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Proposal Development

GCA is dedicated to helping UNG faculty and staff develop competitive proposals for external funding. While the investigator is responsible for writing the proposal, our grant specialists provide intensive support to help you throughout the process. All our staff keep abreast of the latest funding trends and receive training on everything from proposal development techniques to agency-specific issues and quirks. Click on the tabs below to learn more about the proposal development process!

Who needs to know you’re applying for a grant or contract?
  • Grants & Contracts Administration
    • Complete a Proposal Initiation Form, contact your Grant Specialist, or email with a link to the funding opportunity and any other relevant information as soon as you know you are interested. Even if you’re not positive you’ll apply, keeping GCA in the loop ensures the pre-award process will go more smoothly.
  • Department Head/Supervisor and Dean/Director
    • You should confirm your project is in line with the Department/College/University mission, that your workload allows for project participation or can be altered, and that you’ll have access to the University resources you’ll need to complete the project. Remember, grants are made to the University, not to an individual. Department heads and deans are also valuable resources when identifying potential partners and provide field-specific expertise.
  • Program Officer
    • Always contact the funding agency's Program Officer (PO) well before submission to confirm that your project is competitive and to gain clarification on proposal requirements. Unless the program guidelines state otherwise, email the PO a one-page abstract and request a phone meeting to discuss whether your project is a good fit for the program. This is one of the most effective ways to have a successful proposal. Contact GCA if you need help drafting an email or to provide support during any phone conversations that take place.

Whether you already have an idea and need help finding funding or need to refine your project and put together a research team, GCA is the best place to start. GCA can help you identify:

  • Potential funding agencies
  • Collaborators
  • Community partners

Once you’ve identified a funding opportunity to apply to, contact GCA to help you with the following:

  • Review program guidelines
  • Create a timeline for submission
  • Plan for editing and technical support
  • Review the budget
  • Identify any additional requirements

GCA will work with PIs to determine what level of support is needed to submit a successful application. Learn more about the submission process!

Every proposal is different and depends on a number of factors such as sponsor and program guidelines, federal or state regulations, university regulations and processes, the submission system, collaborative arrangements, and much more. However, all proposals are alike in that they require time to develop, edit, assemble, and review. The following are typical components requested when applying for external funding:

  1. Cover Page
  2. Abstract
  3. Project Narrative
  4. Budget and Budget Justification
  1. Resume/CV
  2. Facilities and Resources
  3. Letters of Commitment/Support

Proposal templates such as budget spreadsheets, program-specific checklists, and various proposal documents are available to UNG employees on the GCA Department site in myUNG (login required) or contact to request a template.

In addition to the merit of your project, your grant proposal will be reviewed for the reasonableness of the funds requested. The budget of your proposal should reflect, as accurately as possible, the funding necessary to carry out the project, matching your timeline and objectives.

Direct Costs – any cost that can be specifically identified with a particular project, program, or activity
  • Salaries and Wages: UNG employees must budget their effort on a project based on annual salary. Students are typically budgeted as hourly workers
  • Fringe Benefits: Calculated using UNG’s established rates
  • Materials and Supplies: Lab consumables, laptops and software, costs associated with holding a workshop or conference, etc.
  • Travel: Conference expenses, per diem, mileage, etc. necessary to carry out project activities
  • Participant Support: Stipends, travel, and subsistence costs paid to participants in a training or workshop activity
  • Equipment: Property having a useful life of more than one year and exceeding $5,000/unit
  • Other Direct Costs: Publication costs, advertising/recruitment, technology services, etc.
  • Contracts:
    • Consultants: Non-UNG personnel being paid an established fee for a limited service
    • Subawards: Partner/collaborating organization that is an integral part of the project
Indirect Costs (aka Overhead or Facilities and Administrative Costs)
  • Costs incurred for a common or joint purpose benefiting more than one cost objective and not readily assignable to one project
  • Indirect costs reimburse the University for laboratory and office space, utilities, administrative services, custodial services, library resources, and building, grounds, and street maintenance
  • UNG budgets indirect costs based on a federally negotiated rate


Cost Share

Cost share, also referred to as matching funds or in-kind contributions, are project costs funded by the University. This could include PI effort, supplies or travel funds, or cash contributions from partners, as well as other expenses. Such costs should not be included in a budget unless required by the funding agency. Typically, a sponsor will include a specific percentage in funding opportunity guidelines that an applicant must meet when proposing cost share. Such commitments must be documented in letters of support and reviewed and approved by GCA and UNG administration.

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