Resources for Proposals

A Quick Guide for Submitting Proposals at OHSU

Research Funding & Development services provides a number of resources to help you develop and write your proposal. In addition to helping you find funding opportunities, we can supply institutional boilerplate, proposal samples, writing help, and help with proposal strategies.

Creating an innovative and thoughtful research plan is only one step in securing independent funding. Here's a brief outline of how to route your application through the OHSU system.


Before you start your proposal

  • Obtain an eRA Commons user name (an individual NIH account for PIs) if you’re applying to NIH. This name is required on the face page of an NIH application and allows you to check your grant status in the NIH system. For questions, check with the Office of Proposal &Award Management (OPAM). Every department has an Grants & Contracts Administrator (GCA) partner – find yours.
  • Review eligibility and deadline details. Determine whether you are eligible and when the deadline is. If you need help determining whether you are eligible, contact
  • Plan. Know the deadlines for the sponsoring agency and any internal OHSU deadlines. Make sure to bring in appropriate partners early, including mentors, GCA, potential collaborators, and so on. All grants must be reviewed by OPAM for compliance with sponsor and university guidelines. A grant must have approval prior to submission. Often OPAM will submit your application online on your behalf, so make sure you know their deadlines too.

Preparing and submitting your application

  • Write your grant. Be sure to give yourself enough time to fill out the application forms—don’t spend all your time writing the research plan. It takes time to round up transcripts, letters of support, biosketches, and other documentation from collaborators and mentors—don’t create emergencies for your supporters. Read about the new NIH biosketch format here.
  • All proposals submitted through OPAM require submission of an Electronic Proposed Project Questionnaire (ePPQ) in InfoEd. After you have an application draft, you need to fill out the ePPQ. The PPQ is a checklist of administrative steps that ensures your award will be set up properly. It is used to ensure that compliance is in order and that your department has approved your project. Usually, someone in your department (e.g., a grant or department administrator) can help with completing the ePPQ, but if you have questions, your GCA is an excellent resource.
  • Route the ePPQ to the appropriate people for signature – your department chair or division head, as well as the dean (or the equivalent of these positions—e.g. an institute director and the VP for Research). Other signatures may also be required—if, for example, you are using VA or ONPRC resources. If you are not sure who should sign your PPQ, ask your department administrator.
  • Submit your ePPQ with the draft application to OPAM at least 10 business days before the grant deadline. After you have gotten all the required signatures, the ePPQ and preliminary grant information is reviewed by OPAM. Along with the PPQ, be sure to include the budget face page, any additional signature forms, the abstract, and any required animal or human subject or Institutional Biosafety compliance sections. If possible, include the draft of the research plan and note any incomplete information (such as biosketches).
  • Submit your final application to OPAM at least 3 days before the grant deadline. While OPAM needs a draft application 10 business days prior to the deadline, you still have time to work on your research plan—it must be submitted 3 days prior to the deadline.

After you submit

  • Request a copy of the Departmental Award Checklist (DAC) from your department administrator or your RGC administrator after grant review. This reminds you about Institutional Review Board (IRB) or Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) requirements, Conflict of Interest, and more. Completing this document will ensure that your account set-up is not delayed if you are awarded the grant.
  • Put your compliance documentation in order. If you are using animals or human subjects in your research, your protocol must be approved by the IACUC or the IRB, respectively, before the account can be set up. Likewise, if you are using recombinant DNA, lentiviruses, or other substances that require institutional review, you will want to have this review take place while you are waiting to hear from the funding agency.
  • If the grant is awarded, send your grant award notice or letter to your GCA contact. While the NIH and other federal grant agencies notify OPAM when a grant is awarded, not all funding agencies do. Let OPAM know if you receive notification that your grant is awarded—sometimes the foundation or agency alerts only the PI, but until OPAM knows, your account can’t be set up.

Account set-up and spending

After OPAM completes the award set-up documents, they will forward it to Sponsored Projects Administration (SPA), who will set up your research account and help administer the funds.


Updated November 9, 2015