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Proposal Submission Best Practices

Considering a proposal submission through your center?

Please review the best practice guidelines below:

  1. Determine whether the proposal should run through a URIC or your home department by reviewing the general guidelines.
  1. If a proposal will run through the URIC, find your URIC’s dedicated Research Administrator (RA).
  1. Contact your RA a minimum 3 weeks before the proposal is due – even before the specifics of the proposal have been defined! The earlier your RA is notified, the greater the support and guidance you will receive throughout the pre-award process to ensure a thorough and timely submission.
  1. Faculty PIs – not URIC business or research administrators – should communicate directly with their RA throughout the pre-award process. URIC BAs and RAs can provide substantial support by ensuring the faculty PI has provided timely review for all Administrative portions.
  1. Send your RA the following documentation:
  • Sponsor Solicitation
  • Anticipated project title
  • Anticipated project period start and end dates
  • Senior personnel
  • Target submission date

Avoid any delays in providing this information to your RA!

  1. Rely on OSR’s Admin Proposal Review to stay on track with documentation required for the Admin review.
  1. Discuss any cost share commitments with your RA.
  1. Stay in communication with your RA throughout any pre-award budget revisions.
  1. Complete thorough review of all Administrative portions including, but not limited to, the Budget (including all budget items), Budget Justification, Biosketch, and Current and Pending to ensure accuracy before proposal submission.
  1. Before submitting a proposal to a foundation, please check the Office of Foundation Relations Restricted Foundations list to ensure there are no restrictions associated with the foundation of interest. If the foundation of interest is restricted, please contact the Office of Foundation Relations.

Additional assistance provided by your RA:

  • Determining a gift versus a grant, including review of Terms and Conditions to determine set-up
  • Updating Current and Pending document for proposal PI
  • Connecting with other senior project personnel and departmental RAs to request necessary documents for proposal, such as biosketches
  • Communication and submission of proposal pieces to lead institution/sponsor for subaward proposals as applicable
  • Facilitate PI eligibility requests and approval process
  • Curating proposal and proposal documents in Northwestern’s CERES system and sponsor submission portals, such as NSF FastLane and NASA NSPIRES
  • Helping faculty determine if letters of intent, preliminary proposals, and other preliminary documentation requested by a potential sponsor require OSR involvement and/or approval