Preparing a Proposal

Preparing a proposal for a sponsored project, including review by the Office of Research Administration (ORA), takes a considerable amount of time. Because agency deadlines are very specific and must be strictly adhered to, investigators and research administrations (RAs) are advised to begin the proposal process well in advance of the application deadline.

While some funding agencies allow the researcher to submit applications directly, all applications must be reviewed and approved by the following University offices prior to submission:

  • Office of Research Administration (ORA)

  • MUST Grants Office (MGO)

These are the only entities authorized by MUST to sign proposals for sponsored projects and accept awards on behalf of the University.

If this is the first time an investigator is submitting a proposal to NIH, please contact the Office of Research Administration to register the investigator with eRA commons for NIH.

The ORA is a resource to both the investigator and RA throughout the proposal process and is available during the entire process of preparation of the application. In particular, for NIH proposals, ORA has developed tools to help you organize your writing and to make writing standard sections more efficient while tailoring them to your particular goals or aims.

Types of Sponsors

  • Government – Federal, State and Local

  • Nonprofit Organizations – Foundations, Associations and Other Nonprofit Organizations

  • For Profit Corporations – Business and Industry

Types of Agreements

  • Grant

  • Cooperative Agreement

  • Contract

  • Subaward Agreement


Grants and Cooperative Agreements

Grants and Cooperative Agreements fall under the purview of Research Administration and embody several distinct qualities. Grants provide financial assistance in investigator-initiated research. Cooperative Agreements provide financial assistance in investigator-initiated research as well, with technical involvement of the sponsor. Components of the proposal will often include a scope of work, a budget, a budget justification, and a specific timeline for carrying out the proposed activities. Award terms and conditions are mutually agreed upon by the sponsor and the University.


A contract is a written, legal agreement between an institution and an awarding agency normally involving the expectation of an economic benefit on the part of the contractor and the generation of a tangible product, service, or other consideration in return for sponsored support. Contracts are procurement, and are agency/sponsor initiated research. The University enters into contracts for the support of research and other sponsored activities to obtain and disseminate new knowledge for the benefit of mankind.

The Grant Life Cycle