Proposal Development & Preparation

How to develop your best proposal

You don't have to do it all on your own. Once you have identified a funding opportunity for your project, there are lots of resources available to help you move forward, including university-wide Proposal and Award Services in IU's Office of Research Administration and Proposal Development Services on the Bloomington and IUPUI campuses.

If you are considering corporate or foundation funding, contact IU’s corporate and foundation relations team for assistance.

Begin with deadlines in mind

Be aware that all external funding proposals must be formally submitted through the Office of Research Administration (ORA) by 9 a.m. four days in advance of the funding sponsor’s deadline. ORA reviews proposals to make sure they comply with university and funding sponsor guidelines, and then submits your proposal on your behalf. Sometimes, special circumstances could require you to work with a different office.

Strategize and strengthen your proposal

IU's proposal development specialists collaborate with researchers to help plan, prepare, and manage applications for external funding. Services may include:

  • Identifying funding opportunities
  • Providing grantsmanship review, including iterative, reviewer-focused feedback on your proposal and input on your alignment with solicitation
  • Identifying potential collaborators and project team members
  • Organizing and managing the proposal preparation process, including timeline and workflow
  • Process reviewers' comments during revision
  • Coordinating with IU's Office of Research Administration

To take full advantage of these free services, contact IU's proposal development specialists for support at least 4-6 weeks in advance of the agency deadline and allow at least two months lead time for complex proposals. To request proposal development services:

If you work at the IU Bloomington campus, download and complete the IU Bloomington Application for Proposal Development Support. Email your completed form to IU Bloomington Proposal Development Services at

If you work at the IUPUI campus, download and complete the IUPUI Application for Proposal Development Support. Email your completed form to IUPUI Proposal Development Services at

Complete a Corporate and Foundation Funding Assistance Request to receive assistance from IU corporate relations and foundation relations staff in seeking private, nongovernmental funding.

Sign up for the IU Bloomington PDS Narrative newsletter or browse its archives to find more resources and tools on writing a successful proposal.

You may also attend workshops to learn about funding programs and agency priorities, expand collaborative connections with other faculty, build skills in the craft of proposal writing, and participate in pre-submission review.

Proposal preparation guidelines

Review policies and guidelines you must follow when preparing a proposal:

Preparing the administrative elements of your proposal

It’s never too early to begin asking questions or seek a grant consultant to guide you through the detailed steps you need to take before the routing and submission of your proposal.

Here are some of the services that either a grant consultant in your unit or the Office of Research Administration may assist you with:

  • Drafting the budget and budgeting justification
  • Preparing administrative forms
  • Working with subawardees (if applicable) to obtain required documentation
  • Preparing the development document for review and approval
  • Uploading proposal files to the sponsor on or before the deadline

Institutional information

Sponsor guidelines usually require specific information about the institution. The most frequently requested details for project proposals are listed here.

Preparing a budget

Research administration must approve your budget before you submit your proposal. Learn about budget preparation as well as IU’s federally negotiated rates, common costs and cost sharing, and necessary documentation for subawards.

The submission process

Digital resources are available to help you

Need help with a proposal?

Contact Proposal Development Services at IU Bloomington or IUPUI for help with planning and polishing your grant application before submission.


  • Phone: (812) 855-2869
  • Email:


  • Phone: (317) 278-6506
  • Email:

Contact Proposal and Award Services in the Office of Research Administration for help from grant consultants on preparing the administrative aspects of your proposal for submission.

All Campuses:

  • Email: