Proposal Development

Getting Started

If you need assistance with identifying funding, proposal review and editing, collaborator identification, facility and resource descriptions, or other proposal development needs, please visit the Proposal Development Office.

If you want to apply to an extramural program which limits the number of applications an institution can submit, check out Proposal Development Office’s Open Limited-Submission Competitions.

Building Your Proposal

Once you’ve identified the sponsor and program, it's time to start building the proposal application.

The Principal Investigator (PI) should follow these general rules:

Budget Review: Prior review of the budget and justification has been conducted by your College Grants Officer or other college pre-award resource.

eIAF Workflow Completed:

    • Electronic IAF (Internal Approval Form) is completed and certified by all parties at least 3 business days prior to the sponsor’s deadline.
    • On-line Financial Disclosure statement is up to date.
    • Sponsor Facilities & Administration (F&A) Guidelines, if F&A costs are less than the UK full rate, are attached.

Protocol Review: When applicable, regulatory approval has been sought and is indicated on the IAF: Human Subjects, Animal Subjects, Hazardous Materials and/or Radiation Safety.

University Signature: Send the final version of the proposal application to the Office of Sponsored Projects Administration (OSPA) at least 3 business days prior to the proposal submission date. If the proposal will be submitted via or other electronic portal, you may upload the proposal to OSPA via the web.

The following checklist is a general guideline to assist you in proposal development; individual sponsors may have additional requirements:

Proposal Checklist

  • Alert your Research Administrator and College Grants Officer or other college preaward support service contact as soon as you decide to submit a proposal.
    • Send them a link to the sponsor’s program guidelines and deadline.
    • Let the Research Administrator know if the sponsor requires an online submission. Not all online proposal submission systems are immediately accessible, so early notification is key so OSPA can ensure we are set up in the sponsor's system.
  • Contact your College Grants Officer or other college preaward support service contact for assistance with developing a budget and budget justification and proposal review.
  • Verify the sponsor’s form or package is the current version.
  • Note the proposal deadline date and time, whether it’s before the close of business or if it's in a different time zone.
    • Work backwards from that date: The proposal must be received by OSPA at least three days prior to the sponsor's published deadline to ensure successful proposal review and submission.
    • Start routing your Internal Approval Form (IAF) early: it must be received by OSPA at least three days prior to the sponsor's published deadline per UK policy.
      • If the project involves more than one department or college, factor in additional time for routing as those certifications must be obtained before the IAF can be routed to OSPA.
      • If the sponsor limits F&A, include a copy of the sponsor’s F&A policy from the proposal guidelines.
      • If cost share is included in the proposal, it must be indicated on the IAF under the University column.
      • If the award will be fixed-price, attach a Fixed-Price Budget Form with Column A completed.
      • Verify that your Financial Disclosure statement was updated in March and has been updated (including reimbursed travel for PHS funded projects) during the year if circumstances warrant.
  • Work with your CGO or preaward support service contact.
    • Follow our Budget Development Guidance.
    • Follow the sponsor's guidelines regarding allowable costs.
    • Cost share or match funds should only be committed if required by the sponsor’s guidelines.
    • Budget full F&A or the maximum allowed by the nonprofit or governmental agency.
  • Follow the sponsor’s guidelines regarding page length, font and font type, bibliography, appendixes, biographical sketches/vita, and certifications.
  • Visit the Useful Proposal Information page for applicant name, address, DUNS #, and other frequently requested administrative information.
  • If the sponsor requires a paper proposal, deliver the original proposal to OSPA, Kinkead Hall for final review and signature.
  • If the proposal will be submitted via or another electronic submission portal, upload the proposal to OSPA via the web.


Are you working on a National Science Foundation proposal?
Make sure your NSF proposal includes a Postdoctoral Researcher Mentoring Plan. Read more about UK opportunities for postdoctoral career development here.


University of Kentucky | UK Research
Updated August 19, 2014 by Katie Riley | Questions/Corrections to Sean Scott