Agency Guidelines

Following sponsor guidelines for proposals and awards

External funding sponsors maintain their own guidelines for preparing and submitting proposals and for administering your project after an award is received. It’s important to understand and follow all of these guidelines and requirements.

Proposal guidelines

Instructions from the sponsor for preparing and submitting a proposal are commonly referred to as guidelines. They also may be called a Program Announcement, Request for Application (RFA), Request for Proposal (RFP), Broad Agency Announcement (BAA), or Solicitation.

Regardless of what the instructions are called, they provide important information that is critical to read and understand. The importance of following the sponsor guidelines cannot be overemphasized. Some sponsors will return proposals without review if there are deviations.

Solicitation numbers or opportunity announcement numbers are often provided to identify the program. This is key information that should be communicated to IU’s Office of Research Administration as you seek assistance with your proposal.

Guidelines include programmatic and administrative requirements such as:

  • Deadline date, time, and type (receipt or target)
  • Eligibility requirements
  • Limitations on the number of proposal submitted from an institution
  • Funding thresholds
  • Proposal format requirements
  • Budget requirements and restrictions
  • Method of proposal submission
  • Sponsor contacts


Sponsored awards—often called Notice of Grant Award (NOGA), Notice of Award (NOA), sponsor notice, agreement, or contract—contain important information for the successful administration of your project. After you have received an award notification, read it carefully to review the requirements for your project.

Federally funded projects fall under Uniform Guidance, the foundation upon which federal agencies base their terms and conditions.

Nonfederal sponsors will have their own terms and conditions for your award. Become familiar with the rules before you begin work on the project.

You must also consider requirements in the program solicitation that apply to your award. There are multiple layers of terms and regulations, and the most restrictive applies.

National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Experience for Undergraduates projects are highly restricted, and there are related tax issues. Learn more about processing payments related to sponsored research programs for undergraduate students.

Contact Proposal & Award Services for help

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