Project proposals are documents designed to
present a plan of action, outline the reasons why
the action is necessary, and convince the reader
to agree with and approve the implementation of
the actions recommended in the body of the
Pre-Proposal, Preliminary Proposal
This type of proposal is requested when a sponsor wishes to
minimize an applicant’s effort in preparing a full proposal.
Although the prescribed format of any of these proposals
will vary, all should be prepared in the same general
This type of proposal is submitted to a
sponsor that generally has not issued a
specific solicitation but is believed by the
investigator to have an interest in the
A proposal submitted to a specific program
should conform to the solicitation guidelines
issued by the agency.
Continuation or Non-Competing
This is a request for financial assistance for a
second or subsequent budget period within a
previously approved project period.
Renewal or Competing Proposals
These types of proposals are requests for
continued support for an existing project that
is about to terminate, and from the sponsor’s
viewpoint, generally have the same status as
an unsolicited proposal.
A supplemental proposal is a request for an
increase in support during a current budget
period for expansion of the project's scope or
research protocol or to meet increased
administrative costs unforeseen at the time of
the new, non-competing continuation, or
competing continuation application.
Statement of the Problem
This section should include a clear and concise
statement of the purpose or goal of the project.
A proposal should reflect the offerer's
understanding of relevant bodies of literature
and where his/her study fits in that context.
In this section, the offerer provides his/her
Hypotheses or Research Questions
Following the description of the conceptual
framework, there should be a clear, crisp
statement of the research hypotheses, or, in
the case of some qualitative studies, a
concise description of the phenomena to be
10. This section consists of a description
of plans for collecting and analyzing the
Task Structure (Scope of Work)
9. This section indicates exactly what will
be done, the sequence of the various
activities, and the products of
deliverables that will be prepared.
12. A crucial part of the plan is a creative and
effective approach to project management.
The approach should indicate who will be responsible
for each part of the work, and who will be responsible
for overall coordination.
Staff and Institutional Qualifications
13. This section includes a full discussion of the
qualifications and experience of the proposed staff.
Sometimes it is useful to include brief summaries of
the staff experience in the management plan and to
attach complete resumes for each member of the
team as appendices to the proposal.
The project budget should include clear and
reasonable estimates of the costs of each element of
the project, and there should be enough supporting
information to indicate how the estimates were
A final note about good proposals
Quality writing is critical in all good proposals.
It should be clear, concise, and free of jargon.
There should be no spelling or grammatical errors,
and the proposal should be easy to read.