The format and content of any proposal or application will necessarily vary with the requirements of the potential sponsor. An unsolicited grant proposal will differ significantly from a proposal submitted in response to a competitive contract bidding situation, while new, non-competitive continuations or continuation proposals will differ from each other.
Some sponsoring organizations provide instructions for proposals, others require the use of pre-printed forms, and some have prescribed rules. Applications or proposals submitted to some sponsors must meet deadlines while other sponsors will accept proposals at any time. Grant proposals may be submitted concurrently to several organizations; a statement of concurrent submission should be included in such cases stating the names of organizations to which the proposal was submitted. For most federal grants, this is a requirement. For applications to non-federal sponsors, it is recommended that each proposal have as little overlap as possible. Most areas of research are sufficiently specialized that reviewers tend to pick-up on applicants who are shopping for a funding source. This practice can result in negative consequences. The OSRP is available for consultation and editorial services.