# Proposal Development

## Questions to ask before preparing a proposal

Proposal development involves the preparation, review and submission of a grant application. Following are questions to ask BEFORE preparing a proposal.

To determine whether an award will be considered sponsored, and thus should be routed to your Sponsored Programs Administration (SPA) office for review and authorization, consider the following:

• Source of funding. A sponsored award is funded by an external (non-Harvard) source. Types of external sponsors include federal, state and local government, foundation, foreign/international, and industry.
• Type of award. Sponsored awards can be classified into three categories:  grants, cooperative agreements, and contracts. Some grants can be classified as gifts, and as such would be managed outside of your sponsored programs office. There are several factors involved in determining whether an award should be classified as a sponsored grant or a gift, and your sponsored programs office can aid you in this determination.

#### Does the sponsor require institutional support?

Agencies sponsoring major projects, such as center grants, sometimes require the submitting institution to show support for the project by offering to contribute in some way, termed “Institutional Support”.  The support is detailed in a letter attached to the proposal, but it is not considered to be part of the project budget.  Institutional support expenses are not added to the research base when calculating the Facilities and Administration (F&A) rate. This differs from “cost-sharing”, which is defined as direct expenses for a sponsored project that are borne by the institution rather than the sponsor.

If you are SPH faculty and wish to learn more about requesting Institutional Support for a funding proposal, please see the SPH Institutional Support Process Overview.

Please also note the National Institutes of Health (NIH) policy on the acceptance for review of unsolicited applications that request $500,000 or more in direct costs (DC) in any one year: applicants must seek agreement to accept assignment from NIH Institute/Center staff at least 6 weeks prior to the submission of any application meeting or exceeding the$500k DC limit.