Proposal Development

Key Components of a Proposal

1. Update on Proposal Deadlines

All proposals for external research funding by Main Campus faculty must be reviewed by the Grants and Contracts team of the Office of Research Services (ORS) prior to submission. To ensure comprehensive and high quality reviews, all proposal documents must be submitted in a timely fashion.

In particular faculty should comply with the following deadlines:

  • FIVE DAY RULE: all administrative components, including budgets, must be submitted at least five business days prior to the sponsor’s submission deadline; and
  • THREE DAY RULE: all technical/scientific components must be submitted at least three business days prior to the sponsor’s submission deadline.

Proposals that do not comply with these deadlines will be reviewed to the extent possible, but quality assurance and compliance with university and sponsor requirements cannot be guaranteed.

Please visit Main Campus Research Proposal Steps and Deadlines for additional information.

2. Proposal Routing

All proposals are required to be routed in GU-PASS for institutional review and approval prior to the sponsor’s deadline. All faculty and staff can access GU-PASS “anytime-anywhere” by using their GU Net IDs and passwords and GU-supported browsers (Firefox, Chrome, and Internet Explorer). For FAQ for GU Pass please go here. Please contact your Cluster Research Administrator (CRA) as your first point of contact for initiating a proposal. If you do not have a CRA please contact ORS at

To facilitate the navigation on GU Pass we have created this GU Pass Job Aid. If you have never submitted a proposal in GU Pass please contact the GU Pass team ( to create an account before submitting a proposal

3. Proposal Components

The proposal format depends on the requirements of the sponsor. Most sponsors have policies and procedures for submission of proposals and might require the use of specific application forms. Other sponsors are less directive. In any case, PIs should obtain most recent versions of guidelines and should follow the required proposal format. Proposals generally include the following components:

Abstract or Proposal SummaryOutlines the proposed research, including objectives, methodology, and significance of the research.
Proposal Narrative or Research PlanProvides a full and detailed explanation of the proposed research, typically including a project timetable. It should include general background information regarding how the project relates to previous and current research.
CV/Biographical SketchShould be submitted for all key personnel, indicating background, professional interests, research capabilities and publications.
ReferencesList all references cited in the proposal
Budget and Budget JustificationIncludes a reasonable estimate of the financial support required to conduct the project, including justification of budget expenses. Consult Rates, Facts & Figures

For additional details for Budget development go here
Facilities and ResourcesDescribes equipment or other relevant resources that will be available for use on the project. Examples of such resources include laboratory and office spaces, library resources, animal facilities, and computer services or equipment.
EquipmentDescribes equipment that will be available for use on the project.
Data Management PlanFor guidance from Georgetown Library on development a Data Management Plan, please see here. If applicable as per sponsor guidance this plan includes: Types of data, samples, physical collections, software, curriculum materials, and other materials to be produced in the course of the project.
Letters of SupportLetters of support from non-university investigation may also be required (See below Sample letters under Proposal Resources).
Current & Pending/Other SupportThis is a compilation of the current funding and time commitments for the Principal Investigator (PI) and any other key project personnel.

4. Proposal Resources

Sample letters

  • When Georgetown University is a subrecipient, and if a Letter of Intent (LOI) template is needed, then please choose from one of the two LOI templates below, but not both: GU LOI_Letter or GU LOI_Form. 
  • When Georgetown University  has a subrecipient (outgoing subaward) on a project, please use the following LOI template below if one is needed and if the subrecipient does not have an LOI template of their own please use Subrecipient_ LOI Template.

Guidelines from Sponsors for Grant applications

5. Proposal Compliance

There are a number of compliance requirements at Georgetown University that must be met in order to conduct research.

6. ORS Proposal Developers

For Proposal Development help, please email the Research Development Specialists  Please let them know as soon as possible and no later than at least 6 weeks before the proposal deadline in order to access the full range of proposal development services. Please contact:

Jill T. Brasky

Research Development Specialist

Tuccoa Polk

Research Development Specialist

For additional help with Proposal Development

Carole Sargent, PhD, Director of the Office of Scholarly Publications, is available to help you write the research statement portion of the grant. She has trained for this work by interviewing grants officers at the NEH, NSF, and ACLS, and also earning a certificate from the journal Nature through its masterclasses. She will guide you to analyze examples from past grant winners, talk to selected winners and to grants officers when available and appropriate, and craft a grant description that satisfies all of the organization’s criteria.