“What makes a good proposal?” A good proposal stems from a good concept. The best proposals are those to which the reviewers respond, “Of course, I wish I had thought of that!” [NSF, A Guide for Proposal Writing]

It is important to strike a balance between the principal investigator’s (PI’s) proposal concept and how that concept fits into the sponsoring agencies funding interests.  OSP advises PIs to actively reach out to agency program officers to discuss ‘fit’ of their concept with agency interests prior to proposal development.

Fundable concepts are diverse depending on the PI’s academic area, ranging from a problem to be solved, a hypothesis to be tested, a societal need to be met, or an artistic project to be pursued.

The proposal should be written in sufficient detail to allow reviewers to understand:

  • What the project hopes to accomplish;
  • If the project personnel have the necessary expertise to accomplish the goals and objectives;
  • The broader societal impacts and cost effectiveness of the project;
  • What does project success look like.