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Proposal Development

For questions, contact

Application Development

for sponsored projects at South Dakota State University

[ ] Review funding opportunity announcement (e.g., RFA, RFP, NOFO, FOA, solicitation, etc.)

  • Are you and SDSU eligible to apply?
  • What is the deadline?
  • What is the budget limit?
  • Is cost share required?
  • What is the project period?
  • Does the F&A rate vary from SDSU’s negotiated rate?
  • Is submission by PI or AOR?
  • Do you need to register with the sponsor?

[ ] Visit with the unit director or department head regarding your effort, budget and support needs.

[ ] Gather your team, including project personnel, advisers or consultants, and support specialist(s).

[ ] Meet with a grant analyst or specialist to review budget guidelines and draft a budget.

[ ] Do you require contracts or agreements? Learn more at the division's contracts and agreements page

[ ] Will you require human subjects (IRB), animal subjects (IACUC), or biosafety (IBC) review? If so, familiarize yourself with the relevant requirements.

[ ] Prepare the application per sponsor guidelines. Required items may include:

  • Personnel Documents: Biographical sketch or CV, current and pending support, COI or collaborators and other affiliations.
  • Project summary or abstract (NIH: abstract and narrative)
  • Project description (NSF), narrative (USDA) or research methods (NIH)
  • References cited or bibliography
  • Budget and budget justification: Review sponsor guidelines for requirements.
  • Supplementary documents: Data management plan, project management plan, facilities and equipment, post-doc management plan (NSF), logic model and similar.
  • Letters of commitment, collaboration, or support: Review sponsor guidelines for requirements.

[ ] Gather subaward documents for SDSU administration, in addition to sponsor requirements.

  • Budget and budget justification
  • Letter of commitment addressed to SDSU (see
  • Statement of work from subaward personnel.
  • Subaward v contractual form (available in the routing form; also required for the contractor).

[ ] Submit your project for administrative approval (aka routing or funding routing request)

  • PIs must submit for approval at least 7 business days before the submission deadline.
  • Information and documents you need:
    • Project title and abstract
    • SDSU personnel information and fund numbers
    • Prepared budget and budget justification (recommend using SDSU templates)
    • Application guidelines (e.g. RFA, RFP, NOFO, FOA, solicitation, etc)
    • Guidelines for F&A limit or cost share/match
    • Subaward documents for SDSU
    • Cost share/match source
  • Tip: You can save the form to complete later.
  • For smoother approval, review the budget with the grant analyst or specialist prior to submitting routing.

[ ] Notify AOR Authorized Organization Representative in the Division of Research when the application is ready for submission. We highly encourage submission at least two days before the deadline.

Applications on

First, review the instructions to register an ID with and link it to a required account.

Thenaffiliate your profile with SDSU as an Organization Applicant. Use SDSU UEI DNZNC466DGR7 when requested. You will need a "workspace manager" role to initiate and manage a workspace and apply for an opportunity in This role is assigned by an AOR in the Division of Research. Users do not need this role to participate in a workspace application.

Next Steps: How to create a workspace.

USDA NIFA application guidance

The USDA NIFA Grants Application Guide (July 2023) lays out instructions for applying to USDA NIFA. The agency uses Workspace within for application submissions. A ID and affiliation to SDSU is needed to prepare a Workspace.

The Grants Application Guide serves as the umbrella guidance for USDA NIFA. Always refer to the funding opportunity announcement (e.g. RFA) for specific requirements. The RFA instructions supersede the instructions in the Guide.

NIFA Application Support Templates include those for conflict of interest (COI), project summary and current and pending support.

Personnel documents: Refer to the application guide for the biographical sketch (page 47), current and pending (page 48), and conflict of interest (page 81). USDA does not have a required template for the biographical sketch.

If a logic model is required, see Logic Model Planning: and refer to the NIFA Generic Logic Model example

A Data Management Plan is required for all competitive grants programs.

Register for an account at Affiliate your account with SDSU via ‘My Profile’ then ‘My Roles/Add a New Role’ You will select the ‘Add Investigator’ or ‘Authorized User Role’. Use UEI DNZNC466DGR7 to affiliate with SDSU.

Submit applications using NSF also accepts applications via, however, we recommend using for smoother compliance checks.

NSF requires these senior personnel documents:  biographical sketch, current and pending support and collaborators and other affiliations (COA) documents. 
Personnel must use SciENcv for creating the biographical sketch and current and pending support to fit NSF guidelines. Visit the site for video tutorials and help documentation.

Prepare your data management plan (DMP) according to NSF’s general guidance. You may also find guidance specific to directorates and/or divisions for your DMP. PIs can also use to generate their plans. The tool includes prompts and SDSU-specific language (log in using SSO).

If you use LaTeX to create your proposal, NSF offers a library of LaTeX templates on GitHub.

General Advice on Writing Proposals to the National Science Foundation (2015). Note, while the general advice may be applicable, refer to the current NSF proposal guide for specific application instructions.

To register with eRA Commons ID, used to access ASSIST, contact the Division's Grant Development Specialist at 605-688-6057 or email Jessica Andrews

Learn more about the types of grants available through NIH, including the R series for research, K series for career development and the T and F series for training and fellowships.

Review the NIH biosketch format instructions. Personnel should use scienCV to create this document for their proposals.

The agency issued new guidance and policy, effective January 2023, around data management and sharing (DMS). NIH offers additional guidance on how to create a DMS plan.

This one page guide provides information on rigor and reproducibility in NIH applications.

Working with external collaborators can serve to expand a project's capacity, impact and opportunity for success. These relationships can take different forms based on the nature of the work and of the collaborator.

A subaward (to a subrecipient) means the lead organization is a pass-through for the award to their collaborator. A subawardee is responsible to the objective's of the project and programmatic decision-making. A subawardee is responsible for providing a budget and other proposal documents to the lead organization during proposal development.

A contractor provides goods and services to the project and is not responsible to the project's objectives or decision-making. The goods and services a contractor provides are part of their normal business operations.

The federal rule determining subrecipient and contractor status helps differentiate the roles.

A project lead may choose to use an adviser or a consultant as an unfunded collaborator or a contractor, depending on the nature and length of the relationship. Refer to the sponsor's guidance to learn how to document an unfunded collaborator in the application.

Routing for Admin Approval

A routing form is a shorthand for our online form that you submit for administrative approval of sponsored projects. If you are applying for grant funding or are working with a sponsor for a funded project, you are required to submit a routing form.

Submit project details via the SDSU routing form (InsideState). Applicants are to initiate this approval process at least seven (7) working days prior to submission deadlines per the university policy (Policy 8.3: University Reporting of Applications for External Funding).

The routing is reviewed by your department head or director, your college's associate dean for research, the Grants & Contracts Administration and the Division of Research and Economic Development. Depending on project details, the form may also be reviewed by Facilities & Services (construction and remodeling), Office of Information Technology (software or computing needs), or the vice president for research (research and scholarship incentive plan).

The routing form also provides specific details about the project that Grants & Contracts Administration will use to set up your project once awarded.

Key Information and documents needed for a routing form:

  • Project title and abstract
  • SDSU personnel information and fund numbers
  • Prepared budget and budget justification (recommend using SDSU templates)
  • Proposal guidelines (e.g. RFA, RFP, solicitation, funding opportunity announcement, etc)
  • Guidelines for F&A limit or cost share/match
  • Documents from subawardees - letter of commitment, budget and justification, and statement of work
  • Cost share/match source
  • Contractor vs. Subaward form (linked in the routing form; if the project has a contractor or subaward)

Tip: You can save the form to complete later.

For smoother approval, review the budget with a college grant specialist or a grant analyst in the Office of Grants and Contracts Administration.

Routing Form (Internal)

The incentive plan encourages faculty and eligible professional staff to secure externally-funded sponsorship for research, scholarship, and creative activity and rewards them for their successes. The program offers a one-time incentive payment if the grant budget includes base salary and fringe benefits (not summer salary) and generates indirect (F&A) costs. See the policy for greater detail.

To be considered for the program, personnel must indicate as such on the Key Project Personnel compliance questions from the routing form. This is then reviewed for eligibility during the administrative review process.

View the Policy

Submission and Just in Time

During the review process, a sponsor may contact the applicant for additional information regarding their proposal. Sometimes, these requests precede a recommendation for funding.

Common post-submission requests include:

  • Budget revisions and clarifications
  • Proposal clarifications or response to reviewers
  • Abstract for public use
  • Additional or revised administrative documents
  • Updated personnel documents, such as current and pending support
  • Confirmation of IRB or IACUC review and approval (human subjects or animal subjects)

If a budget revision is requested, the revised budget must be shared with the Office of Grants & Contracts Administration for review and record keeping. Work with your college grant coordinator, as well, in preparing a response to the sponsor.

NIH uses a formal procedure called “Just In Time” to request additional information. Program officers will notify applicants, typically by email, with instructions. Information is then submitted via eRA Commons. Standard requests include certification of IRB or IACUC approval and documentation of other support.

NSF’s proposal guide outlines the proposal processing and review procedures. Program officers will contact an applicant directly, often through email, with requests for information. If a proposal is under consideration for funding, a PO will request a public abstract and updated current & pending support documents for senior personnel.

If a sponsor intends to fund a proposal but at an amount less than what was requested in the budget, the agency may request a revised budget. If a PI is asked by a funder to revise a proposed budget, a new routing form is not required. The following steps should be completed before the submission of a revised budget to a sponsor agency:

  • Update the routing budget and have GCA review and approve.

If changes to Key Personnel notify the Division of Research so that it can be removed before awarded. It may affect the budget as well. Let us know who will replace that individual or if others will increase their effort.

The AVP for Research Development and Administration is responsible for negotiating with sponsors to obtain mutually acceptable terms and conditions that will allow SDSU to accept the award in accordance with federal regulations, sponsor policies, South Dakota law, and SDSU policies and practices. Award terms that generally require negotiation include:

  • publication rights
  • intellectual property
  • indemnification
  • governing law/jurisdiction
  • confidentiality
  • payment/invoicing terms

The need to establish advance fund may arise when:

  • SDSU has received an award but spending is necessary prior to the official start date of the project so expenses will fall outside the period of performance of an award.
  • Spending is necessary prior to the receipt of an award but expenses will fall within the anticipated period of performance of an award.

To initiate advance spending, the Principal Investigator (PI) completes the Request for Advance Fund Form that includes the following: routing number, any restrictions on the dollar amount and/or time restrictions, and documentation of the sponsor's intent to fund the project. If the Department Head/Director or Dean approves the request, they should include an acknowledgment that the department/college assumes responsibility for any expenses not reimbursed by the sponsor. This approval and documentation should then be forwarded to GCA. Approval is contingent on the above criteria and satisfactory completion of applicable compliance requirements (IACUC, IRB, IBC and COI).

Advance Spending Funds are not allowed on a project with a Private (non-governmental) entity per SDSU 3P Guide to Practices and Agreements.


Serving as a peer reviewer for a sponsor is an excellent way to learn about the sponsor, see the process from the review side, and understand what might make a good proposal. It can also be an opportunity to network with colleagues and program officers and serve your research community.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS, 2020) presents in these slides the benefits, aspects and process of being a reviewer.

Generally, to be considered as a reviewer, contact the program officer for the area in which you’re interested. Often, they will request background information, including your biographical sketch or CV.

For specific programs and agencies:

List of Glossaries:

Common Terms

  • Biographical Sketch or Biosketch: A personnel’s list of training, appointments, publications, etc., like a CV or resume. Refer to sponsor guidelines for specific formatting and information requested.
  • Budget: An estimate of a project’s costs. This can include salary, benefits, materials and supplies, travel, publications, contractual, equipment, etc.
  • Budget justification: A detailed narrative to explain and support the line items and categories in the budget request
  • Collaborative (NSF): multi-organization application, typically with subawards but sometimes submitted separately & simultaneously. If submitted simultaneously, each organization prepares an application in RGOV, which is linked within the system.
  • Consortium (NIH): collaborative or proposal with a subaward
  • Cost-share: Funds or in-kind provided by the application toward project costs per sponsor requirements. Cost-share is a portion of the project budget. Ex: 25% cost share on a $1,000 project is $250; $750 award + $250 cost share = $1,000 project budget
  • Indirect rate or Indirect costs, see also F&A: Defined in 2 CFR 200 (Uniform Guidance) as costs that are "incurred for common or joint objectives and therefore cannot be readily and specifically with a particular sponsored project and instructional activity or any other institutional activity." These can be referred to as overhead costs, indirect costs, or facilities and administration costs (F&A).
  • Key Personnel: Personnel who are key to a project and the direction of the project
  • Match: Funds or in-kind provided to supplement the funding request per sponsor requirements. Match is above the project budget. Ex: 25% match on a $1,000 request is $250; $1,000 award + $250 match = $1,250 project budget
  • Participant Support Costs (PSC): Costs budgeted to support participants in a project or program. Participants are non-employees who are provided training or workshops, for example, as part of a sponsored project. Costs may include stipends, per diem, lodging, travel and scholarships.
  • Prime: also known as the lead institution
  • Senior Personnel: Project personnel who are key to a project and have input in the direction of a project. Often, senior personnel provide quantified effort and are salaried on a project.
  • Solicitation: Announcement requesting or soliciting proposals for funding (typically seen at NSF)
  • Subaward (also known as a subcontract): A subaward is provided to another organization under a lead (or prime) organization that receives the award. The lead manages the award and passes funds to the subaward organization.
  • Tuition Remission (TR): Funds charged to a project in relation to tuition provided to a graduate research assistant.

Administrative Acronyms

  • AO: Administrative Official
  • AOR: Authorized Organization Representative
  • EIN: Employer Identification Number
  • F&A: Facilities & Administration
  • NICRA: Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement (see F&A)
  • RICO: Research, Integrity & Compliance Office or Officer
  • SAM: System for Award Management
  • UEI: Unique Entity Identifier (issued through SAM to do business with the federal govt)
  • SPO: Sponsored Projects Office
  • TTO: Technology Transfer Office or Officer
  • URC: University Research Council (SDSU)

Proposal Acronyms

  • C&P or CPS: Current and Pending Support (list of current and pending grants and proposals)
  • CFDA: Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance
  • COA or COI: Collaborators and Other Affiliations (NSF) or Conflicts of Interest (USDA, DoD, DOE)
  • EPSCoR: Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research
  • FOA: Funding Opportunity Announcement
  • GRA: Graduate Research Assistant
  • JIT: Just In Time (NIH)
  • LOC: Letter of Commitment or Letter of Collaboration
  • LOI: Letter of Intent
  • LOS: Letter of Support
  • NOA: Notice of Award
  • NOFO: Notice of Funding Opportunity
  • OAU (NSF): Other Authorized User
  • PA: Parent Announcement (NIH)
  • PI: Principal Investigator (the project’s lead personnel)
  • PD: Project Director or Program Director
  • PO: Program Officer, typically with a federal agency’s grants program
  • STTR: Small Business Technology Transfer
  • SBIR: Small Business Innovation Research

Read about the policies under these sections on the university’s Policies and Procedures:

Section 2

  • 2:23 Public Access

Section 5

  • 5:1 Contract, Agreement and Memorandum of Understanding Review and Approval
  • 5:8 Service Centers
  • 5:15 Employee Travel
  • 5:22 Research Subject and Incentive Payments
  • 5:27 Fixed Price Award Residual Balances
  • 5:29 Cost Share
  • 5:30 Participant Support Costs on Sponsored Projects
  • 5:31 Program Income from Sponsored Projects
  • 5:32 Charging Direct Costs on Sponsored Projects
  • 5:33 Cost Transfers on Sponsored Projects
  • 5:34 Minimum Effort on Sponsored Projects
  • 5:36 Department Responsibilities with University Funds
  • 5:39 Award and Budget Revision to Sponsored Projects
  • 5:40 Expenditure Monitoring of Sponsored Projects

Section 8

  • 8:1 Export Controls
  • 8:2 Responsible Conduct of Research Training
  • 8:3 University Reporting of Applications for External Funding
  • 8:4 Indirect Cost Recovery (F&A)
  • 8:5 Institutional Biosafety
  • 8:6 Institutional Animal Care and Use
  • 8:7 Protection of Human Subjects
  • 8:8 Sponsored Programs Risk Management Fund
  • 8:9 Research Infrastructure Improvement Fund
  • 8:10 Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)
  • 8:11 Dual Use Research of Concern
  • 8:12 Research, Scholarly and Creative Activity Misconduct

Section 9

  • 9:2 Intellectual Property Disclosure and Management
  • 9:4 Copyright

Section 12

  • 12.5.1 PI Responsibility
  • 12.5.4 Advance Fund Setup

Public Impact Research (Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities): The APLU defines public impact research (PIR) as any research that benefits the public. The site offers examples of PIR and an activation guide for best practices and recommendations.

What are Broader Impacts? (ARIS from NSF, 2023)

Communicating Science Workshops (American Association for the Advancement of Science): AAAS no longer host workshops as of July 2022. For resources, visit Communicating Science Seminar and the Communication Toolkit.

Advancing Research Impact in Society (ARIS): The purpose of ARIS is to advance impacts of research for the betterment of society and the expansion of research.

  • Broader Impacts Toolkit (hosted by ARIS)
  • ARIS Resources: Including BI toolkit, inclusive science communication, outreach and engagement resources and activities, webinars and more.
  • Broader Impacts Guiding Principles 2.0: The guiding principles and questions component breaks down each of the five criteria by which NSF reviewers are instructed to review the broader impacts of a proposal. It also includes principles and questions to consider when developing a plan to address the criteria (ARIS).

COMPASS Science Communication offers The Message Box and Core Principles of Science Communication. The Message Box tool allows users to develop their message for any number of channels and audiences.