Preparing Your Proposal
OSPR is here to provide consultation and technical assistance as you prepare your proposal. We strive to provide individualized assistance—which means the manner in which we assist you throughout the process will depend upon your unique needs and prior grant-writing experience. The single most important thing you can do to make this a successful collaboration is to meet with OSPR early in the process so that we may determine an appropriate plan for assisting you. Below are some common ways in which OSPR assists in the process—please discuss these or any other needs you might have with us.
- Discussing possible funding sources and the relative fit of your project with various agencies.
- Locating and reviewing sponsor application guidelines with you, ensuring we have an understanding of what is required by the sponsor.
- Providing guidance and/or templates for the preparation of various aspects of the proposal.
- Providing samples of previously funded applications, when available.
- Developing your proposal budget with you using the KSC Internal Budget Template.
- Completing routine, administrative portions of the application, such as cover sheets, budget pages, etc.
- Providing boilerplate language regarding the institution (please make us aware of such needs so that we may develop appropriate materials if they do not yet exist).
- Reviewing drafts and providing editorial assistance, if requested. Please allow enough time for review and revision prior to submission.
- Facilitating the inclusion of required institutional letters (e.g., from OSPR, the Provost or President).
- Reviewing the final proposal and budget to ensure it meets sponsor and KSC guidelines and policies.
- Shepherding the final proposal through the internal approval process, using the KSC Proposal Routing Form (please allow one week to complete this process).
- Proposal Writing Guides
- Developing Your Budget
- Allowability of Costs: General Guidelines
- Including (or Being) a Subrecipient
- Institutional Codes
- Other Helpful links
Proposal Writing Guides
Each sponsor typically has their own requirements for proposal content and format, and it is important to adhere to those guidelines precisely. Contact OSPR for assistance in locating the guidelines for a particular sponsor. Beyond the formal guidelines, first time applicants to a sponsor often benefit from advice from others familiar with a certain agency. The below resources have been compiled to help inform your proposal writing.
- Building Relationships with Program Officers (offers strategies for making contacts and building relationships with Program Officers)
- Resources from the National Organization of Research Development Professionals (NORDP)(offers a variety of excellent information on grant preparation and writing from Bob Porter)
- Foundation Center’s Proposal Writing Short Course (particularly good for those targeting private foundations).
- Social Science Research Council’s The Art of Writing Proposals by Pzreworski, Adam and Salomon, & Frank
- Guidance for Creating Data Management Plans
American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS)
- Writing Proposals for ACLS Fellowship Competitions by Christina M. Gillis.
- The ACLS Peer Review Process by Mark W. Roche(Takes you to the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts)
National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)
- NEH Fellowship Proposal Writing Tips by Dennis P. Doordan (Takes you to the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts)
- NEH Advice on Preparing Your Grant
- How to Get a Grant from NEH
National Science Foundation (NSF)
- A Guide for Proposal Writing (Division of Undergraduate Education)
- Guidance on Writing Successful NSF “Research at Undergraduate Institutions” (RUI) Proposals (contact OSPR directly for these materials)
- Successful NSF proposals (Resources from the Science Education Resource Center at Carleton College. Includes full-PDF samples of successful proposals in a variety of NSF programs)
- Inspiring STEM Learning - A powerpoint presentation by Corby Hovis, Program Director in the Directorate for Education and Human Resources, NSF
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
- Fundamentals of the NIH by Dr. Erica Brown (offers an overview of the NIH’s structure and various grant programs offered)
- NIH Academic Research Enhancement Awards (AREA) by Dr. Erica Brown (offers detailed information about the AREA program from the program director’s perspective)
- National Institutes of Health Grant Writing Tip Sheets
- Grant Writing Seminars by Dr. Christopher Dant (offers a variety of viewable seminars on biomedical grant writing)
- OSPR maintains a file of successful NIH grant applications. Please contact us for access.
US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Developing Your Budget
Because the federal government is a primary sponsor of research and other scholarly activities of Keene State College, the cost policies of the federal government, contained in 2 CFR 200 Uniform Guidance, set the standard with regard to budgeting for all sponsored projects, regardless of sponsor type. Please work with OSPR to develop your official proposal budget to ensure adherence to:
- Specific budgeting requirements of the sponsor
- KSC policies and procedures
- Federal cost principles
OSPR will prepare your budget information in the KSC Internal Budget Template, making any adjustments as needed to accommodate specific sponsor requirements. OSPR will also translate your internal budget into any required sponsor budget forms for you.
Can I put that in my grant budget? Under federal cost principles (2 CFR 200 Uniform Guidance), in order for a cost to be charged to a sponsored agreement it must be:
- Reasonable: A “prudent person” would judge this to be a reasonable expense to this sponsored project.
- Allocable: The goods or services can be directly identified with (shown to benefit) this sponsored project.
- Consistently Treated: Costs incurred for the same purpose in like circumstances must be treated consistently (either as a Direct Cost or as a Facilities & Administrative Cost).
- Allowable: The costs are permitted for reimbursement under the terms of the award set forth by the sponsor.
Allowability of Costs: General Guidelines
Salaries, Wages, and Benefits (Faculty, Students, Staff)
Personnel costs are allowable as a direct cost to a sponsored project to the extent supported by actual effort performed on the project and approved in the award budget. Periodic effort certifications will be used to document the actual effort performed. An individual’s base salary must be used to compute the cost charged to a sponsored agreement.
Please note that faculty may not receive more than their regular annual salary as a result of participation in sponsored projects during the academic year. A faculty member on a 9-month contract may be paid summer salary (supplemental pay over and above the 9-month academic year salary) for effort contributed to a sponsored project during the 3-month summer period.
You may find a full explanation of KSC policy on budgeting for faculty/staff salaries, including the KSC Supplemental Pay Under Sponsored Agreements Policy, on the Research Compliance & Policies page.
Faculty often ask whether they can request funding from a sponsor to “buy-out” of a course, freeing-up time to focus on the work of the grant. The College deems one course to be equal to 10% of your academic year time. Therefore, you should plan to request 10% of your academic year salary (plus fringes) for a course release, commensurate with anticipated effort to be expended. Please be sure to discuss this possibility with your chair and dean.
Generally unallowable, unless specifically approved by sponsor.
Materials & Supplies
Project Supplies: Allowable so long as can be identified as “exclusively for the support of” the sponsored project.
General Office Supplies: anything that could likely be used for purposes other than the specific sponsored project are unallowable (e.g., staplers, pens, etc.). If a computer is needed specifically for a project and will be dedicated solely to the project, it is allowable.
Local Telephone (including monthly instrument charges): Unallowable
Long Distance Telephone: Allowable if specifically tied to the sponsored project.
Allowable if project requires large mailings.
Allowable if specifically benefitting the project.
Foreign Travel using federal funds: US Flag Carrier rules apply. May require sponsor prior approval.
Professional Services (Consultants)
Generally allowable. Check sponsor guidelines for details.
Subrecipient Costs A subrecipient agreement is established when programmatic effort under a sponsored agreement is to be carried out by another institution. Although most sponsors generally allow such arrangements, they need to be specified in the approved proposal. Transferring programmatic effort to another institution after the award has been issued generally requires prior approval by the sponsor.
Information adapted for use with permission from “Sponsored Research Administration: A Guide to Effective Strategies and Recommended Practices,” co-published by the National Council of University Research Administrators (NCURA) and Atlantic Information Services, Inc. (AIS), 2008.
Including (or Being) a Subrecipient
If you plan to include another institution on your proposal as a subrecipient (subcontractor/subaward), please inform OSPR early in the proposal preparation process. Sponsors typically require such arrangements to be formally stated in the proposal document. The following paperwork is therefore required from the collaborating institution’s office of sponsored projects or equivalent institutional authority prior to proposal submission:
- Letter of Intent to Collaborate signed by the collaborating institution’s authorized official (typically the Director of Sponsored Projects or equivalent). Click here for a template.
- Statement of Work detailing the role the collaborator will play, with any specific responsibilities or deliverables.
- Detailed Budget and Budget Justification (narrative).
If you or your potential collaborator has questions, please direct them to Penny Miceli, Director of OSPR.
If you have been asked to perform work on another institution’s grant proposal as a subrecipient, please work with OSPR in the same way you normally would when putting together a proposal. These “subcontracts” are handled in just the same way, and OSPR will assist you in putting together the required materials, and routing them through the KSC approval process.
|The following institutional codes are often required elements of external grant proposals|
|Facilities & Administrative (F&A) Rate||60.00% of Salary and Wages
Date of Agreement: July 14, 2016
Cognizant Agency: DHHS
|Human Subjects FWA #||
USNH Fringe Benefit Rates FY17
USNH Fringe Benefit Rates FY18
Other Helpful links
- Travel: Milne/Accent Travel agencies
- Per Diem Calculation website
- Working with OSPR
- USNH A-133 Audit Reports
Contact the Office of Sponsored Projects and Research
Please visit our staff page for a directory of contacts for various sponsored projects and research functions.