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Overview of Grant Proposals

Overview of Writing and Submitting a Grant Proposal

How are Sponsored Projects generated?

A faculty member or the Principal Investigator (PI) first identifies a need for a project that will help students or faculty.  Depending on the type of project, the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) will then direct PI to a source of funding or PI can check sources; see Funding Opportunities.

OSP is responsible for institutional prior approval and submission of proposals.  The President must approve  all externally funded grants (CFCC Faculty & Staff Handbook, section 4.4).  The college rather than the individual acts as the official applicant and legally has responsibility for the administration of the project.  However, the PI has the responsibility for the implementation and management of the project.

What is a Proposal?

A proposal is a formal written description of a project, for which funding is sought from external sources.  Generally, a proposal can be:

  • Initiated from an educational department or a particular discipline
  • Characterized by a statement of need, with a clearly defined set of goals or objectives
  • Development of a project
  • Need for  a specific sum of money, generally, on the terms and amount specified by the sponsoring agency

Proposals can be in the form of:

  • Letters of intent or preliminary proposals, which provide an overview of the proposed project.  Agencies generally, do not request detailed budgets or methods of implementing the project, but may use the outline to make decisions on whether to solicit a full proposal.
  • New Proposals on the other hand provide a full description of the project, including the budget information on personnel and the expected outcome of the project.
  • Continuation and renewal proposals request support for ongoing work on the project.  Continuation request is support for subsequent years where the project is approved already for a full cycle of funding.  Renewals request is for additional support after the funding cycle has been completed.
  • Supplemental proposals are submitted when funding is needed for additional work on the project.
  • Revisions of elements of proposals/budgets are at the request of sponsor.
  • Transfer of proposals occurs when a PI transfers to a new institution.  Certain sponsors require action by both institutions.

The OSP Office will keep you informed of funding opportunities through the Grant Development web site or by emailing the information to you.

Proposal Process (if proposal is to be written by PI)

Pre-Award Process

  1. Contact the Director of Grant Development once you identify the need for a project and submit the PI Position Request Form.
  2. Find a funding source by checking Funding Opportunities.  
  3. Complete an Intent to Apply Form , and submit it to the Director of Grant Development
  4. Download an application package from the agency website and forward a copy of agency solicitation to OSP.  The solicitation has to be reviewed by OSP to ensure compliance with agency requirements and CFCC policies.   
  5. Consult with OSP to obtain all costs relating to budget.  OSP will provide you with information you may need on wages, fringe benefits and indirect costs and will assist you in preparing the budget in the format that has been provided in the package.  To help you in preparing the budget, please check the Budget Components for information on Pre-Award needs.  OSP will work with you to finalize the budget so that it conforms to guidelines of agency and CFCC. 
  6. Follow deadlines for submission of proposal to OSP and the funding agency.  It is the responsibility of the PI to have all aspects of the proposal in its final form for submission.  The proposal has to be submitted by OSP with approved forms and signatures.
  7. Check the Services offered by OSP.

Proposal Process (if the proposal is to be written by OSP)

Pre-Award Process

  1. Contact OSP, once you identify the need for a project.  You have to identify yourself as the Principal Investigator (PI) and complete the PI Position Request Form.
  2. Complete an Intent to Apply Form , and submit it to OSP
  3. Set up an initial meeting with OSP to discuss the information necessary to write the proposal.  You will be responsible for:
  • Providing the background information for the need for the project
  • The population that you will be serving
  • Objectives and goals
  • Outcome
  • Deadlines



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411 North Front Street
Wilmington, NC 28401

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Castle Hayne, NC 28429

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Burgaw, NC 28425

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