Proposal Preparation

Working with RSP Pre-Award Staff

RSP provides assistance with all aspects of proposal preparation ensuring compliance with applicable Federal, State, and University policies and procedures, regulations, and interfaces with outside agencies. Contact us as soon as you know you are going to prepare a proposal and we will start working with you on the collation of your submission.  RSP assists researchers with:

  • Interpreting and complying with proposal guidelines
  • Review of all proposal documents and forms 
  • Budget development
    • Budgets must be created using the Standard Budget Template
    • All budgets must be approved by RSP prior to approval by the chair/director and dean/VP
  • Proposal submission (The Vice Provost for Research is the Authorized Organizational Representative/Signing Official for the University on proposals to external agencies and all external proposals must be submitted by RSP)

Proposal Routing Form

All proposals to external agencies must exit the institution through RSP after budget review by Pre-Award and signature of the Vice-Provost for Research. The Proposal Routing Form serves as the notification to and approval by chairs and deans that the submitter intends to submit a proposal. It also serves as notification to other relevant units. The Vice-Provost will sign off on a proposal only after this form has been completed and approved by the department chair and dean, and other relevant units have been notified. Once your budget is approved by Pre-Award you may start the routing form.  This form should be started at a minimum one week prior to the deadline.

Budget Development

Critical to the success of your project is careful budget preparation.  Pre-Award will discuss your ideas regarding your budget and prepare the first version of the budget for you based on the discussion.  The budget is then re-worked between the PI/PD and Pre-Award until all parties approve.  The final version is then ready to be attached to the Proposal Routing Form. Below are tools used to create the budget by Pre-Award and the PI/PD.

  • Standard Budget Template
    This Excel spreadsheet must be used for the development of all budgets to external funding agencies. The spreadsheet aligns with the University's budgeting process and with many federal and private agencies.  Pre-Award will assist with the transfer of the budget to all sponsor-specific budget sheets for submission of the proposal.   
  • Course Buyout
    Faculty may request course buyout in order to work on a grant during the academic year. Course buyout must be approved by both the chair and dean.  The number of credits a course is worth is based on the number of credits in WWU's course catalog.  
  • Cost Share/Match
    Faculty may use their research time during the academic year as cost share/match if a funder requests it.  
  • Proposal Budget  Rate Guide
    The Proposal Rate Guide is a good tool to assist you with preparing your budget.  Who to contract regarding  classifications for Post Doctorates, Professional Exempt Staff and Classified Staff.  Salaries and wages for Graduate and Undergraduates Research Assistants.  Tuition and Health Insurance costs for Graduate Research Assistants. Indirect Costs, Fringe benefits and Travel rates are also referenced here.  The majority of the rates are already incorporated into the Standard Budget Template. 

Industry Research Agreements

Companies of all kinds work with Western to access student talent, faculty expertise, specialized equipment and facilities and new technologies and strategies. Several types of funding mechanisms are used including sponsored research agreements, philanthropic gifts and in-kind donations. With prior approval by their dean and chair faculty may also work as independent consultants up to a certain amount of time. RSP will help you determine which mechanism is best-suited for your particular situation.

Additional Resources

Tips for Success - Start here for some tips to help you begin planning when an how you may be completing proposals during your research career.

New Faculty Guide to Competing for Research Funding - This well-written resource focuses on how to complete a grant proposal specifically for the National Science Foundation, but has much to offer anyone considering creating a proposal in response to any external funding opportunity.  This booklet is also available for check-out in the RSP office. 

NSF A Guide for Proposal Writing - This guide was written in 2004 and most of the advice still holds true today for writing a good proposal.  Short and concise it is worth reading. 

"How to get NSF funding: a view from the 'inside'"  - This insider's Power Point presentation was created by Gisele Muller-Parker, a former WWU faculty member in Biology, Assistant Director of Shannon Point Marine Center and NSF Program Director.  Concise and full of great tips for those new to seeking external funding from NSF.

Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) 2020 - The PAPPG provides guidance on the National Science Foundation's proposal and award process.  Consisting of two parts, part one is used in conjunction with program specific guidelines for proposal preparation and part two covers award administration.