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Develop Proposal

Who Does What?Who does what when developing a proposal?

Preapplications, Preproposals, Letters of Inquiry

More and more, funding agencies are asking for preproposals or letters of inquiry to preview potential applicants. Typically the agencies request a brief summary of the project, personnel, and budget (although this may vary). The sponsors review these summaries and some applicants are invited to submit formal applications. 

The University of Michigan's eResearch Proposal Management (eRPM) system allows for the preparation of a preproposal (PRE) as well as proposal approvals (PAF).

When is a pre-PAF needed?

ORSP has a Standard Operating Procedure (100. Pre-Submission) that helps to determine when to use PRE and when to use PAF.

Always feel free to contact your ORSP project representative regarding preproposals, preapplications, or letters of inquiry.

What are the considerations and materials you need to write a proposal, create a budget, and prepare for submission to a sponsor? 


In the Develop Proposal phase, the proposal is written, the budget is created, and the entire proposal is prepared for submission to the sponsor. Know that this is different from the work you will do later to route and submit your proposal and Proposal Approval Form (PAF)in the eResearch Proposal Management (eRPM) system. 

Your proposal development will largely happen within your school, college, department, or unit. You may need to reach out to the Office of Research and Sponsored Projects (ORSP) to assist with negotiating and reviewing sponsor agreements and for other proposal development assistance. 

Best Practices for Success in Developing Proposals

Read the Guidelines Thoroughly

  1. Read (and re-read) the guidelines, the funding announcement (FOA) or request for proposal (RFP). Every one is different -- even if they come from the same agency.

Work with ORSP on Negotiations and Agreements

  1. Defer discussions of indirect cost arrangements to ORSP.
  2. Utilize ORSP for negotiation and review of agreements and grants.
  3. Data Sharing - Contact our ORSP Data Research Specialist to provide guidance in drafting data sharing plans and data use agreements (DUA).
  4. Leverage our signing authority services and grant acceptance on behalf of the University.

Proposal Development Resources

Budget Planning Tools and Financial Resources

Equipment & Facilities

Students in Research

References and Resources

  • Types of Agreements At any point of a research project you may need a Material Transfer Agreement (MTA), a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA), a Data Use Agreement (DUA) or another type of "unfunded agreement" (UFA). 

"Who Does What?" Roles and Responsibilities in the U-M Research Project Lifecycle