Following sponsor guidelines is crucial when applying for grant funds. Most sponsor guidelines are very specific and must be followed to the letter. With the advent of electronic submissions, in addition to deadline dates, we now must meet deadline times. While sponsors have always specified the requirements for proposal content, this area has broadened to include topics such as the integration of education and research, and plans to increase the participation of underrepresented minorities in the project. The format of the proposal must adhere to guidelines that are very detailed. It is important that proposals conform to the instructions verbatim. Proposals that are not consistent with instructions may not be reviewed.
A funding agency's guidelines on submission of proposals may include requirements for:
- Formatting, including font size, spacing, margins, charts and diagrams
- For electronic submissions, certain portions of the proposal may be uploaded in a standard word processing format (such as Microsoft Word or Word Perfect) or as a PDF file. Some agency systems (like FastLane) will convert word processor documents to PDF. When submitting very close to the agency deadline, submission may be quicker if the files are already in PDF format before uploading.
- Agency forms
- Cover page - standard information about RITmay be required
- The cover sheet generally requires the signature of RIT's authorizing official. For electronic sumbissions, often this form will need to be printed, an original signature obtained, and mailed to the agency within a specified number of days after the submission deadline
- For some agencies, such as NSF, the authorizing signature can be submitted electronically after the proposal has been submitted
- Budget form(s) and budget justification (or budget narrative)
- Many sponsors provide electronic forms which allow budget numbers to be typed directly into the forms and uploaded or printed.
- Proposal sections - see Writing a Proposal
- Assurances and certifications
- Deadline - Mail date (postmark), receipt date, or date and time of electronic submission
- For paper submissions:
- Number of copies (original and a specified number of copies)
- Suggested or required submission of one copy in electronic format (on disk)
- Binding (unbound, stapled, in folders, etc.)
- Correct mailing address (this may vary depending on mail service used)