Proposal Overview and Development

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Proposal Processing Overview

Step-by-step Proposal Processing Steps

Proposal Development:

Collaboration Opportunities
Award Transfers
Cost Share
Global/International Research
Grant Writing Assistance


Collaboration Opportunities

Research collaborations enable groundbreaking cross-disciplinary ideas, an expanded capacity, and the opportunity to share resources.

  • Media Communications | MSU Expert Directory MSU faculty experts are available to discuss a host of topics, from nuclear physics to food safety to climate change. You can search by name or by topic.
  • MSU Scholars | Elsevier's Scopus Database MSU Scholars increases the visibility of faculty and academic staff to local, state, national, and international research and business communities. It can be used to search for expertise, identify research opportunities, and facilitate collaborations.
  • OIRC | Research Collaborator Coordination The Office of International Research Collaboration (OIRC) works collaboratively with Michigan State University's world area studies centers to assist faculty in developing transdisciplinary research proposals for external funding that focus on college and university international/global research priorities.

Proposal Budgets

A proposal budget reflects the best estimate of the costs for conducting the project within a defined time period. The sponsor includes specific budget requirements within the Request for Application (RFA) and/or general agency guidelines.

Salary increases are established by the University. Estimated salaries can be based upon a 3% annual increase to occur October 1st of each year for faculty and other full-time employees and 3% for graduate assistant stipends occurring on August 16th. These rates should be used unless the sponsor specifies salary inflation rates.
Fringe Benefits are applicable to all University salaries and wages. Fringe benefits for graduate students are for health benefits. All full-time salaries for faculty and staff carry a fringe benefit rate based on the salary - SPECIFIC IDENTIFICATION or SI. For further details, please contact DER or see CGA Website for calculations on specific fringe rates
Equipment is defined as having useful life of more than one year and a stand-alone, per-unit acquisition cost which equals or exceeds $5,000
Facilities & Administrative (F&A) Rates costs are incurred for common or joint objectives. F&A costs are also commonly referred to as indirect costs or overhead. NIH Rock Talk: All About Indirect Costs (YouTube video)
MSU’s negotiated rate effective from July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2023 are:
Research - 56.5% 
Other Sponsored Activities - 36%
Off-Campus - 26%
Cost Share
Cost Share details can be found on the Secure Login Cost Share Page (egr username required)

DER will assist with any budget preparation questions or concerns.

Global/International Research

The MSU Global Impact Initiative will increase the reach of our research impact. Projects planned for overseas should also plan for additional regulations and time when completing the proposal processing steps.

Please visit the Global Engineering Programs page for further information or contact Mary Anne Walker with questions. And checkout SPA's Additional Information and Tools for International Projects page.

Grant Writing Assistance

Your research proposal is the blue print to outline your project objectives and your plan to achieve these goals. A well designed proposal allows the agency to easily see the research problem, your expertise in the field, project feasibility, and benefits of the results.

  • Grant Writing Assistance The Research Facilitation and Dissemination team provides grant-writing assistance for approved cross-disciplinary, all-university, or multi-department proposals. Grant writers can assist with many phases of your proposal through the services outlined on their website
  • Special Consulting Services The Office of the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies offers MSU researchers support while preparing proposals. Offerings include: proposal consulting, first draft review, proposal structure, grant editing, and peer-review coordination.
  • The Writing Center Request an appointment with The Writing Center for assistance with your proposal. They offer: one-to-one consulting, online consulting, workshops, writing groups and outreach.
  • CSTAT Consulting The Center for Statistical Training and Consulting can assist MSU researchers with research design, data collection, quantitative analysis, and statistical software applications.
  • Guidelines for Authorship VPRGS offers a support page for issues surround authorship of work for public distribution.
  • NIH | Important Writing Tips NIH encourages applicants to describe their research in terms that are easily understood by peer reviewers, scientists, Congress, and the public.
  • EndNote Software that assists with reference managing and reporting.

Check out these pages for articles and data sources:

  • Database List MSU Libraries keeps a list of hundreds of databases- keyword search available to find the best fit for your needs.
  • Data Services Provided by MSU Libraries, this page assists researchers with data and statistical resources across the entire research lifecycle, as both consumers and producers of data.
  • Research Guides MSU Libraries Research Guides link to articles, library catalog, reference materials, data & statistics, MSU & Michigan resources, online resource, full text web-based docs, and other resources related to hundreds of topics. Search by subject, type, or expert.


MSU strives to meet federal, state and university regulations on policies dealing with research.

  • Federal Uniform Guidance Updates The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in conjunction with the Council on Financial Assistance Reform (COFAR) released guidance to all federal agencies that must be implemented into each agency’s regulations by December 26, 2014.
  • Animals in Research MSU's Animal Care Program includes the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) and the Campus Animal Resources (CAR) program.
      • IACUC reviews, approves & oversees all MSU programs involving the care & use of animals to ensure compliance with standards & regulatory requirements.
      • CAR provides husbandry, veterinary care, procurement, and other administrative support for research and teaching in animal housing facilities
  • Conflict of Interest The COI office works to insure compliance with state and federal laws or regulations, as well as to manage specific conflict of interest situations deemed important at MSU.
  • Environmental Health & Safety The EHS office oversees programs in health and safety, protection of the environment and regulatory compliance.
  • Export Control All PIs and other project personnel are individually responsible for compliance with export controls and trade sanctions.
  • Human Subjects in Research HRPP offices will assist and ensure that ethical standards are met when research involves human subjects. 
  • Stem Cells The Institutional Stem Cell Research page offers clear definitions and assistance for work involving stem cells.

Award Transfers

DER is here to help provide instruction and additional resources to help make the award transfer process as seamless as possible. Please feel free to contact DER directly to answer any specific questions related to transferring an awarded proposal. Additional internal resources are available.
  • Transferring award from another institution to MSU: Please be sure to contact DER directly as early as possible when transferring an existing award to MSU. Transferring an award to MSU can take time but DER can help eliminate any unforeseen delays in the process. For more information please contact Jennifer Sergeant (DER Research Administrator covering all proposal transfers) phone: (517) 355-7435 email:
  • Transferring award from MSU to another institution: DER has an available seminar in which experts from MSU explain the process and steps for transferring an existing MSU award to another institution.  This seminar goes over CGA’s recently created PI Separation Checklist, specific agency (NIH/NSF) requirements for PI Change Requests, common hold ups in the processes of transferring an award, and how to create and route award revision PD’s and Effort reporting requirements when leaving the university.