Writing and submitting a proposal is a big job! As with any large academic project, it's a good idea to outline your plans for getting from point A to point Z before you begin writing.
When writing a proposal, your goal should be to clearly state the signifigance of the problem being addressed. You will want to present a quality solution, and to create a persuasive argument designed to convince the granting agency that you are the person who most deserves to receive their funding!
If possible, talk with a program officer in the funding agency about your idea prior to submitting your proposal. Listen carefully to his or her advice! Ask if the agency can provide you with copies of previously funded proposals. If you are not able to speak with a program officer, or don't want to do that, you should study the agency website in detail and follow their submission guidelines to the letter.
Before you begin, ask yourself the following questions:
- Will my study tell anything new?
- Is this area already heavily funded?
- Will the results make a signficant difference?
- Will the study have relevance beyond the narrow geographic area of the type of project focused on by the study?
- Does the research really answer the question addressed in the proposal?
If you answered "Yes" to all, then your purpose is clear and you are ready to write!
- Design objectives to conform to the interestsand guidelines of the funding agency. State your objectives clearly.
- Demonstrate a convincing need for the proposed activity, either by showing that it fills an important gap in existing knowledge, or that it serves the needs of a specific clientele of concern to the funding source.
- Indicate project management skills by including devices such as time lines, organizational charts, or task charts.
- Clearly describe the research or program design.
- Include preliminary results that demostrate your competence to conduct the proposed work.
- Demonstrate your competence as an investigator by having an updated curriculum vitae and good capsule-biographies of your professional staff (while keeping in mind that most agencies limit CVs to two pages).
Start early and give yourself plenty of time! Allow months, not days, to complete your proposal. Remember that you may need to wait on information from colleagues or to collect signatures or meet internal deadlines here at Oxy before you can submit your grant proposal to the funding agency, so please don't wait until the last minute. If the funding agency gives you a deadline, please keep in mind that date is the deadline to submit. However, the Grants Office will require you to have the RPAS and budget turned in at least 10 business days in advance of the submission date and the SRO must receive your proposal [release to submit] at least 24-hours in advance of the actual submission deadline.