Preparing a Grant Proposal; Submission Procedures & General Guidelines

Quick Guides:

1) Getting Started: Develop a Project Concept.

Use the Project Funding Search Request Form, and address these issues: What question will your research address?

  • What is the goal of the project; your anticipated outcomes?
  • How will you achieve your goals? How long will it take?
  • What sorts of cost items are involved, and why do you need them: travel, research supplies, books, equipment, student assistants, reassigned time, summer support for students, external evaluators?
  • Does it involve human subjects research? Laboratory animals? Recombinant DNA?

Please make sure you do some advance planning for your sabbatical! Get in touch with us not less than 18 months in advance!! If you wait a year before your sabbatical, you may already have missed important grant deadlines.

2) Review your responsibilities as a Dickinson Principal Investigator
Dickinson Faculty Handbook.

3) Contact us for assistance - we're here to assist you through the process!! 

Send us your project concept or proposal abstract plus preliminary budget so we can assist in locating funding. Use the Project Funding Search Request Form.

  • We'll let you know if we have sample proposals to follow.
  • We'll let you know if there are other proposals in process to the entity from which you are intending to submit a proposal.
  • We'll inform others as to your plans in progress.

(Contact us) immediately if the proposal is to a federal funding source. Our office manages the electronic submission process for the institution through Grants.gov and other on-line systems


4) Find your potential sources of funds. Use the Project Funding Search Request Form and we can help you - or - use our vast array of grant search resources.

5) Prepare your budget.  Yes - even before you start on your proposal.  Let’s see if the prospective funder will provide all the resources you need. Sometimes projects need to scaled down; we can help.

  • We'll help you prepare your budget to ensure that you request all the funds you need, and that indirect costs and other rates are appropriately applied.
  • If there is a required cost-sharing or cost-matching commitment required of the college by the granting entity, please contact us immediately.
  • If you need additional funds - beyond a grant proposal budget cap - we'll contact the Provost on your behalf to request institutional funding from various sources, including, potentially, the college's Grant Matching Fund.

6) Prepare your proposal.

Since you are the expert, you'll have to write the proposal - but we are happy to help you organize your proposal draft, review, comment, proofread, and edit.  Consult some of the excellent grant writing resources on-line, if you wish!

7) Fill out some required forms:

a) The External Grant Clearance/Notification Form is required by College policies (see Dickinson Faculty Handbook) and due two weeks before proposal submission deadline. We will circulate this form and get the signatures on your behalf but you'll need to sign it.

  • ALL grant proposers must fill out the form - even if it is for a fellowship that would go directly to the faculty member/PI.
  • If your proposal involves release time, reassigned time, or any plan which would affect or supplant your normal teaching load you must have the approval and signature of your department chair on this form.
  • If you are junior faculty and are seeking funds for research, consult with your department chair.
b) If your research project involves human subjects, laboratory animals, or recombinant DNA contact:

c) The Principal Investigator (PI) Debarment Certification Form is also required for the PI and all paid participants on any Federal or State grant.

d) The Principal Investigator Conflict of Interest/Disclosure of Significant Financial Interest form is also required - IF you checked the second box on the External Grant Clearance/Notification Form.

e) The NIH PI Assurance form in the event you are applying for an NIH Grant. FormDirections

8) Submit your proposal!

  • If the proposal must be submitted electronically, we'll do this on your behalf
  • If the proposal must be submitted by snail-mail, we can one-day mail this for you if you wish.

9) Send our office one complete copy of each proposal, including budget, for our files.

10) When the grant is awarded:

  • Be aware of your administrative responsibilities as a Dickinson Principal Investigator. See the PI Pocket Compliance Guide.
  • We'll inform Financial Operations - so they may administratively set-up your project budget accounts, advise on administrative and reporting requirements, etc. We'll sit in on this initial meeting to answer any questions you may have.