DePaul University Research Services > Pre-Award Services > Proposal Development, Review & Approval > Proposal Components

Proposal Components

The format or presentation of a proposal will depend on the requirements of the sponsor to whom you are applying. Most sponsors have developed policies and procedures for the submission of proposals and are likely to require the use of specific application forms. Others may be less directive. In any case, PIs should consult the most recent versions of funding agency guidelines and should follow the required proposal format. Office of Research Services (ORS) Pre-Award staff are available to download and email application forms and guidelines in support of your planned submission.

The following may be used as a guide to components of the proposal, in absence of agency-specific requirements: ​

Title Page/Cover Page

​Include the title and duration of the project, amount requested, name and address of the PI and of the institutional contact (Office of Research Services)

Abstract or Proposal Summary

Describe the objectives, methodology and significance of the proposed project. The abstract should be able to stand alone, be written in terms understandable to a lay audience, and should provide the reader with a first impression of the planned project. ​


Should specifically and concisely state the importance/significance of the research/project being proposed. ​

Description of the Project/Proposal Narrative

This document is the heart of the proposal and should describe what is to be undertaken and how it will be accomplished. You may wish to explore the general background of the current or previous research in the field as well as describe the proposed program of work. ​

Bibliography/References Cited

​A listing of references cited in the proposal narrative.


Should be submitted for all proposed project key personnel, indicating background, professional interests, research capabilities and publications. It is recommended that this document be concise and tailored to the proposed project. Lengths exceeding 4-5 pages are rarely recommended. ​

Budget and Budget Justification

These documents should reflect a reasonable estimate of expenses necessary to conduct the project. ORS staff can assist you with calculating the budget and /or most recent institutional rates and methods of rate calculation. Additional information is also available on the Budget Guidelines​​ section of this website. ​

Facilities and Resources

This proposal section describes equipment or other relevant to the proposed project. Examples of such resources include: laboratory and office space, library resources, animal facilities, computer services or equipment. Resources may also include items such as support for early stage investigators, central resources applicable to all faculty such as support for preliminary and pilot research through the University Research Councils, and voluntary uncommitted cost sharing on federal submissions. ​

Transmittal Letter

If the sponsor does not provide a form asking for an institutional signature, ORS may provide a cover letter to accompany the proposal which indicates DePaul's approval of the application/proposal/budget. ​