The CUE.

Getting Started

If you are new to grant writing, getting started might be the hardest part. If you are more experienced, you know there are lots of details to oversee. Either way, there are numerous resources and guidelines to help.

The Basics

Proposal preparation is a time and energy intensive process. Start early and be aware of internal university processes and deadlines to meet before the sponsor due date.

Some key hints:

  • Read the request for proposals early and often – read it fully, don’t skim.
  • Make checklists and timelines to keep yourself on track and productive.
  • Contact your unit RA as soon as possible to begin formulating a budget.
  • Enlist colleagues and others to review proposal drafts.
  • Don’t neglect additional proposal documents; give CVs, facilities statements, data management plans, budget narrative/justification, and other required items focused attention and intent.

Budget Approval and eRex Assistance

Budgets in pursuit of extramural funding must be institutionally approved. If your unit does not have an budget certified RA, contact Amanda Wagar. The same people will also complete the internal eRex form and submit your proposal to ORSO.

GFS Proposal Development Assistance

The Grant and Fellowship Support (GFS) team provides full-service, pre-award assistance for applications ranging from individual fellowship applications to large, complex team research proposals.

We can help you with any or all steps of project narrative development from idea to final submission. Email Becky James to discuss how we can best be of assistance. A typical hierarchy of needs includes the following elements.

Initial idea/project foundations

  • Matching funder’s priorities and objectives
  • Project feasibility
  • Project goals and activities

Proposal Context

  • Problem statement
  • Articulating PI/team identity and qualifications
  • Project impacts – disciplinary, social, global


  • Logical flow
  • Balance of parts
  • Transitions and topic sentences


  • Sentence structure and length
  • Active voice
  • Effective use of visuals

Final Polish

  • Word choice
  • Subject-verb agreement
  • Use of jargons, acronyms, etc

The earlier GFS can be involved with your proposal, the better. Depending on the complexity of the proposal and the level of assistance you’d like, up to six weeks before the due date is a good time frame for full project support. For budget certification only, one week is usually sufficient. Regardless of when you contact us, we’ll do our best and offer the time we can.