Developing and Submitting Proposals


Faculty and staff members who plan to request, or anticipate receiving funding, equipment, materials, and supplies, or any other form of support from an external organization or institution, should check with our team to determine if institutional approval is needed. This applies to all formal proposals, as well as preliminary proposals, email submission letters, pre-proposals and/or letters of intent, if required by the Sponsor. Working with Research and Sponsored Programs prior to proposing or submitting proposals will ensure that potential problems are resolved in advance, the application packages meets the requirements specified by the Sponsor and result in a shorter, smoother turn-around and implementation of the research project.

Please note: If the submission is via an online system (i.e., Fastlane,, SPIRES, SAGE, etc.) other than RAPSS, then it is the PI’s responsibility to upload all necessary documents and complete all required fields at the respective Sponsor’s portal AND give access to our team for review and submission.

Grant Specialist Services

Please contact the Grants Specialist assigned to your unit as soon as the decision to submit a proposal has been made by created a Funding Proposal in RAPSS. Important information, such as the agency name, opportunity name and/or number and the submission due date must be entered, as well as the actual announcement for easy reference. Read the guidelines, funding announcement, or request of proposal very carefully to ensure that the application package is prepared in accordance with the applicable requirements and regulations. Every announcement may be different, even if it issued by the same agency / sponsor.

Grant Specialists provide a variety of services, including:

  1. Comprehensive review of:
    • Sponsor submission requirements
    • Sponsor Program Announcements/Requests for Proposals and Letters of Intent
    • Non-Science portions of the proposal
    • Budget and Budget Justification
    • Cost Share inclusion (if applicable)
    • Rutgers Institutional documents (as applicable)
    • Final application package prior to submission
  2. Submission of applications
  3. Additional pre-award information as requested by the Sponsor
  4. Review and negotiations for certain type of agreements
  5. Initiation of Award Set Up process in RAPSS
  6. Review and Submission of Post-Award Non-Financials:
    • Just in Time information
    • Carryover requests
    • Progress Reports
    • No Cost Extensions
    • Award Transfers
    • Official correspondence with sponsors

Proposal Elements

Most proposals contain similar, if not the same, types of elements:

  • Abstract
    • Concise statement of the general scope of work
    • Usually limited to 1 paragraph
  • Project Narrative / Scope of Work / Research Strategy (full science)
    • Complete & self-contained (no URLs)
    • Page limits provided by sponsor guidelines
    • Discusses the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses of the proposed research
  • Bibliography & References Cited
  • Biographical Sketches
  • Current & Pending Research Support
  • Facilities & Other Resources
    • Description of space and unpaid personnel
    • Includes items already available, not new
    • Description of how the scientific environment in which the research will be done contributes to the probability of success (e.g., institutional support, physical resources, and intellectual rapport)
  • Equipment
    • Listing of major items of equipment already available for the project and, if appropriate, identification of the equipment's location and pertinent capabilities
  • Budget
  • Budget Justification
  • Other, as requested by the announcement / solicitation

Proposal Prep & Submission Process Flowchart

Please refer to Roles and Responsibilities Matrix for the identification of who is responsible for what during proposal preparation and submission. See Proposal Preparation and Submission Process Flow Chart presented below for the related steps.

RSP Proposal Process Flow Chart