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Proposal and Budget Development

Sponsored Projects can assist with all aspects of proposal and budget development. The three most critical components of proposal development are (1) concept development; (2) funding source identification; and (3) matching the concept with the funding source.


Concept Development

A clear, well defined concept provides structure for all subsequent components of the proposal development process. A concept that is clearly tied to current literature in the field, can be accomplished given appropriate resources, and is within the expertise of the grant-seeker is critical.


Funding Source Identification

There are numerous sources for WOU faculty and staff seeking extramural funding. These include:


Further information about each of these sources can be located on the Funding Opportunities blog or by contacting Sponsored Projects.


Aligning concept with funding source

The most critical aspect of proposal development is to be sure that the concept matches the requirements of the funding source. Most funding sponsors provide detailed information about the type and content of proposals they are willing to consider.


Proposal writing includes attention to technical requirements. The text must be in a clear type face and conform to agency-imposed specifications on format (size of font, width of margins, number of pages, etc.). Many grantors indicate precisely the criteria they will use to evaluate a grant proposal.  These criteria may be used as section headings or topic sentences.


When no specific guidelines are available (e.g., for many foundations), it can be useful to think in terms of the information that the sponsor would need to have about WOU, discipline, project, and principal investigator in order to make an informed funding decision. This material should include basic facts about the size and nature of the University and its scholarly resources (libraries, laboratories, etc.), as well as information about the proposed project that places it within the theories and practices of its larger discipline.


The description of the proposed work (a work plan, statement of work, or project narrative) must be written in sufficient detail to allow reviewers to determine what the project hopes to accomplish, if project personnel have the necessary expertise to accomplish the goals and objectives, if the budget is reasonable, if the timeline is adequate, and whether evaluation and dissemination plans are sufficient. The project description should include a plan of work and methodology as well as a discussion of a relationship of the proposed project to the scholar's immediate and long-range study or research objectives. Where appropriate, refer to preliminary work on the project, and intended publication or other dissemination of the findings. In short, make it as easy as possible for a reviewer to defend your proposal at the meeting of a panel or foundation board.


When available, specific sponsor guidelines for content and format should be followed.

However, the questions below can serve as a checklist in drafting the proposal narrative.


____ Is the problem clearly defined and the need for support of the project justified?


____ Are the objectives clear and measurable?


____ Is the significance of the expected outcomes explained?


____ Are the methodologies sufficient and appropriate for accomplishing the work?


____ Is the proposed scope of work reasonable for the timetable presented?


____ Are the qualifications of the project personnel adequate?


____ Are the institutional resources adequate and available?


____ Does the evaluation plan measure the accomplishments of the objectives in clear, concise terms?


____ Does the budget reflect the proposed work? And are costs reasonable?


____ Does the project involve any compliance issues (e.g., human subjects, animal care, conflict of interest)? If so, have they been properly addressed?


____ Are the post-award plans detailed, including dissemination of the findings?



See Resources Page to get information and resources for developing your proposal, budget, and evaluation, as well as grantor specific proposal guides.


Contact Sponsored Research Office for further assistance (503-838-8589,


Sponsored Research Office (503) 838-8589 | or e-mail: