The preparation of a competitive proposal is a time-consuming process. Before beginning, principal investigators or project directors should review agency program descriptions and talk with program officers to ensure the compatibility of the proposed research or project with funding agency priorities, and the availability of funds.

Pre-submission Review

When the funding agency permits, Principal Investigators should take advantage of opportunities to submit concept papers, preproposals, or other project descriptions for pre-submission review and comment.

Proposal Preparation Help

Proposal preparation "tip sheets" and "how-to" books, e-mail address and telephone numbers for program officers are all available from The Office of Sponsored Programs. In addition, Davidson College is fortunate to have many faculty members who have been successful grant writers, who have served on review panels and who are willing to read and comment on proposal drafts written by others. Contact The Office of Sponsored Programs for more information.

Submission Process

When planning the amount of time the submission process will take, there are several factors to consider-internal review time, deadlines, form completion, and photocopying and mailing.

Internal Review Time

The applicant is responsible for allowing sufficient time for orderly proposal review and processing.


Target or postmark deadlines require five working days for review and signature.

Receipt deadlines require eight working days.

Preparation & Submission of Applications

The Office of Sponsored Programs is happy to assist you with the setup, preparation, and submission of any component of your proposal application given sufficient time. Most proposals are submitted via online portals, and the OSP is equipped to set up proposals, complete application forms, and upload documents for submission. All parts of the proposal are checked against guidelines for compliance and completeness before submission. If it is necessary to follow up the online submission with mailing a hardcopy of any documentation to the funding agency, the OSP will take care of the mailing, incurring the cost in most situations. However, if an expensive overnight charge is necessary because of lack of sufficient time, the charge will be passed on to the Principal Investigator. [NOTE:  All federal institutional proposals, such as proposals to the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and to any other federal agency being submitted via, Fastlane, and other federal portals, must be submitted by the Office of Sponsored Programs.]

If you would like assistance with the set up and preparation of your proposal, please contact The Office of Sponsored Programs at 704-894-2181.