Proposal Guidelines

A. General Instructions

In preparing a proposal, applicants should realize that the RSC is a multidisciplinary group whose members may not have expertise in the applicant’s field. Please avoid jargon whenever possible, and explain clearly any technical terms and procedures that are critical to the proposal.

All proposals must be submitted through the RSC website. Proposers are strongly encouraged to work with their RSC representative in advance of submitting an application.

     The application form requires:

  • Demographic Information (Online Form)
  • Compliance Information (IRB, IACUC [Online Form])
  • Budget (File Upload)
  • Budget Narrative with Detail (File Upload)
  • Previous RSC Funding Information (Online Form)
  • Project Narrative (File Upload)
    • Objectives
    • Significance
    • Methodology/Work Plan
    • Deliverables/Dissemination
    • References Cited (If applicable)
  • Abbreviated Vitae of all key personnel (2 Pages each [File Upload])
  • Appendices (e.g. figures, tables, relevant instruments [File Upload])

Graduate Student Proposals should follow the same format, but may exclude the previous projects funded by RSC form.

See Section C. for submission instructions.

NOTE: All RSC forms are available at the following website:

All information requested must be provided in the format specified. For this reason ALL FACULTY AND GRADUATE STUDENTS MUST MEET WITH THEIR RSC REPRESENTATIVE TO THOROUGHLY REVIEW AND DISCUSS THE PROPOSAL. This should be scheduled before the program deadline in order to provide adequate time for any necessary revisions to the proposal.

Proposals not adhering to the published RSC guidelines will not be considered for funding.

B. Guide to Writing

1. Project Narrative

Proposals submitted to the RSC differ in nature as a consequence of our different support programs and the different activities proposed.  In all cases, proposals should include the following sections in the Project Narrative:

a. Objectives. This section should clearly state the purpose of the project, e.g. the questions/issues/hypotheses/creative activity to be addressed.

b. Research Significance. The applicant should establish the importance of the proposed project in relation to the field of study and the applicant’s professional activities and development. This may include a brief literature review to establish the theoretical background of the project.

c. Methodology and Work Plan. This section should contain a description of the project design and methods to be used or activities to be executed in completing the project.  The nature of this information will vary depending on the type of project proposed. The applicant should also provide a timetable for completing the major components of the project. Note that the RSC does not fund retroactively. When co-investigators are involved, please explain the role and anticipated contributions of each.

d. Deliverable/Dissemination Plan. This section should describe how the results of this project will be shared with outside audiences. The RSC looks favorably upon, and may give priority to, projects that may lead to external funding proposals. If applicable, please briefly explain your external funding plan (when, where, etc.). Projects likely to result in publication may be given priority.

e. References Cited.

2. Budget

a. The detailed budget should be included in the budget narrative and should itemize and categorize expenses (personnel, student assistants, travel, supplies, equipment, consultants, participant payment, etc.). A budget template is available from the RSC website and is printed later in this booklet.

b. Budgets should include support by the department, college, and other funding sources.

c. Examples of acceptable support by the department may include paper, stationary, postage, telephone, basic equipment for lab work, computers, printers, cameras, etc. that are part of that department’s normal operation. Proposals that seek to purchase project material or equipment ordinarily provided by the department must include matching funds from department or college and demonstrate a broader than project use. The idea being that the cost is above and beyond what a department or the college could absorb by itself.

d. Travel requests should be limited to major expenses such as plane tickets and hotels. In-state travel will be calculated at .30/mile but must be extensive to be considered. The budget narrative for travel should explain why the trip is a necessary part of the project and why existing communications technology will not suffice.

e. Meals should be for overnight extended trips and not “to cover lunch” during a day-trip. These expenses could be listed as an individual, department/college contribution.

f. If the researcher needs to engage the services of someone to complete the research, services must be paid by the university and not out-of-pocket by the researcher.

C. Submission of Proposals

All applications must be submitted electronically. A complete application includes the online form and abbreviated CVs of key personnel, letters of support, and instruments.

Please contact your RSC representative or the Office of Sponsored Programs if you have questions or problems with this process.