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Proposal Development

Proposal Development Steps

CECAS Proposal Development Process

You can assist the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences Proposal Development office by ensuring that all documents and information are submitted in a timely manner.

Sufficient time is required to assemble, review, and submit grant applications to meet sponsor requirements. With the growing number of faculty at Clemson that are submitting proposals and the increased sponsor complexities, this policy will allow Pre-Award time to adequately support applications and to thoroughly review applications for compliance requirements.

* Proposal editing is available if needed. Contact the Pre-Award office if needed.


Week 1

Notify Pre-Award and initiate budget and sub-awards

Week 2

Initiate InfoEd routing; supply all non-scientific proposal docs

Week 3

Final scientific proposal documents due by 3:00 P.M on the due date


  • Proposal Preparation
    • After a funding opportunity has been located, the Pre-Award Office will help you read and understand the announcement. The funding announcement is the most important document for a grant writer as it details the eligibility requirements for the institution and investigator, budgetary limits, due dates, formatting requirements, the necessary proposal components, and review criteria.
    • Along with helping you understand the proposal requirements, the Pre-Award Office will also help you establish and maintain a proposal development timeline and will help create a draft budget for the proposal.
    • A complex proposal may take months to write. Allow time for a thorough literature review, well-planned research strategy and methodology, and feedback from critical readers. You may also need time to develop collaborations with other institutions, produce preliminary research data, and prepare logic models or evaluation plans.

    Assistance with proposal writing is available if needed.

  • Proposal Communication
    • It is important you communicate your ideas and intentions with your department and college throughout the idea formation and proposal development process. Your department and college need to know of any resource commitments you plan on making, including the need for cost-share/matching, course release, facility/lab use and the involvement of students in your research.
    • Reach out to the Pre-Award Office early in the proposal development process as well so that we can assist with developing the project budget, assembling subrecipient packages, drafting internal letters of support, registering for sponsor electronic submission sites, and begin any necessary review processes with Research Compliance and Integrity well in advance of any internal and external deadlines.
    • Don't hesitate to reach out to program officers as well. Many sponsors encourage applicants to get feedback early in the process from a program officer who has a wealth of knowledge and experience with the agency and its processes.
  • InfoEd Routing
    • After your budget and a draft proposal have been completed, that information will be entered into InfoEd, Clemson’s grant management software that is used for internal routing and approval. When a proposal has been routed for approval, the full package will be sent to the lead PI and any co-investigators, Department Heads and Deans for review and approval. 
    • NOTE: any proposal must receive full approval in InfoEd before being submitted to any external funding agency or subawarding institution.
    • We recommend routing no later than 10 business days before the sponsor deadline to allow for a thorough review of your proposal and to give you time to make any recommended adjustments before it is due. If you are working on a collaborative proposal that involves multiple colleges or institutions, the routing timeline may increase.
  • Proposal Submission
    • Once your proposal has been fully reviewed and approved in InfoEd, the Pre-Award office staff assigned to your proposal will help with any other documents needed for the final proposal and will submit the proposal on behalf of the University.
    • The Pre-Award Office will confirm the proposal submission with you and a copy of the submission package will be saved for our and your records.


Please review the following policies. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact the post-award team.

  • What are Direct and Indirect Costs?

    Direct costs are incurred directly by the project; for example, the cost of the project's laboratory supplies and the cost of the researcher's time to conduct project experiments are both direct costs.

    Indirect costs (also called facilities and administrative costs) are incurred indirectly, for example, the laboratory's building and electricity bill are indirect costs that benefit multiple projects.

    Clemson's federally negotiated on-campus indirect cost rate is 52.5% of modified total direct costs.

  • What is the difference between Academic Salary and Summer Salary?

    Many faculty are 9-month or 10-month employees. Effort committed to a grant-funded project during the academic year is paid by the grant, which replaces state (or other) funding sources for that period. Effort committed to a grant-funded project during the summer months will be paid by the grant, providing additional salary for that period.

  • What are allowable and unallowable costs?

    Federal and other funding agencies specify which costs are allowed to be paid by grants. In general, costs must be reasonable, allocable to the funded project, and consistent. Be sure to consult the Uniform Guidance or other funder policies to determine which costs are allowable for your budget.

  • Can I submit my proposal directly to the funder?

    Most grants are awarded to the institution and not to individuals. The institution is responsible for authorizing the submission of the proposal, negotiating the terms of the award, and ensuring compliance with the conditions of the grant. A few fellowships and similar awards may be awarded directly to individuals. Although those do not require institutional approval, the Pre-Award Office offers assistance with proposal writing.

  • What is Cost Sharing?

    Some funders require that the applicant cost share or "match" a percentage of the project funding, either as cash or in-kind contribution. For example, some National Endowment for the Arts grants require that the applicant provide a 100% match. A $1000 grant would require $1000 from Clemson for a total project cost of $2000.

    Please consult with your department before committing university funds or other sources for cost sharing.

  • What is a Budget Justification?

    If you are submitting a budget to a sponsor or funding agency, you will also need to provide a budget justification. This document should be a detailed and easy-to-understand description of the budget in words, explain why the funds requested are needed, and explain how those funds will be used.

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