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Proposal Tools & Resources
Aids for preparing proposals
Writing a grant proposal can be complicated, but there are many useful online tools and resources, at IU and elsewhere, available to offer you grant-writing support.
Explore the IUB Proposal Development Services Resource Portal for an extensive, curated collection of guiding documents, links, and templates designed to provide researchers with the tools and resources they need to plan, write and develop strong, competitive grant proposals.
Preparing graphics for proposals
- Adobe Creative Cloud contains a wide range of Adobe software including Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop. The Creative Cloud is freely available to IU faculty, staff, and currently enrolled students. Free training in using the tools is available through IU Expand.
- IU Advanced Visualization Laboratory offers scientific visualization (SciVis) consultations and Information visualization (InfoVis) consultations to help qualified IU students, faculty, and staff make the most of their data. AVL also supports a wide variety of visualization and graphics software packages, such as Blender and MeshLab, by providing software licensing and distribution along with consulting services.
- BioRender is an online tool that allows individuals to create scientific figures using pre-made icons and templates.
- Indiana University Brand offers IU-branded templates of various flyers, posters, and reports that may be downloaded for free and adapted.
- Canva is a free online design tool for creating infographics, reports, and more. It's especially helpful for creating visual social media posts. Many templates are available.
- LucidChart offers a free tool for creating charts and data visualizations.
- Piktochart is another free design tool for creating basic infographics. Many templates are available.
Kelley School of Business-Bloomington
Office of Communications and Marketing
Contact: Rebecca Salerno
School of Medicine
The Visual Media team offers creative services to IU School of Medicine faculty, staff and trainees for graphic design, medical illustration, photography, presentations, poster layout and printing. For competitive design fees, professional graphic designers can create infographics, charts, graphs, diagrams, and more.
O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs-Bloomington
Office of Communications and Marketing
Contact: Jessica Corry
Proposal writing guides and evaluation resources
- Indiana University's PDS Narrative newsletter archives—Brief articles about proposal development, with links to more information and resources.
- On the Art of Writing Proposals—A free, downloadable booklet with suggestions for Liberal Arts and Humanities proposals, published by the Social Science Research Council.
- Grants basics and Grant Writing Tips Sheets by the National Institutes of Health.
- A Guide for Proposal Writing—A resource for beginners by the National Science Foundation.
- Proposal Writing Short Course—A self-paced online class by the Foundation Center that introduces key components of a proposal to a foundation.
- Quick guide: Submitting an applicable NIH grant requiring sIRB
Visit the IUB Proposal Development Services Resource Portal hosted on Confluence to access more resources on writing & rhetoric curated by the Proposal Development Services (PDS) team at IU-Bloomington.
Center for Evaluation, Policy, and Research—CEPR provides rigorous, high-quality evaluation expertise and services within and across multiple sectors to diverse agencies, organizations, businesses, and individuals for both internal (Indiana University) and external clients at the local, state, regional, national and international levels. CEPR can provide services ranging from consultation, training, technical assistance, capacity-building, benchmarking and progress-monitoring to conducting comprehensive large-scale evaluation to determine impact and effectiveness of a grant or program using diverse methodologies, including quantitative (with expertise in conducting randomized controlled trials in real-world settings), qualitative, and mixed-methods.
Online Evaluation Resource Library—Developed for professionals seeking to design, conduct, document, or review project evaluations. Created by the National Science Foundation’s Division of Research, Evaluation and Communication, Directorate for Education and Human Resources.
Data management services and tools
The IU Libraries provide assistance to researchers working with data in all stages of the research life cycle, including support for data management and preservation. Available services include GIS (Geographical Information Systems) Services, Science Data Management, and Statistical Data Services.
A guide to writing the data management plan required for NSF proposals.
The Research Technologies division of UITS and the Pervasive Technology Institute provide templates, guides, and other information to use when preparing elements of grant proposals in which the value of IU's advanced cyberinfrastructure facilities is particularly helpful:
- Project description body text
- Data management plans (NSF)
- NIH Public Access Policy
- Facilities statements
NIH's Policy for Data Management and Sharing, released in October 2020, becomes effective January 25, 2023. It requires submission of a Data Management and Sharing Plan at the time of proposal. It also requires release of the data and is applicable whether access is open or controlled, and is to be made "no later than the time of an associated publication, or the end of the award/support period, whichever comes first." After its effective date, awards will include the approved DMS Plan in the Terms and Conditions as part of IU's compliance obligations. Learn more about the NIH Data Management and Sharing Policy.
Online tools, software, and campus workspaces for collaborative research
- IU Video Bridge—No-cost virtual rooms (also known as bridges) for faculty, staff, and guests to meet online.
- Zoom—A web collaboration tool that supports high-quality audio and videoconferencing for up to 100 participants as well as other features, including mobile screen-sharing, polling, co-annotation, breakout rooms, recordings, and more.
- Microsoft Project—Available through IUWare, this project management software is designed to assist with plan development, assigning resources to tasks, tracking progress, managing the budget, and analyzing workloads.
- Technology Tool Finder: Collaboration—View IU-supported technologies for communication, collaboration, storage, and more.
- Basecamp—File sharing, sequential and simultaneous editing, and task management.
- Dropbox—File sharing, sequential editing, and syncing files.
- Evernote—Sequential and simultaneous editing, file editing on web platform, task management.
- Skype—Video/audio conference and instant messaging software.
- Google Drive—File sharing, sequential and simultaneous editing on web platform, file syncing, virtual meetings via Hangout.
The Indiana University Bloomington campus has many spaces available for collaborative groups. Learn more about rooms with videoconferencing capabilities, technology-enabled learning spaces, and collaboration rooms at IU Bloomington's Wells Library. Remember to ask your school or department about available rooms as well.
At IU Bloomington, you can find the tools you need to accomplish your work through a searchable campus database intended to leverage and share the strengths of campus research facilities and equipment with the research community.
Organizational data about Indiana University and the IU Foundation
Some sponsor guidelines may ask you to provide financial and other organizational data about Indiana University or the IU Foundation
Sample letters, budget templates, and forms
All Campuses (Accessible 01/22/20)
This is a standard form required for use as a cover sheet for submission of pre-applications and applications and related information
Read more about the SF424 at Grants.gov
- From IU to the Prime Contractor or Recipient - All Campuses (Accessible 02/18/19)
- To IU from the Subaward Recipient - All Campuses (Accessible 02/18/19)
If sponsor guidelines do not include a specific, required budget format, use one of these as a guide:
Frequently used application guides and forms
- DOE: Department of Education Grant Application and Other Forms
- NIH: National Institutes of Health Forms Library
Sample documents for NIH proposals from IU:
- Human Subjects Education Certification Sample Letter (Accessible 02/18/19)
- NIH Human Subjects Education Documentation Form (Accessible 02/18/19)
- NIH Policy on Model Organisms: IU Template Statement (Accessible 02/18/19)