MODULE 3: Proposal Preparation and Processing
What is a proposal? A proposal is a detailed request for funding prepared in accordance with the sponsor's instructions. A proposal must comply with both University and sponsor policies. The proposal becomes an official record of what was promised by Princeton to a sponsor. The PI usually prepares the proposal with the DA's assistance.
A proposal normally includes:
- project description
- justification for all costs
- representations and certifications
- compliance data
- letters of institutional commitment
- Other proposal pieces (i.e., current & pending support, bios, supporting documents, cost-sharing information, data and resource-sharing information, etc.)
ORPA is the central administrative office responsible for submitting proposals and accepting awards on behalf of Princeton University. Sponsored project proposals must be submitted and awards accepted only by the Director of ORPA.
For any proposal being submitted for funding the following guidelines should be used during the development and submission process.
If a proposal is in response to a specific solicitation, the DA and ORPA administrator should both have a copy of the solicitation to ensure that the proposal meets the specific guidelines. All proposals submitted to external sponsors must undergo University review and approval prior to actual submission to the sponsor.
If the proposal is in response to a specific funding opportunity published via a program announcement (PA), a notice of opportunity (NOO), or a request for proposals or applications ("RFP"/"RFA"), the PI should review the document carefully for the sponsor's guidance on proposal development and content. Questions about budget preparation or internal University review requirements should be directed to the ORPA administrator who has oversight responsibilities for the submitting department. Technical questions about the funding opportunity may be directed to the sponsor's contact listed in the funding notice.
Duplication and mailing of proposals is the responsibility of the department when proposals are submitted via paper format.
All paper proposals must contain the signature of the official authorized to sign on behalf of the University (i.e., the Director of ORPA or, in certain cases, the President). The signature of the authorized institutional official indicates University endorsement of and commitment to the project, and certifies compliance with the sponsor's regulations. When the proposal is presented to ORPA for review and submission, it must have the written or electronic approval (i.e., via Coeus) of the PI and the relevant department chair and/or dean. ORPA requires a minimum of five business days prior to the sponsor's deadline to review and approve a proposal for submission. ORPA cannot guarantee timely submission to meet the sponsor's deadline if the above-referenced lead time is not provided. DAs should contact their ORPA administrator as early as possible for assistance and to review the administrative aspects of the budget development and grant application process. This is particularly true for projects that involve cost-share or other additional approvals.
Proposals that deal with instructional or training activities or have implications for teaching or curriculum issues, or those that seek to establish new institutes or centers, require review and approval of the URB. Consult with ORPA well in advance of the deadline if the proposal involves any of these features.
Princeton University policy allows only Princeton personnel to be listed on the cover page of a proposal. By signing the proposal, the University is certifying to a number of required statements regarding such issues as debarment and suspension, lobbying, drug-free workplace, adherence to applicable regulations regarding compliance, etc. ORPA is unable to certify such compliance for individuals employed elsewhere.