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Pre-Award Process

Once a possible funding opportunity is identified, the Office of Sponsored Programs & Research Integrity (OSPRI) will take some preliminary steps to prepare for the application. The first step is creating a digital folder and to build the application packet. With sufficient advanced notice to OSPRI, a pre-award checklist is created as a quick internal reference sheet for each project.

In the initial meeting between the principal investigator and the program administrator to discuss the application, the following topics should be discussed:

  • The principal investigator’s idea/plan for the project.
  • The program administrator must ensure that the proposed idea/plan conforms to the funder’s guidelines.
  • Review of the Application Guide and Checklist (AGC), plan of action is determined.
  • The principal investigator must share any and all documents from the funder, drafts, and any logins for electronic applications to enable the program administrator full access to materials. If an institutional profile needs to be created with a funder, OSPRI will create that profile, or, in most cases the office already has one.

Parts of the Application

Application Form

Nearly every funder has their own application form that needs to be completed. Sometimes this is electronic and the other parts of the application are attached to the electronic form, as is the case with all federal applications.

In rare cases, the form is hard copy and has to be mailed. This requires that an application be completed at least a week before deadline to provide plenty of time for shipping.


The abstract is usually the first page of the application packet, but it is the last page that you complete. It is typically one page, single spaced, and includes basic information about the application.   Make sure that you follow the funder's required format for the Abstract.


While an abstract may not be a requirement of some applications, the concepts of a condensed introduction to the proposal should still be applied to the introduction of the proposal narrative. 

The narrative should be as condense and concise as possible. Be sure to cite sources and existing data that supports your proposal.  Avoid assumptions that the funder know the topic as thoroughly as you and make sure that you spell out each step and process that needs to be taken. Use clear statistics to support your argument.

The following components are typically found in the narrative: Needs Statement, Activities, Goals, Objectives and Outcomes, Timeline, Logic Model, Key Personnel/Biographical Sketches, Resources, Sustainability, Dissemination Plan, and the Evaluation Plan.

Budget and Budget Justification

There are two primary parts of a budget in a grant application: the standard budget form from the funder (in the SF-424 federal application, the budget form is the R&R), and the budget justification, which is a narrative explanation of what is being requested, why it is needed, and how much it will cost. There are also three main budget areas: direct costs, indirect costs, and cost-share/match.
The University of Central Missouri has a federally negoitiated indirect cost rate agreement of 33.5% Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC) for all federal and federal pass-through grants.  Non-federal grants have an indirect cost rate of 10% total direct costs (TDC), unless restricted by the funder.


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