Components of a Proposal


What should be included in a proposal?


The format or presentation of a proposal will depend on the requirements of the sponsor to whom you are applying. Most sponsors have developed policies and procedures for the submission of proposals and may require the use of specific application forms. Other sponsors are less directive. In any case, PIs should obtain the most recent version of the guidelines and should follow the required proposal format.

Please note: All proposals which include subrecipients must be accompanied by Subaward in Proposal Package (SubProp)/Subrecipient Statement of Collaborative Intent documents at the time of submission.  Please use the SubProp to submit basic subrecipient information as well as compliance assurances. Additional documentation that is required is listed below.

The following may be used as a guide to components of a proposal when requirements are not specific:



Title Page

Includes the title and duration of the project, amount requested, name and address of the PI and of the institutional contact (in most cases, this will be the Office of Grants and Contracts Administration (OGCA)).

Abstract or Proposal Summary

Describes the objectives, methodology and significance of the proposed project. The abstract should be able to stand alone and should provide the reader with a first impression of the request.


Should specifically and concisely state the importance of the research being proposed.

Description of the Project

This is the heart of the proposal and should be a complete written description in paragraph form of what is to be undertaken. It should clearly describe the specific aims, goals, methodology, as well as the PI’s role in carrying out the proposed activities. Once awarded and subject to modification by both funder and UAF, this description will be incorporated by reference into the grant or contract and be the legal description of the activities to be undertaken, and important to assess the type of agreement utilized, the approvals needed, and the creation of a budget, with the appropriate indirect cost rate.


Should list references cited in the body of the proposal.

CV/Biographical Sketch

Should be submitted for all key personnel, indicating background, professional interests, research capabilities and publications.

Budget and Budget Justification

Should reflect a reasonable estimate of expenses necessary to conduct the project. Consult OGCA Institutional Data for fringe benefit rates, graduate student tuition and stipends, and facilities and administrative rates (indirect costs).

Facilities and Resources

Describes equipment or other relevant resources that will be available for use on the project. Examples of such resources include laboratory and office spaces, library resources, animal facilities, and computer services or equipment.

Transmittal/Cover Letter

If the sponsor does not provide a form asking for an institutional signature, OGCA may provide a cover letter to accompany the proposal indicating UAF’s approval of the application.

Subrecipient Information

Subrecipient information to be included in every proposal is the scope of work, budget, budget justification, SubProp forms, and other documents as required by the proposal solicitation.