Proposal Development

Preparing a Proposal

University Research Administration formally submits proposals on behalf of the University of Chicago for investigators, research projects, and units within the University. The proposal process varies and depends on your particular location within a division, school or department within the University. Generally, local administrators work with faculty to prepare proposals and route them for appropriate sign-offs. They may then be sent for review to a central divisional unit/office or individual.

Local administrators should follow the respective business rules within the Biological Sciences Division, the Physical Sciences Division, the Social Sciences Division, and the Humanities Division. Many schools, units, and programs have administrators who work directly with URA Staff. URA gives the proposal a final review and provides institutional endorsement prior to submission to a potential sponsor.

If you have any questions about the process, please contact the URA Manager assigned to your department, contact information available on Contacts by Department page. 

URA Support During Proposal Development

Your URA Pre-Award Research Administrator is an excellent resource during the proposal development process. Should you have questions regarding the proposal or pre-award process, agency policies/guidelines, institutional requirements or special requirements, then please reach out to your Pre-Award Research Administrator for additional guidance. We are here to help!

Proposal Routing, Approval, and Submission

Proposal applications being prepared by faculty members and their support staff must first be reviewed and approved at the department level.  This approval usually comes from the department Executive Administrator or Chairperson, but may also include the respective Divisional Deans depending on the scope of work being proposed. After these approvals have been properly captured, the proposal may be forwarded to the University Research Administration (URA) Pre-Award Administrator to obtain institutional review, approval and endorsement for submission to the funding agency. **Please note that the unit approver must be someone other than the individual that prepared the FP and application.**

The URA Pre-Award Research Administrators assist researchers and departmental administrators with proposal development and/or submission. The URA Pre-Award Research Administrator is responsible for reviewing and approving budget accuracy, ensuring compliance with institutional and sponsor-specific rules and regulations, and transmitting applications and requests on behalf of The University of Chicago to federal and non-federal sponsors when required.

Routing applies to proposals for which there is a sponsor deadline and to letters of intent, white papers, or other pre-proposal submissions that contain or propose institutional commitments to which the UofC will be expected to adhere (e.g., budgets, cost sharing, space renovations, acquisition of equipment/instruments, etc.), regardless of whether URA endorsement is needed at the time of submission.

Application Type Definitions:

o   NEW: An application that is being submitted to a direct sponsor for the first time.

o   RESUBMISSION: An unfunded application the applicant has modified following the initial sponsor review and resubmitted for consideration. (NIH allows a maximum of one resubmitted application.) 
STATE: Not Funded
ACTIVITY: Create Resubmission

o   RENEWAL: An application requesting additional funding and/or time, over and above what was originally proposed, for a period subsequent to that provided by the current award.
STATE: Awarded
ACTIVITY: Create Renewal

o   REVISION (SUPPLEMENTAL): A supplemental application requesting additional funding for an active award. The project period will typically overlap with the parent award.
STATE: Awarded
ACTIVITY: Create Revision

**NOTE** No matter the type of FP you may be creating, DO NOT use the "copy" function in AURA Grants. 


Questions for Consideration when Determining whether to Route a Renewal FP:

  1. Is the original project period one year and has it been confirmed with sponsor that future years will not be awarded/considered? Or has the originally proposed project period ended, or will it be ending soon?
  2. Are there additional funds and time being awarded that were not included in the original proposal?
  3. Was a proposal, Scope of Work or budget submitted to the sponsor? Or were documents submitted to the sponsor to modify the scope, add funds and/or time that was not part of the original proposal submission?

Funding Proposal (FP) Management

To reduce the potential for issues with proposals, please follow the below guidance for managing FPs in your queue.

  • “Stale” or older FPs that have been created and not modified in 6 months or longer will be automatically withdrawn.
  • If an FP has been created for an application, future deadline or after-the-fact (ATF), but it does not proceed for that initially planned deadline, it may be used for that same opportunity/PI for the next deadline cycle. It should be withdrawn if the PI opts to delay for more than 1 deadline cycle.
  • FPs should not sit in draft state for an excessive amount of time or be recycled for another deadline, PI, or opportunity.
  • Similar to above, it is highly recommended that FPs are not created >6 months in advance of a deadline.
  • Currently (as of June 2023), any FPs with a number earlier than FP110XXX should be withdrawn (this would not apply to revisions or other newly created FPs that use the original FP's root FP number).

As a always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to your URA Pre-Award Research Administrator for further information.