Develop Your Proposal

The Office of Research, Innovation, and Economic Development (ORIED) assists faculty and staff with the development of grant and contract proposals to external funding agencies and organizations.  Services provided by ORIED include assistance with the conceptualization of project ideas, refinement of proposal narratives, and development of project budgets.  Additionally, below please find grant writing and other resources to aid in the development of developing competitive proposals for external funding.

Note:  All final proposal elements including a Proposal Approval Form (PAF) signed by your Dean and Chair should be received by ORIED no later than 2 full business days before the submission deadline. Proposals elements received less than 1 full business day before the deadline may be submitted as is. 

Conceptualizing Your Project
Six critical questions to answer before you begin writing your proposal.  Learn more »

Researching Previously Funded Projects
Agency databases of funded projects are a useful tool which can provide a snapshot of a sponsor’s priority areas and can help you avoid proposing something that is similar to a project that has already funded.  Below please find a number of publicly available award databases.     

    • Federal RePORTER Contains detailed, searchable data on Federally funded science projects, grants, and awards.  Agencies reporting data in this system include: NSF, NIH, EPA, NASA, USDA, DoD, CDC, Food and Drug Administration, Administration for Children and Families,  the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Learn more »

    • EPA National Center for Environmental Research (NCER) Searchable by research category or PI name. Contains information on the project, methods used and publications resulting from the research. Learn more »

    • National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Listings of NEA awards accessible by category, discipline, or state. Learn more »

    • National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Listing of NEH awards accessible by year and program name. Learn more »

    • National Institutes of Health (NIH) RePORTER Database of Funded Projects RePORTER (Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tool Expenditures and Results) is a searchable database of federally funded biomedical research projects funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP), Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (AHRQ), and Office of Assistant Secretary of Health (OASH). Learn more »

    • National Science Foundation (NSF) Awardee Database Searchable by PI name or institution, keyword, program name or NSF organization, and includes an abstract and amount funded. Learn more »

    • US Department of Defense (DOD) Congressionally Mandated Research Programs Database Database of DOD funded awards to universities and colleges. Learn more »

    • US Department of Education (ED) Institute of Education Sciences Award Database Contains information on IES grants made in the last several years. Learn more »

    • US Department of Energy Biological and Environmental Research Award Database Contains summaries of the three research areas supported by the program; climate change, environmental remediation, and life and medical sciences. Learn more »

Samples of Successful Proposals
Seeking examples of funded proposals from federal agencies or private foundations?  Contact your Research Development Analyst for assistance.  

Institutional data and resources commonly needed for grant applications to federal and private funding agencies.  Learn more » 

Your Proposal Specialist assists with developing grant budgets and can provide guidance to ensure accurate and comprehensive budgets are proposed resulting in a adequate resources and a smooth transition at the time of award.

Elements of a Budget

Type of Cost


Direct Costs

Costs that can be identified specifically with a particular sponsored project or activity.

  • Personnel:  Salaries, wages, fringe benefits
  • Travel: Transportation, mileage, lodging, meals
  • Equipment: Single items valued  ≥ $3,000
  • Materials & Supplies:  Consumable items including office supplies, laboratory chemicals, glassware
  • Purchased Services:  Services needed to conduct the project
  • Subcontracts:  Work performed by other institutions or organizations
  • Consultants:  Non-CSU personnel providing expertise
  • Other Direct Costs:  Communications, postage, printing , equipment maintenance, incentives for participants

F&A Costs

Costs incurred in support of research and creative activity that cannot be readily identified with a particular sponsored project or other activity. Often referred to as indirect costs.

  • Facilities, operations and maintenance, utilities
  • University-wide administrative activities (HR, payroll, accounting, executive management)
  • Sponsored projects administration
  • Department administration
  • Library operations

For more, please visit the F&A section of our FAQs page.

Direct Costs   +   F&A Costs  =  Total Project Costs

Budget Templates and Resources

Budget Related Policies

Many federal funding agencies, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Science Foundation (NSF), require that grant applications contain data management plans for projects involving data collection.

What constitutes data?

Data is determined by each academic community/field. Data may include, but is not limited to data, publications, samples, physical collections, software, and models.

Data management at Sacramento State

Sacramento State is a member of the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Science Research (ICPSR). As members, political and social science-related data can be stored at no cost in their archives. Click here, for additional details about housing data with ICPSR.

Preparing Data Management Plans (DMPs)

    • DMPTool – An online DMP generator developed by the University of California and other major research institutions for use by researchers at any institution.

    • Elements of a DMP – Developed by Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Science Research (ICPSR).

    • DMP FAQs - From the National Science Foundation.  

Policies on Data Management

Peer reviewers benefit by gaining first-hand knowledge of the review process, learning the common grant writing pitfalls and discovering strategies to write strong proposals. The following agencies are currently seeking proposal reviewers:

    • Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS)
      CNCS is seeking reviewers for its Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Social Innovation Fund. To sign up, visit here.

    • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
      To increase the pool of un-conflicted reviewers NASA is seeking subject matter experts to serve as mail-in reviewers of proposals and/or in-person reviewers to engage in discussions at a face-to-face panel meeting. New researchers are welcome to apply as they provide fresh insight from people close to the most current research. To be added to the pool, visit here.
    • National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)

      Want to better understand the NEA review process? There is no better way than becoming an NEA reviewer. The Arts Education Office needs dedicated people to ensure a quality assessment of each application for direct learning, professional development, and collective impact projects.  If you are interested in being considered, please complete the Volunteer to be a Panelist form here.

    • National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)
      NEH relies on the advice of humanities scholars and experts in other relevant fields in evaluating grant applications.  For more on signing up to be a reviewer, go to

    • National Institutes of Health (NIH) 
      The NIH Center for Scientific Review appoints study section members and temporary reviewers. Study section membership is generally a four-year commitment of three meetings per year. To be considered as a reviewer, visit »
    • National Science Foundation (NSF) 
      To become a NSF peer reviewer, contact the program officer(s) of the directorate(s) or division(s) that fit your expertise, introduce yourself and your research experience, let them know that you want to become a peer reviewer for their program, ask when the next panel will be held, and offer to send a 2-page CV.   For the Division of Chemistry first time reviewers can also sign up via an online sign up form.
    • US Department of Agriculture Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) Reviewer 
      To be considered as a potential reviewer for CSREES, send an e-mail message with your name, department, institution, and area(s) of expertise (limit to 4 or 5 keywords) to

    • US Department of Education 
      The U.S. Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education , Higher Education Programs is seeks peer reviewers via their Online Field Reader Application Form.

Find answers to commonly asked proposal preparation questions such as “Who can be a Principal Investigator (PI)?”  Learn more