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Common Proposal Components


The information and templates below are intended to guide and assist you throughout the proposal preparation process. Please note that components vary between sponsors and sponsors periodically revise requirements. It is important to check the sponsor’s guidelines to ensure the most recent guidelines are followed.

Sponsor Grant Proposal Guidelines and Forms

Cover Page/Face Page

Table of Contents

Abstract/Project Summary

Project Narrative/Description

Budget and Budget Justification


References Cited

Facilities and Resources

Data Management Plan/Resource Sharing Plan

Current and Pending Support

Compliance Documents


  • Cover Page/Face Page: The Cover Page provides information that assists the sponsor in determining the type of application, which program is being applied to, and contact information for the PI and university official among other items.


  • Table of Contents: The Table of Contents facilitates easy navigation of the proposal components.
    • This form is auto generated if using or FastLane.
    • PHS 398 Table of Contents Template (PHS 398 Fillable Forms)


  • Abstract/Project Summary: The Abstract or Project Summary must be suitable for public distribution and understandable to both the scientist and layperson. See the relevant sponsor’s grant proposal guidelines to ensure all formatting and other requirements are met.
    • PHS 398 Form Page 2: Summary, Relevance, Project/Performance Sites, Senior/Key Personnel, Other Significant Contributors, and Human Embryonic Stem Cells (PHS 398 Fillable Forms)


  • Project Narrative/Description: The Project Narrative describes the project, its purpose, relevance, and implementation. Each sponsor has specified guidelines for the Project Narrative/Description.
    • For NIH and other PHS agencies, the Project Narrative will reflect the second component of the Project Summary and should describe the relevance of this project to the public health.
    • The NSF Project Description should be no longer than 15 pages and should not include URLs.



  • Biosketches: Biosketches (Curriculum Vitae) for key personnel are required by most funding agencies.


  • References Cited: Most funding agencies require References Cited section for all references cited in the Project Narrative/Description and/or Research Plan component unless otherwise noted in the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA).


  • Facilities and Resources: The Facilities and Resources section provides information on the organizational resources that will be used in conducting the proposed work.
    • NIH and other PHS agencies (PHS 398 Fillable Forms)
    • NSF prohibits inclusion of voluntary committed cost sharing unless specifically stated in an NSF solicitation. The NSF FAQs state that “. . . all organizational resources necessary for the project (both physical and personnel) must be described in the Facilities, Equipment and Other Resources section of the proposal (see NSF Grant Proposal Guide (GPG) Chapter II.C.2.i for more information).”



  • Current and Pending Support: Some funding agencies require a Current and Pending Support section at the time of application. This section describes what funding a researcher is currently receiving, as well as what funding the researcher has applied for.
    • NSF requires Current and Pending Support for all key personnel at the time of application.


  • Compliance Documents: Depending on the specific project and sponsor, the researcher may also need to complete a variety of compliance documents.