Proposal Development

Proposal Development: Strategy & Administration

Proposal Development encompasses the Research Development and Research Administration elements necessary to the preparation and submission of funding proposals. While the Research Acceleration Office (Research Development) focuses on the strategic aspects of this process and the Office of Sponsored Programs (Research Administration) focuses on the administrative components, strategy and administration share an area of overlap. Strategy informs what is included in administrative documents, and strategic processes often involve administrative requirements. Thus, the two offices work closely together to support proposal development at CSU.

Common Proposal Elements

In addition to Proposal Writing, proposal development involves the preparation of multiple elements that convey the proposed work within its larger strategic context of infrastructure, institutional support, partnerships, previous work, future plans–and more. Common proposal components are depicted below.

Proposal Development Timeline

The Proposal Development Timeline Hanover Research webinar

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• Successful Close to Previous Projects
• Annual Reports Completed
• COI Current
• Compliant Financial Management of Current and Prior Awards


• Alignment of Internal Seed Investments
• Research Development Roadmap
• Government Affairs
• Advocacy with Funding Agencies/Legislative Affairs to Create Aligned Opportunities
• Cultivation of Internal Team & Resources
• DEI, Faculty Training, Curricular Engagement, IRISS
• $, Collaborative Publications, Track Record of Success
• Small “Feeder” Proposals
• Cultivation of External & Internal Partnerships
• Industry Research Contracting, Corporate Relations, STRATA

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• Partnership MOUs, NDAs, etc.
• Required Documentation
• Sponsor Portal Registrations
• Familiarity with Funding Announcement


• Find Funding Opportunities
• Proposal Development of Big Bet (1-2 years)
• Early Concept Development
• Blue (outline/early alignment) Pink (50-75% complete) Iterative Drafts & Review Cycles
• Partnership Engaging
• Senior Personnel Documents
• Selection for Limited Opportunities

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 Complete Necessary Registrations in Sponsor Portals
• KRPD Record
• Finalize Proposal Narrative & Required Attachments
• Finalize Key Personnel Documents
• College/Departmental Review


 Develop Proposal Narrative & Required Attachments
 Elevate Key Personnel Documents
 Selection for Limited Opportunities
 Writing & Review Cycles
Pink (50-75% complete) & Red (75-95% complete) Proposal Content Review

Color Team Reviews

Stages of proposal development are color-coded from conception to completion. Each color “team” symbolizes a level of review expected at a given draft stage as the proposal is refined prior to submission.

Blue Team Reviews are conducted at the earliest stage of proposal development and usually involve big-picture strategizing, personnel selection, and project outlining.

Pink Team Reviews are administered when the proposal draft is more that halfway complete; ideas are expressed in detail, but major points may still be added or removed from the text.

Red Team Reviews take place when the proposal is close to final and includes graphics, data, and personnel documents that are nearly complete; the review team focuses on accuracy, compliance, and cohesion.

Green Team Reviews involve close inspection of budgetary requirements and all financial details of the proposal.

Gold Team Reviews occur when the proposal has been readied for submission; reviewers at this stage focus on high-level elements that are key to the proposal’s overall success.

White Team Reviews are best remembered as “white glove” reviews in which reviewers check the proposal for formatting, typographical, and compliance issues that may have previously eluded scrutiny.