Frequently Asked Questions

 I’m staring at a blank computer screen, and it’s staring back at me. How do I get started writing my proposal?

 Check out our Tips and Advice.

 My project is really complicated, and I’m having trouble keeping my proposal within the sponsor’s page limit. Can I use a smaller type size (smaller margins, a few extra lines, closer spacing) to make everything fit?

 Not unless you want to risk having the sponsor reject your proposal without even reading it! Use exactly the format they request. If you need help condensing your proposal, let Ali Lombardo know.

 What’s the most important thing to include in my proposal? The least important?

 It depends on what the sponsor is looking for. Read the guidelines and consider how they apply to the project you’re proposing. Tell theme everything they want to know, and leave out anything that isn’t germane. Our Tips and Advice page offer hints for general areas or scholarship and some specific purposes.

 Can I use the same NIH (NSF, NEH, etc.) forms I used last year for this year’s proposal?

Perhaps, but we strongly recommend that you don’t! Sponsors constantly update their programs, and forms often change with these updates. If you use the wrong forms, your proposal may be returned without review. To be 100% certain you’re using the right forms for the current funding opportunity, download the latest version from the sponsor’s website.

What is the process for submitting a proposal?

 Before your proposal can be submitted, the Director of Sponsored Research and Foundation Relations, as well as the Assistant Controller, must confirm that it is complete, meets the funding agency’s requirements, is compliant with all applicable regulations, and that all individuals and offices at the college (as well as any external collaborators) who would be responsible for enabling your project to move forward are aware of and have agreed to the necessary commitments.

The Director of Sponsored Research and Foundation Relations and the Assistant Controller do not simply check outgoing proposals for compliance. To whatever extent possible, we want to help you maximize your chances of winning the grant funds you seek. Therefore, we want to be able to give your proposal all the attention it needs and deserves. Sometimes, this may require balancing several proposals that are due on or about the same time.

 Can I submit my proposal electronically myself?

Most proposals to the Federal government agencies and private foundations must be submitted on your behalf by an “Authorized Organizational Representative” (AOR) of The College of Wooster. For most purposes, the Provost and the Dean for Faculty Development have AOR status and can submit your proposal on your behalf. At the time of your submission, you will be required to fill out a proposal transmittal form, which is signed by your department chair, the Controller, the Vice President for Business and Finance, the Dean for Faculty Development, and the Provost. 

Even if a funding source allows you to submit your application directly, you are required to have your proposal reviewed by the Director of Sponsored Research and Foundation Relations and the Assistant Controller. In addition, you are required to fill out a proposal transmittal form.

When is the latest I can get my proposal to you?

We strongly recommend that you be prepared to provide complete, final versions of all required proposal sections to the Director of Sponsored Research and Foundation Relations and the Assistant Controller at least 5 business days before the proposal deadline. (However, we will work with you on last minute requests should that be necessary.) Depending on the funding source, this may include (but is not limited to): abstracts, research narratives or project descriptions, budgets, budget justifications, CVs or biographical sketches for the Principal Investigator (PI) and all Co-Pis or Senior Personnel, required or recommended letters of support, and required supplementary documents. Such documents must be compliant with all formatting restrictions specified by the funding agency.

 How do I provide the proposal to you?

 If you are certain that a document is absolutely final, and cannot or must not be changed any further, then we request that provide it as an Adobe PDF file. Most electronic proposal submission systems require conversion of proposal sections to PDF files. Any document that may require last-minute changes upon review by the Director of Sponsored Research and Foundation Relations should be submitted as a Microsoft Word file. First drafts of budgets should be submitted to the Assistant Controller as Excel spreadsheets. You may either e-mail your files to the Director of Sponsored Research and Foundation Relations or Assistant Controller, or make an appointment to meet with one of us.

 Will I be notified when my proposal is submitted?

Yes. The Dean for Faculty Development will notify you once the proposal transmittal form has been signed and will send you an email upon submission of the proposal to the agency or foundation.