A Quick Guide to Preparing Contract and Grant Proposals
The Sponsored Projects Office (SPO) coordinates submission of proposals and acceptance of awards for grants and contracts at the University of California, Berkeley. Externally funded grants and contracts come to UC Berkeley from many sources, including federal agencies, the State of California, other state and local governments, foundations, and corporations. Employees who receive salary from UC Berkeley or who use University resources or facilities must submit their proposals for externally funded grants and contracts through SPO or the Industry Alliances Office (IAO). See the UC Berkeley Policy on Requirement to Submit Proposals and to Receive Awards.
Qualified members of UC Berkeley’s faculty are authorized to serve as principal investigator or project director (PI or PD) and may submit proposals to outside agencies to seek funds for research or other projects. At Berkeley, voting members of the Academic Senate may serve as PI; others may serve only by special exception to policy. See the UC Berkeley policy on Principal Investigator Status.
The Quick Guide to Proposal Review and Submission for UC Berkeley Faculty provides guidance on submitting proposals. In addition, see the Proposal Checklist for Principal Investigators and the VCR Five Day Proposal Submission Policy.
UC Berkeley subscribes to the Pivot funding opportunities database that may be used to search or browse program announcements from federal and regional government sponsors, foundations, and other organizations. SPO provides additional resources on funding programs and can provide help with funding searches.
State of California law requires disclosure of financial interest in the sponsor if the proposal is for a research project to be funded by a non-governmental source. The disclosure form (Statement of Economic Interests for Principal Investigators-Form 700-U) should accompany the proposal and Proposal Review Form to the Sponsored Projects Office. The UC Office of the President maintains a list of exempt non-governmental entities.
Applicants to the National Science Foundation, the Public Health Service (including the National Institutes of Health), and other agencies that have adopted federal requirements (e.g., American Cancer Society, American Heart Association) must disclose project-related financial interests. Applicants to these agencies must fill out financial disclosure forms. For PHS agencies, the PHS FCOI Policy: Principal Investigator Certification or an email from the PI with the certification language included is also required. This requirement also applies to subcontracts from PHS/NIH or NSF or other agencies that have adopted the federal requirements.
See the Conflict of Interest Committee web site for more information.
If the funding agency does not provide forms or other guidelines, the proposal should include such items as a cover page, an abstract, a technical narrative, a budget and budget justification, and a curriculum vitae and list of recent publications for the PI. See Standard Institutional Information for Proposals.
The proposal budget should be organized to fit the existing University of California sub-budget categories for direct costs: salaries, employee benefits, supplies and materials, equipment, etc. Include indirect costs as a dollar amount separate from the total direct costs. Cost sharing or matching should be specified in the budget if required by the funding agency. See Proposal Budget Basics, Facilities and Administrative (Indirect Cost) Rates, and Salary and Benefits.