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Research Symposium featuring many presenters with posterboards.


Now that you have found possible funding sources, it's time to develop a proposal for your project. Research and Sponsored Programs is here to provide the support needed for success in getting your proposal started.

Getting Started

Applying for grant funding can be an intensive process. Once you have found a potential funding opportunity, the first step is to ensure you can answer "yes" to these questions:

  1. Have I read the sponsor's guidelines carefully and completely? Do I understand them?
  2. Is the university eligible, according to those guidelines? Am I also eligible?
  3. Does my team have the expertise to successfully complete project goals?
  4. Do relevant stakeholders support applying for this grant?
  5. Is my team ready to fully implement the project within our estimated budget? Consider the sponsor's requirements, such as evaluation and reporting.

You will then work with one of our pre-award managers throughout the proposal process. Complete the Proposal Intake Form as soon as possible to begin that process. If you have already started a Cayuse record for the proposal, you do not need to complete this form.

  • Reading Funding Opportunities

    Funding opportunity announcements from sponsors will help you see the guidelines and expectations it will take to have a successful proposal.

    Learn About Reading Funding Opportunities

  • General Data for Proposals

    When creating your proposal, specific information about Illinois State is often asked to be included.

    View General Data for Proposals

Creating Your Proposal

Learn the basic components that will make up your proposal.


An abstract should be a brief overview of your project. Most sponsors will provide guidance for abstract requirements.

Scope of Work or Project Narratives

A scope of work or project narrative helps sell the idea of your project to your sponsor and describes all aspects of the project. This can include methodology, goals, who is completing the work, when the work will be completed, expected results, etc.


There are two documents that make up a budget - a numeric description of costs needed for your project, and a budget justification. A budget justification is a brief description of why the costs in your budget are necessary.

Learn about Budget Development


Some proposals ask for biosketches. A biosketch highlights your experience and skills that relate to your research project.

Learn about Biosketches

Institutional Resource Statements

Strong descriptions of institutional resources and support units are essential when writing a successful proposal.

Learn about Resource Statements


Research projects may involve relationships with contractors or subrecipients. A subaward is an agreement with a third party organization to collaborate on a project.

Learn about Subawards

Additional Documents

Sponsors may ask for documents that are specific to the opportunity.