approvals of materials on OPRA, so plan to have your budget, justification, and project description documents uploaded to OPRA at least 10 business days before the proposal is due. For complex projects, projects with subawards, and projects that involve collaborations with personnel at other institutions, additional lead time should be included. Typically, a multi-institutional proposal should be under discussion months in advance.

If your proposal is successful and results in an award, Sponsored Programs will review and accept the agreement on behalf of the institution. Once the award is finalized, Sponsored Programs staff will initiate the setup of the grant account in the Business Office. Then your funded project can begin!

For a detailed description of the roles of the Principal Investigator, the Sponsored Programs Office, the Business Office and the Provost with regard to pre- and post-award grants activity, please refer to Roles & Responsibilities for Sponsored Projects and Grants.