Basic Components of a Proposal

Cover or Title Page

The Title Page contains the following information:

  • PI’s name, address, phone number
  • Title of proposal
  • Sponsor name and address
  • Period of performance with start and end dates
  • Amount requested
  • Submission date
  • Signature of PI
  • Signature of institution’s Authorized Official

Abstract or Project Summary

The abstract outlines the proposed research, including the objectives, methodology, and significance of the research.

Statement of Work

The Statement of Work provides a full and detailed explanation of the proposed research, and typically includes a project timetable. It should include general background information about how the project relates to previous and current research. The Statement of Work describes how the work will be done, where the work will be done, and who will do the work.


The budget is the financial expression of the project and must include a reasonable estimate of the resources necessary to conduct the project. Most sponsors require a detailed breakdown of the budget into certain defined budget categories and a detailed budget justification. Estimated costs for the entire project period typically are broken into “Direct” and “F&A” costs. Separate budgets are necessary for all collaborating institutions or entities (“subawardees/subrecipients”).

If the sponsor guidelines require mandatory cost sharing, the cost sharing should be described in the budget. Otherwise MIT discourages offering voluntary cost sharing.

Budget Justification

The budget justification should clearly explain what costs will be paid for by the sponsor and how the expense was calculated. It is important to compare the scope of work to the budget and justification to ensure that all costs are accounted for, and that the requested funds align with the scope of work to be performed within the project period.

Sample/Model Budget Justifications follow each Budget Component link.

Curriculum Vitae or Biographical Sketch

Include for all key project personnel.


Lists all references cited in proposal.

Additional Information

Additional information may consist of the following:

  • Current and pending support. The sponsor may require a listing of the PI’s (and sometimes key personnel’s) current awards and pending proposals.
  • Letters of support from non-Institute investigators may also be required.
  • Subaward documentation: If the proposal involves collaboration with investigators at other entities, detailed information about the subrecipient should be included in the proposal. Documentation would normally include the subrecipient’s scope of work and detailed budget, and the institutional approval from the subrecipient organization’s Authorized Official.
  • Description of current facilities
  • Table of Contents (if required by sponsor guidelines)
  • Certifications and representations required by federal sponsors
  • Description of available equipment