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Develop a Proposal Narrative

If you are planning to apply for a grant or non-construction contract, please contact the OSP staff as soon as possible and provide the name of the sponsor and specific program for which you plan to apply.  

The proposal narrative is the main body of an application that describes the project. Please find below guidance, resources, and tools that are recommended for you to use when developing the narrative for your proposal:

Review List of things to check before deciding to apply for an externally funded program

  1. Submission deadline – make sure you have enough time to meet the deadline
  2. Sponsor’s review criteria- be sure your project responds adequately to review criteria
  3. Sponsor’s Goals - be sure your project goals align with those of the sponsor
  4. Eligibility Criteria – make sure Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) or non-profit entities are eligible to apply. If an applicant must have 501(c)(3) status, please contact the Division of Philanthropy and Engagement to discuss the possibility of submitting your application.

Utilize samples and boiler plates

            Sample Impact Statement

            Description of A&M-Commerce for Introductions 

            LeoTeach Description

            BioPride Description

            Honor’s College Description

            McNair Program Description 

Know where to locate data

  • A&M-Commerce and System Wide Data (students, faculty, facilities, and equipment inventory)

            Departmental Data Viewer

            TAMUS Empower U

            Maestro Inventory – contact OSP

            Census Data

  • Community College and School District Data from Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB)

            Community College Enrollment - THECB

            Reports -THECB

Consider including collaborators

  • Find a collaborator within the A&M System using Maestro
  • Find an external or internal collaborator using Pivot
  • Contact OSP staff for assistance with locating collaborator:
    • Within the A&M System using Maestro
    • From Other Universities or A&M-Commerce using known experts

Utilize the external review services available through OSP

External reviewers are grant writers and editors who will review your proposal and provide technical edits, as well as, questions and comments where further clarification is needed. An external review usually takes 3-5 days, but can take up to 2 weeks during a busy season.  It is a service provided through the OSP. External reviews are available upon request.

Write to the review criteria of your sponsor

Check if your sponsor provides the criteria that will be used to determine what is awarded. Most federal or State programs will provide review criteria, while private foundations will imply review criteria through their mission statement.

            National Institutes of Health

            National Science Foundation

            Department of Education

            Department of Energy

            National Endowment for the Humanities

Review any of the applicable guidance below for writing a proposal narrative

            NIH’s Writing Your Application

            NSF’s A Guide for Proposal Writing

            Basic Elements of Grant Writing

            (Corporation of Public Broadcasting)

            The Foundation Center's Short Course on Proposal Writing

            EPA General Tips on Writing a Competitive Grant Proposal

            DOE Grants & Contracts

For assistance with developing other components of an application, please visit

            Develop a Proposal Budget

            Current and Other Affiliations (NSF) template

            Submit an Application

            Submit a collaborative Grant Application/Subaward

            New Faculty Guide to Competing for Research Funding


NSF Proposal:  The Cover Sheet

NSF Project Summary - 1 page that must contain an Overview Statement, Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts.

NSF Biographical Sketches - Required for all senior personnel and must be no more than 2 pages per person.

The NSF Policy on URLs in Proposals - Allowed in References Cited and Biosketches, but not in the Project Description!

NSF Proposal: References Cited

NSF Data Management Plan Requirements

Current and Pending Support

NSF Proposal: Facilities, Equipment and Other Resources

Creating a Biosketch