Office of Research Common Proposal Components - Office of Research

Common Proposal Components

Check out our site for templates and examples.

The Interdisciplinary Research Support Team has developed templates and samples of many common proposal elements for several sponsors. If you don’t see something you need, contact us!

Below you can find guides and resources for completing many common proposal sections.

UC Davis Contract and Grant Administrative Forms
All proposals for extramural funding must be submitted through Sponsored Programs, with the exception of limited submission pre-proposals and pre-proposals that do not require an institutional signature.

View the detailed requirements, including forms, for submission through Sponsored Programs.

Cover Page/Face Page and Table of Contents

Many sponsors require a cover page with the signature (either ink or electronic) of an authorized institutional representative, such as an analyst in the Sponsored Programs Office.

If the sponsor does not provide a cover page form, USE THIS ONE (

NIH: NIH provides templates for their required cover page and table of contents on this site:

NSF: Cover page is a fillable form and the table of contents is automatically generated in FastLane (

Sponsors using Grants applications available on, such as many for USDA and DOE, have a built-in electronic cover page and the table of contents is automatically generated as part of the electronic application page

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.

The Abstract or Project Summary must be suitable for public distribution and understandable to both the scientist and layperson. Often there are strict formatting requirements for this section such as limits on the number of characters (NSF), words, or lines (NIH), as well as instructions on using the third person or including specific information on expected outcomes.

The IRS team has templates for the abstract/project summary for many sponsors on our site.

In addition to the project abstract, NIH requires a separate upload: a 2-sentence Project Narrative that explains the relevance of the proposed research to human health.

For proposals to the Department of Health and Human Services, use the project summary form found here:

Project Description/Research Strategy
The Project Narrative describes the project, its purpose, relevance, and implementation. Each sponsor has specified guidelines for the Project Narrative/Description.

The IRS team has templates for the project description/research strategy for many sponsors on our site.

For specific types of proposals here are some additional resources:

IP Strategy and Technology to Market Plan

The IRS team has templates for the IP Plan and the Technology to Market & Commercialization Plan on our site.

  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship – The Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship integrates science and business for social benefit.
  • InnovationAccess – InnovationAccess provides services that connect research to the marketplace and is focused specifically on protecting and commercializing intellectual property as well as fostering entrepreneurship within the campus community.
Human Subjects
  • Does My Project Need Review by the IRB – Before submitting an IRB application for initial review, first determine if IRB review is required for your project. Submit the Protocol Certification form with your proposal materials to SPO.
  • Human Anatomical Specimen & Tissue Oversight – The UC Davis policy on anatomical specimens sets forth the standards and procedures for the procurement, inventory, use, management, transfer, transportation and disposition of human anatomical specimens to support the appropriate educational and research use of human anatomical materials by faculty, staff, students, and residents.
  • NIH New Human Subjects and Clinical Trial Information
Vertebrate Animals


PHS Policy and the NIH Grants Policy Statement ( require institutions to verify, before award, that the IACUC protocol and the grant application(s) funding the project utilizing IACUC protocol describe the same care and use of animals.  The process is referred to as “Congruency Review” and is performed by the Principal Investigator by signing this form.

Excerpt from section “Verification of IACUC Approval” of the NIH Grants Policy Statement:

“It is an institutional responsibility to ensure that the research described in the application is congruent with any corresponding protocols approved by the IACUC.”

All funding agencies and organizations below require Congruency Review:

  • National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • All NIH subdivisions (e.g. NCI, NHLBI, NIAID, NIDDKD, NIAAA, etc.)
  • National Science Foundation (NSF)
  • US Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS)
  • USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture
  • American Heart Association (AHA)
  • American Cancer Society (ACS)
  • Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
  • March of Dimes (MOD)
  • Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF)

This list will be updated if/when other agencies adopt the requirement.

More Information

Budget and Budget Justification
The Budget and Budget Justification (also called a budget narrative) is a financial proposal reflecting the work proposed and outlines the expected project costs in detail. It should mirror the project description.

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).

The IRS team has Bibliography & References Cited templates for NIH and NSF on our site.

The University Library can assist researchers in literature searches.

Facilities and Resources
The Facilities and Resources section provides information on the organizational resources that will be used in conducting the proposed work.

The IRS team has Facilities and Resources templates for NIH and NSF on our site.

Data Management Plan/Resource Sharing Plan
Data Management Plans/Resource Sharing Plans describe how proposals disseminate and share results.

The IRS team has Data Management Plan/Resource Sharing Plan templates for NIH and NSF on our site.

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.

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