If your study will include patients, please first review the clinical research section of this site.

Components of a proposal

A grant or contract proposal has many pieces, but the scientific and the administrative components are the primary ones.

You will need to include:

  • Description of research to be conducted
  • Detailed budget/budget justification
  • Description of facilities available for the project
  • Abstract
  • List of key personnel with biographical information for each individual
  • Sub-contract (if applicable)


New PIs often feel conflicted on whether to spend time on the preparation of the research content vs development and finalization of the budget. The two components are tightly linked – until the Scope of Work is finalized, it is difficult to know what will be required for support costs, i.e. personnel, supplies, travel, equipment, etc.

On the other hand, the eGC-1 (electronic form used to obtain internal approvals for the proposal) cannot be completed until the budget is finalized, and the proposal cannot be started through the approval process until there is a final budget.

As a new investigator, you should be mindful of these conflicting priorities so that the proposal is completed in a timely manner.


If the Scope of Work will require that a portion of the research be conducted away from the University of Washington, a sub-contract will be required. Sufficient time needs to be allowed for the participating institution(s) to prepare the sub-contract for inclusion in the parent proposal. Decisions regarding sub-contracts should be made early in the development of the proposal.


If possible, you should have your proposal reviewed by a senior investigator, such as your mentor. A proposal might include a senior investigator who could read the proposal as it is being developed as well as in its final form, but it might also be valuable to have others review it as well.


FISMA is the Federal Information Security Management Act. An increasing number of federal contracts must have a certified FISMA compliant IT environment for data management. These requirements are now a required condition of many grant and contract awards. Please review the FISMA section of this site for more information. 

Proposal approvals

The review/approval process begins in the division with your division head with other approvals as follows:

  • Chair, joint department, if applicable
  • Dean of the school for the joint department if outside the School of Medicine
  • Chair, home department/dean of school for all key personnel (except PI) listed on the proposal if other than medicine. (Example: A faculty member from biostatistics in the School of Public Health is listed as key personnel. Approval would be required from the Chair, Department of Biostatistics and Dean, School of Public Health.)
  • Chair, Department of Medicine
  • Dean, School of Medicine
  • Office of Animal Welfare (if applicable)
  • Human Subjects Division or other human subjects review board (if applicable)
  • Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) - OSP is the final reviewer/approver of proposals to external sponsors. OSP ensures that each proposal meets the requirements of the University, sponsor and applicable Federal/State rules and regulations. OSP then either submits the proposal using sponsor systems or signs a letter of intent for proposals submitted via hard copy or via pdf attachment.

Obtaining approval

Once the proposal is complete, an eGC-1 is prepared. An eGC-1 is an electronic form used to obtain internal approvals for the proposal. This form, which summarizes key points in the proposal including a detailed budget, is circulated electronically along with the proposal and attachments to the University of Washington units who must approve the proposal.

The eGC-1 is prepared and routed through the SAGE system.