Office for Proposal Enhancement

The Office for Proposal Enhancement (OPE) provides technical and skilled support to faculty across campus who are developing research proposals for external funding. Our goals are to improve the quality of proposals, and facilitate proposal submission in coordination with Sponsored Projects Administration.

Are you a UGA faculty member looking for help developing a research proposal for NSF, NIH, USDA, or another outside agency? Proposal Enhancement can help! Check out our service descriptions below and contact us for further guidance.

Get support for large, complex proposals. We offer full-service project management of your large grant or contract proposal, from setting up initial planning meetings to writing the narrative and developing the budget. Experience shows that having several months’ lead time maximizes the value of Proposal Enhancement involvement, so prospective PIs should contact us as soon as possible. We request a lead time of 4-6 months. A typical large, complex proposal has a budget of at least $2 million and three or more investigators.

Get planning support when submitting for the first time or to a new agency. This service is ideal for individual faculty who are new to submitting proposals, or those who are submitting to a particular agency for the first time. We’ll work with you to ensure that your proposal meets all requirements of an RFP; provide expert advice on proposal preparation and a recommended document completion timeline; and offer personal tutoring on the eResearch Portal, which UGA uses to submit and track proposals. Requests for assistance should be made at least 8 weeks prior to the deadline.

Resubmission planning. If your proposal was not funded, Proposal Enhancement will help you develop a systematic plan to maximize your chance of success on a resubmission. Requests for assistance should be made at least 8 weeks prior to the deadline.

Get editing assistance with your proposal narrative. Proposal Enhancement offers editing services for any research proposal. We’ll work to clarify your writing and ensure that the proposal is fully responsive to the RFP. We’ll focus on the main narrative documents, but we can look at supporting documents too (e.g., biosketch, facilities & equipment). Requests for assistance should be made at least 8 weeks prior to the agency deadline for full proposals, or 4 weeks prior to the deadline for key proposal segments (e.g. Specific Aims) under 6 pages.

Get access to expert advice. Proposal Enhancement organizes a quarterly Coffee with the Pros, which features UGA faculty who have research funding relevant to the featured theme, experience as review panelists, and other valuable knowledge to share. Attendees can hear from the experts, ask questions, and share experiences. Check out highlights from our recent Coffee with the Pros expert panels: USDA-NIFA and NIH R01s.

Mock NIH review panels. Our mock NIH panels are made up of UGA faculty who regularly serve on R01 panels. Panelists review actual draft R01 proposals from selected faculty on campus. Panels run just like they do at NIH, and are open for viewing!

Peer review proposal swaps. Our peer review proposal swaps give faculty a chance to have their proposal reviewed by at least two other faculty members with scientific expertise. Participants swap proposals and assess them with NIH merit review criteria in mind.

Proposal development workshops. We co-host workshops for faculty on topics including proposal planning, writing competitive proposals, budget development, and research compliance. Materials from past workshops are available here.

Funding database (Pivot) training. Proposal Enhancement helps investigators to develop customized funding searches and alerts. In partnership with UGA Libraries, we use Pivot, a subscription database of more than 25,000 funding opportunities from numerous sponsors. Experience shows that working with experts to specifically tailor searches and alerts makes Pivot a far more useful tool.

Identify specific funding areas of interest. Proposal Enhancement welcomes opportunities to meet with deans, associate deans for research, department heads, or center/institute directors to identify areas of funding of interest to their specific units and enhance collaboration across campus.