Prepare Proposals

Old Main TowerPrincipal Investigators do not have the authority to submit proposals on their own. Investigators should contact their college/unit research administrator as soon as they learn of a funding opportunity. This is to ensure sufficient time to develop an appropriate cost proposal, complete all sponsor-required forms and certifications, and secure all required approvals. Approval is evidenced by signatures on the proposal and on the University’s Internal Approval Form (IAF).  After the Principal Investigator (PI) and any co-investigators have signed the IAF, the proposal must be signed by all designated approvers, which may include the investigators’ Department Heads, Associate Deans, Campus Chancellors, and/or Campus Directors of Academic Affairs. The Associate Vice President for Research/Director of Sponsored Programs and his or her authorized delegates serve as the final approver.

Timeline for Submission: Principal Investigators ought to provide proposal preparation staff ample time to ensure sponsor guidelines are followed; budgets adhere to RA21 - Development of a Proposal Budget; required approvals are secured; and all forms, representations, and certifications are accurate and complete. Proposals requiring institutional cost-sharing and/or comment on contractual terms and conditions require additional time. Penn State expects all proposals to be submitted during normal business hours (no later than 5 p.m.), even if the sponsor allows for submission after hours.

In this section:


Proposal Guides and Tutorials
Penn State proposal guides and other general information


Write Proposal
Tutorials on how to write a competitive proposal


Develop Budget
Information regarding allowable costs, rates, salary caps, cost-sharing, and budget justification


Internal Approval Forms
Internal Approval Forms (IAFs) must be completed prior to proposal submission. If no formal proposal is submitted, an IAF must be completed at the time of the award.


Agency Forms and Guidelines
Guidelines and form sets for major federal, state, and other sponsors 

Financial Conflict of Interest and Prospective Subrecipients

The US Public Health Service (PHS) has adopted new regulations (42 CFR Part 50 Subpart F and 45 CFR Part 94) pertaining to Financial Conflict of Interest (FCOI) compliance which will impact proposals being submitted to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other PHS agencies.  In order to comply with the new requirements, the procedures here should be followed prior to submission of the proposal.

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