Proposal Preparation

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What is a Proposal?
Preparing the Solicited Proposal
Just-in-Time Reporting

What is a Proposal?

A proposal is a detailed request for funding prepared in accordance with the sponsor’s instructions. A sponsor can be a federal, state, or local agency, a private foundation, a corporation or other business entity.

  • A proposal must comply with University of Arizona policies and sponsor requirements.
  • A proposal, upon submission, becomes an official record of the work the University of Arizona proposes to do for the sponsor.

Preparing the Solicited Proposal

While the Principal Investigator is responsible for preparing the proposal, a successful proposal requires consultation and collaboration with a wide variety of both internal and external parties. Once you have identified a suitable funding opportunity, read the program announcement, Request for Proposal (RFP) or Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) carefully to ensure that both you and the University of Arizona meet its requirements. Contact Sponsored Projects Services for clarification on anything that seems unclear.

There are many factors that impact the feasibility of a proposal:

  • Mission. Does the project support the mission of the University of Arizona?
  • Terms and Conditions. Does the sponsor have terms and conditions that the University can accept?
  • Time. Is there sufficient time to prepare a strong proposal with the necessary collaborative agreements, regulatory approvals, budget, etc?
  • Cost Sharing. Are there cost sharing or matching requirements that require department or college approval?
  • Compliance. Will you be able to comply with regulatory requirements such as human subjects, animal care, recombinant DNA, etc?
  • Facilities. Do you have sufficient access to facilities to conduct the proposed research? If not, will you be able to document a commitment to obtain the necessary facilities?
  • Facilities and Administrative (F&A) Costs. Does the sponsor require an F&A rate different from the University's negotiated rate?
  • Export Control. Will the project involve technologies or equipment that will require a technology control plan and/or prior authorization from Department of State or Department of Commerce? Will your project involve travel to or project work in an embargoed or sanctioned country such as Cuba or Iran and require prior authorization from Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control?
  • Effort. Will you have sufficient available effort to conduct the proposed project? Do you have sufficient staff with available effort?
  • Conflict of Interest. Are there areas of possible conflict of interests? Have you completed the necessary training and financial disclosure?
  • Collaborators and Co-Principal Investigators. Do you need additional expertise for a successful project? This support can come from collaborators, consultants, or co-principal investigator(s)?

Proposal Preparation Checklist
Attached is a general Proposal Preparation Checklist for sponsored projects. 


See Forms and Templates for a pdf version.

30 - 90 Days Prior to Sponsor's Due Date

Inform Department and Sponsored Projects Services of intent to submit

You, as Principal Investigator, should inform your department /college leadership, department finance/grant management staff and Sponsored Projects Services (SPS) of your intent to submit the proposal. This early notification is especially important in the following instances:

  • Large/complex proposals with total costs greater than $15 million
  • Multi-project programs, involving University of Arizona departments and/or other institutions
  • Unusual terms and conditions as outlined in the program announcement
  • Limitations on the number of institutional applicants (Note: Limited applications are selected through a process in Research, Innovation & Impact. See procedures at the Limited Solicitations web site.)
  • Protocols involving humans or animals that require approval by the appropriate review committee
  • Requests for deviations from college or department policies or practices
  • New initiatives involving significant resources requiring college/school/departmental or Senior Vice President for Research approvals
  • Initiatives requiring new space and/or renovations
  • The scope of work includes effort outside the United States

10 - 30 Business Days Prior to Sponsor's Due Date

Complete new proposal in UAccess Research

You (or your unit's research administrator) need to route a new proposal in UAccess Research. The Sponsored Projects Services proposal review process assists the Principal Investigator by ensuring compliance with sponsor and institutional policies. Instructions on how to create a proposal in UAccess Research are available in the UAccess Research User Guide. The earlier Sponsored Projects & Contracting Services is aware of your intent to submit a proposal, the better.

Complete the following requests, if applicable:

  • Requests for required or voluntary cost share
  • Requests for reduced or restricted F&A rates as required by the funding agency

3 - 10 Business Days Prior to Sponsor's Due Date

Request for Facilities & Administrative Cost changes, if applicable

Facilities & Administrative Cost rate reductions require Research, Innovation & Impact approval. These requests must be submitted to Sponsored Projects Services as part of the UAccess Research proposal, with all required documentation, eight business days prior to the sponsor’s deadline. Sponsored Projects Services will route to Research, Discovery & Innovation for approval. F&A changes must be approved by Research, Discovery & Innovation prior to Sponsored Projects Services' three business day proposal submission deadline.

3 Business Days Prior to Sponsor's Due Date

Proposal must be submitted to Sponsored Projects Services in final approved form

Final form means that the proposal is completely finished, including final approval in UAccess Research, and ready for submission to the sponsoring agency.  See Internal Deadlines for Proposal Routing.


Just-in-Time-Reporting (JIT) is required by the National Institutes of Health prior to issuing an award. It requires that the University provide current Other Support (previously referred to as Current & Pending) and compliance documentation prior to the NIH awarding a grant. Please see Just-in-Time Reporting for more information.


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