Pre-Award Proposal Development - Office of Sponsored Programs - Christopher Newport University

Office of Sponsored Programs

Pre-Award Proposal Development

Pivot: Members of Christopher Newport University are eligible to utilize COS, a robust funding and collaborator search tool.

  • Creating a profile and searches on Pivot can assist in honing scholarly pursuits by developing accurate key words.
  • Contact OSP with research or sponsored program of interest. OSP helps with searches and is vigilant at scanning for topical opportunities and reference materials.
  • When a sponsor or funding opportunity is identified, let OSP know. OSP reviews guidelines and prepares for the proposal.
  • OSP assists to create a budget and budget justification, the fiscal narrative of the proposal.
  • Beginning the proposal requires gaining institutional approval accomplished by the electronic Proposal Summary Form (ePSF). This form needs to be completed two weeks prior to the submission date. The PI should first download the necessary budget form (Cost share budget) and the PI Certification before starting to complete the ePSF.
  • Once the ePSF is complete with the budget and certification forms uploaded, the PI simply submits the form and it will be routed.

In pieces or as one proposal?

  • OSP recommends that Principal Investigators send pieces of their proposal for review as they are developing the total proposal. OSP reviews for sponsor and institutional compliance, editing, flow and formatting.
  • Versions using naming conventions to ensure the latest version is being worked on will be returned.
  • OSP builds federal and non-federal applications.


  • OSP recommends that the Principal Investigator be present at submission for any last minute questions.
  • Sponsor may provide a decision dates in the guidelines. The federal government estimates six months to decision.
  • After submission do not rethink the proposal. Once submitted it can not be changed.


  • When sponsor notification is made, please contact OSP as soon as possible. The outcomes can be 1) full award; 2) reduced award; 3) or not funded.
    • OSP issues a Notice of Grant Award to the CNU community establishing a Banner account and granting the Principal Investigator access to CNULive.
    • OSP in consultation with the Principal Investigator negotiates the reduced scope of work and terms and conditions with the sponsor in order to ensure that the fiscal narrative is valid.
    • OSP will ask for reviewer comments if provided to ensure our service is the best it can be and help to integrate into a re-submission.

We provide:

  • RFP interpretation
  • Preparation assistance for program officer contact
  • Budget development
  • electronic Proposal Summary Form for Institutional Approval-required
  • Proposal reviews
    • Editorial
    • Formatting
    • Suggestions regarding resources or strengthening a proposal
    • Sponsor guideline compliance
  • Submission
  • Notification of grant award and request banner account and access to review Financial Status
  • Don't hesitate to ask - we'll try to help in every way!

This guide is prepared with a focus on the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health in Compliance with the Office of Management and Budget guidance. Other agencies such as the United States Department of Education, the Department of Defense, the Department of Justice and others have agency specific guidance. The Office of Sponsored Programs is prepared to assist with proposals to all agencies and foundations.

When working with OSP, please remember to use a tight version control naming convention and to always save word documents as .docx.

Resources can be found by clicking the link below:

*Please bear in mind that generally purchases must be made through institutional processes such as eVA, which seek out minority-SWAM- vendors, not necessarily the best priced vendors. Consideration should be given to this during the budgeting process.

Please contact the Purchasing Department when budgeting for individual purchases as Small, Women and Minority (SWaM) vendor quotes will be required. The Purchasing Department can provide you with lists of SWaM vendors for specific purchases.

Christopher Newport University hires faculty for their knowledge, skills, abilities and intangibles that make them the best teacher/scholars. The value of CNU faculty must be reflected on a proposal's budget reflecting anticipated effort on the project.

In all cases, you must adhere to the CNU policy regarding responsible conduct in research. Proof of a plan and, post-award, proof of implementation of that plan are required.

Examples of successful proposals can be found by clicking the link below:

  • Library subscription to the foundation directory online
  • Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)
  • Institutional Review Board (IRB) for the Protection of Human Subjects
  • Library contacts
  • Library funding resources
  • Faculty resources at the library
  • Business office (contact for: travel forms and rates, AP14 forms, hiring students, post award management)
  • Office of Institutional Research, Analysis, & Reports (IRAR) Statistics site
  • Deans
  • Departmental chairs
  • Faculty peers

RCR Resources:

  • CITI Responsible Conduct in Research Training Modules

Sponsor Resources

  • NIH Financial Conflict of Interest Training - Required by NIH Funded Faculty every four years
  • Foundation center newsletters
  • Office of Research Integrity (ORI) Case Studies for Responsible Conduct of Research
  • National Science Foundation
  • NIH (National Institutes of Health (NIH) 2016 New AREA Program Resources
  • NCJRS (National Criminal Justice Resources Center)
  • U.S. Department of Education
  • EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)
  • NASA

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