Proposal Preparation Basics

Definition of “Proposal”: A proposal is a detailed request for funding prepared in accordance with the sponsor’s instructions.

  • A proposal must comply with Institute policies and sponsor requirements.
  • A proposal, upon submission, becomes an official record of what MIT promised to a sponsor.

Preparing the Proposal

  • The Principal Investigator (PI) is responsible for preparing the proposal but normally does so in conjunction with an administrative or fiscal officer.
  • Review the sponsor guidelines carefully. Most sponsors require preferred formats and specific forms. In addition, each solicitation details the requirements for that particular submission. 
  • National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) requirements mandate proposal-specific financial Conflict of Interest (COI) disclosures from PIs and senior/key personnel for new proposals, and annual disclosure updates thereafter. COI disclosures may be submitted electronically through CoeusLite.

Approving and submitting the proposal

Research Administration Services (RAS) is the central administrative office responsible for providing Institute endorsement and submitting proposals, and for accepting awards on behalf of MIT and its faculty. 

PIs and departments should allow adequate time for proposal review. Proposals must reach RAS at least five working days before the sponsor’s deadline to provide full and comprehensive proposal review, approval, and submission.

Proposals not meeting the RAS deadline may only be submitted to the sponsor with the Dean’s or VPR’s approval. If subsequent review reveals that the proposal is incomplete or does not conform to Institute or sponsor requirements, the proposal may be withdrawn from sponsor consideration.

Read more about the MIT Approval and Submission Process.

Proposal Preparation FAQs