Proposal Preparation Tools
Proposal Planning Tips
Before beginning to write your proposal, it is important to take preparatory steps to arm yourself with useful information. Read "Becoming a Successful Principal Investigator" by David A. Stone to get started.
Award Databases: are useful for assessing a sponsor's funding trends, supported projects and award levels to make sure that your expectations are in line with theirs.
Collaboration Tools: VCU offers several resources for finding and working with collaborators.
Agency-specific Proposal Planning Resources
- GENIUS(Global Global Expertise Network for Industry, Universities and Scholars): Houses profiles of investigators and researchers at our institution as well as universities and research institutions throughout the world. Investigators interested in collaborating with investigators at other institutions can search for them through keywords. It also stores Curriculum Vitae (CV) information including: employment; education; courses taught; patents; publications; committee memberships; and research. Users can populate the CV bio from data stored in their GENIUS profile. Multiple CV bios can be created to reflect different areas of focus. Bio-sketch templates can be viewed, edited, or deleted at anytime. CV information captured within GENIUS can be published as a Word document, and then modified for hardcopy use. This site is limited to those with a VCU eID and password.
- STAR METRICS Portfolio Explorer: This site provides four tools that give different views of scientific portfolios. Specifically, the Expertise Locator helps locate researchers who have submitted or been awarded proposals in different topic areas. The Expertise Locator provides detailed information on their proposals, their co-PIs and their institutions.
- PRIMER: This researcher's toolkit offers information about building and maintaining collaborations for those planning multi-site projects, especially in the health sciences.
- Questions to consider for collaborative research: From Howard Gadlin, National Institutes of Health.
- National Institutes of Health
- National Science Foundation
- Advice on NSF Data Management Plan Requirement: In January 2011, NSF began requiring all proposals to include a two page (maximum) data management plan describing how the project will disseminate and share research results. Below are resources to assist you in developing that plan.
- Department of Education
Become Familiar with the Review Process. A good place to start is with Vid Mohan-Ram's series on grant reviews.
Statistical Consulting at VCU
- The Statistics and Analytics Consulting Lab (SACL) offers assistance to faculty and graduate students in study and experiment design, statistical planning for grant writing, data management, statistical analysis of data, and interpretation of results.
- Technology Services provides statistical consulting in selecting appropriate statistical analysis methods, software and/or procedures for analysis, interpretation of results, using the statistical packages available at VCU, determining sample size, and collecting and inputting data.
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Sample VCU Funded Proposals
The Office of Research has developed a Funded Grant Proposal Library for the purpose of providing investigators with examples of successfully funded research grants from VCU faculty. The library includes a broad range of research topics from various funding agencies.
Several VCU investigators have graciously agreed to share their funded grant proposals and related documents (e.g., summary statements, letters of support) as examples for others to review as they prepare their submissions.
These are confidential documents to be used by VCU personnel as examples only. Click here to access examples of funded proposals (requires VCU eID and password).
If you have any questions or comments about the Funded Grant Proposal Library, please contact Jessica Venable.
Other Sample Proposals
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Proposal Writing Guides
- A Guide to Proposal Planning and Writing: This article provides and overview of the key considerations you should make when writing to Federal and private sponsors.
- Proposal Writing Short Course: Essential information from the Foundation Center if you are planning to write a proposal to a private funder.
- On the Art of Writing Proposals: Although aimed at applicants to the Social Science Research Council, this publication offers quality advice that can be applied to any proposal.
- Tips on Writing NSF Education Proposals
- National Cancer Institute Advice for Preparing Grant Applications
- National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke How to Write a Research Project Grant Application
- The Craft of Grant Writing: Texas A&M University has developed this step-by-step guide to developing a competitive proposal. The sections relating to proposal submission do not apply to VCU.
- Developing and Writing Grant Proposals: Information from the Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance.
- Dissertation Proposal Workshop: From University of California, Berkeley, this course is especially useful for those engaged in area studies in the social sciences. Includes sample grants.
- Guide to Getting and Managing Grants: Step-by-step guide to identifying funding opportunities, writing convincing proposals, and post-award procedures from Eastern Michigan University.
- Eleven Steps for Funding Success: Grant-writing advice for graduate students.
- Evaluating Funding Opportunities: Outlines important considerations you should make when picking a funding opportunity.
- Funding and Proposal Writing for Social Science Faculty and Graduate Student Research: From University of North Carolina. The sections relating to proposal routing and submission procedures do not apply to VCU.
- Getting Your Postdoc Grant – It Takes More than Just Writing: This is a firsthand account of my experiences, impressions, and thoughts dealing with the postdoctoral grant process. By Dan McCurdy.
- GrantSAT: The Grant Proposal Self Assessment Tool (GrantSAT) is an instrument for evaluating, and hence improving, the quality of proposals. It provides a number of assessment criteria for nine different aspects of a proposal, e.g., problem statement, budget, evaluation. Each criterion is rated on a scale from one to six, and using these ratings, each aspect of the proposal is given a percentage score indicating its relative strength or weakness. Guidelines are then provided on how to interpret and act upon the results of the proposal assessment. Courtesy of Central Michigan University Office of Sponsored Research Programs.
- Grants and Grant Writing Index: Partial listing of articles on proposal writing that have appeared in Science.
- Guide to Proposal Development in the Humanities for Graduate Students: From the University of Kansas.
- The Most Common Errors Made in Research Proposals and Applications: Briefly explains why some applications fail.
- One Program Officer's Candid Tips for Grantseekers: Provides critical information for those considering approaching a foundation for support.
- Successful Grant Writing Workshop: From Simmons University, panels of researchers shared their perspectives on grant writing in the areas of Humanities, Archives and Social Sciences; Social Sciences; Sciences; and Biomedical and Health Sciences.
- Ten Commandments of Private Foundation Grant Proposals: Panelist John Hurley, associate vice president for the MacArthur Foundation, explains the benefits of applying to private organizations for research funds for an audience of graduate students, postdocs, and administrators.
- Proposal Writer's Guide: This Guide is intended for faculty and staff members with little or no experience in writing proposals for sponsored activities.
- Writing Fellowship Essays: Advice from Yale University. Includes annotated examples.
- 2002 User Friendly Handbook for Program Evaluation: NSF's basic guide for evaluating educational programs.
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Preparing Foundation Proposals
VCU's Corporate and Foundation Relations office works to secure private support for university priorities by fostering relationships with corporations, foundations and other philanthropic organizations. Housed in Central Advancement, the CFR staff works alongside schools, centers and research units on the Monroe Park Campus and the MCV Campus to identify and coordinate activities with corporations and foundations to secure support for research, academic and outreach projects. Their website includes important resources to consider as you pursue foundation funding.
Before submitting any proposal to a private sponsor, you must notify CFR staff of your intentions.
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