Principal Investigators (P.I.s) are urged to communicate with project officers and directors of sponsoring organizations at the very earliest stages of proposal preparation. The information that may be gained via an early dialogue with potential sponsors will prove useful in structuring the proposal. The OSRP can provide names, addresses and telephone numbers of sponsoring organizations in most cases.
A well prepared short prospectus can present the important points of a proposed project. Submitting an informal proposal (pre-proposal) to a sponsoring organizations can serve as a starting point for expressions of interest or further comment.
An informal proposal does not require campus endorsement; therefore, it does not have to proceed through the formal review and approval procedure. It is suggested, however, that budgetary matters be discussed with your supervisor or with the OSRP in order to avoid confusion or misunderstanding at a later date.
Informal proposals are not requested by Federal agencies when the submission is in response to a “Request for Proposals” since that is a competitive contract award process with strict guidelines and deadlines. However, many project officials can provide helpful comments and OSRP recommends the use of a pre-proposal when possible. The pre-proposal should address key elements of the proposed effort (e.g., significance of the proposed work, approach, analytical methods and budget.