Elements of a Proposal

Proposal Approval Form
The Proposal Approval form is an internal campus document that must be prepared when submitting a proposal for new, competitive continuation or supplemental (greater than or equal to $25,000) or if there is a change in scope for the project) extramural funding. For submission through an academic department, the form must be signed by the Principal Investigator, the Department Chair and Dean before submittal to OSP.

Signatures on the Routing Form certify that the proposed work is consistent with University objectives, and that all faculty involved in the proposal have agreed to participate, to accept the obligations and commitments described in the proposal, and to perform the work in accordance with University and sponsor policies. OSP may not submit the proposal without a completed sign off form.

Application Cover Page
If the sponsor does not issue a printed form or require a specific format for providing institutional information, the Office of Graduate Studies and Research will issue and sign a cover letter to include with the application.

The abstract describes the major objectives of the proposed research and the research strategy to meet these objectives. It serves a variety of purposes. Sponsors often use the abstract in assigning the proposal to the appropriate study section for review. Reviewers use the abstract to gain an initial perspective of the key concept of the study and its significance. After funding is secured, the abstract may be used for entry in national databases and its keywords are picked up for quotation indexes.

Statement of Work
The Statement of Work is the most important part of any proposal. Simply put, the Statement of Work should include sufficient information needed for evaluation of the project, independent of any other document. The Statement of Work is a detailed program description, including an explanation of the objectives in clear and concise terms, and a description of the procedures to be followed in carrying out the objectives of the project.

Budget and Budget Justification
A detailed budget identifying all proposed costs needed to conduct the research must be prepared in compliance with the sponsor's guidelines, applicable cost principles and A&M-SA rules. A budget justification is one of the most important sections of the proposal. One must make a case for almost everything needed to conduct their project. The more comprehensive the justification, the better the chance of getting the project fully funded. A budget justification identifies the need for a particular cost and how the cost was estimated. It may seem redundant in many cases, but it is vital. The need for a particular piece of equipment, for instance, may be implied in the project description, but the implication is not necessarily apparent to a non-specialist reviewer or a contract or grant specialist. The need must be made explicit in the budget justification.

Biographical Sketch
A Biographical Sketch is a brief sketch of a researcher's CV, or curriculum vitae (resume) and is typically required for all key personnel. A Biographical Sketch highlights specific research experience, related publications & other important biographical information.

Current and Pending Support (Other Support)
Virtually all sponsors require information on the Principal Investigator's present support and pending proposals, and inclusive of all extramural funding sources. The same type of information must be supplied both for active awards and for pending proposals and typically includes the sponsor of the project, the title of the project, the project period, the total project costs, and the percentage of effort devoted by the investigator on the project. This requirement applies not only to the Principal Investigator, but to all other key personnel formally committing effort to a proposed project.

Facilities and Resources
This section of the proposal identifies and describes the facilities and resources that will be used in the proposed research. If unique facilities exist with regard to the proposed research it is important to emphasize this in the proposal - describing capacities, relative proximity and the extent of availability to the project. Information can also be provided on university-wide facilities or support services such as the library, computer centers, or specialized centers. If there are multiple performance sites, then resources available at each site should be described.

3rd Party Cost Sharing
Note that additional documentation is required at the time of proposal for projects involving 3rd party cost sharing (commitments from outside the University). Usually a letter describing the commitment and explicitly providing the dollar amount of support which is signed by the authorizing official at that site will provide sufficient justification.

If a consultant is proposed because they will be providing services based on their field of expertise, they should provide a letter of support for the project and explain how their background and role in the project will directly benefit the proposal.

Entering into a subaward is the means by which a portion of the project work (programmatic or technical effort) is transferred to another institution, organization, TAMU campus or other entity.

A proposal from the subaward recipient must be secured and included with or incorporated into prime proposal submitted by A&M-SA. The minimum documentation required for a subawardee is: budget, justification and scope of work sign or endorsed by the subaward recipient's authorized official. The total cost of the subaward (both direct and indirect costs) must be listed as a single cost item in the other direct costs category of the prime proposal. If multiple subawards are anticipated, the sum of all subaward total costs should be listed.