Proposal Development

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One of the primary functions of the Office of Research & Sponsored Programs is the campus-wide facilitation of proposal submission to external sponsors.  Our office is committed to helping all Lehigh University principal investigators prepare and submit successful proposals. 

Before We Begin...

Who is Eligible to Apply

Resources for Finding Funding

Contact your Contract & Grant Specialist with any questions about the proposal process.

STEP 1: Initiating a Proposal

Create a Funding Proposal in LIRA
Preparing the Proposal Budget

Proper budgeting at the proposal stage can save a lot of headaches during project management!  Although it is not always possible to foresee every contingency, thinking through the different phases of the project and working with your Contract and Grant Specialist well before the proposal deadline can help.  Once your project is awarded, continue to collaborate with your CGS throughout the award period, especially when considering large or unusual purchases, foreign travel, or any unbudgeted expense.

Budget Tips

Your CGS has numerous agency-specific Budget Templates available; please reach out early and often, when preparing a project budget!

Determination of Effort and Dominant Locale

STEP 2: Pre-Submission Requirements

Research Essentials Handbook

Please refer to the Research Essentials Handbook as a resource! All Lehigh senior personnel are required to be familar with this resource and it is regularly updated to provide clarity on current policies and procedures. Specifically, the guide explains key concepts for faculty and staff who are involved in applying for, conducting, and stewarding research programs. The contens of this guide include topics related to sponsored programs, as well as topics that are important regardless of the source of support. 



Please see here details regarding Lehigh's Financial Conflict of Interest policy and procedures. 

ORCID and SciENcv

ORCID and SciENcv Instructions and Resources for Faculty

For further information and agency-specific requirements, please refer to this page

Reporting of Professional Activities and Sources of Support

Refer to this guidance for information regarding Federal Agency requirements for reporting of Professional Activities and Sources of Support.

NIH eRA Commons Account

Individuals working in a variety of roles (Program Directors, Principal Investigators, Scientist, Post-Doc, Graduate Students, Undergraduate Students, Project Personnel) on a grant application or award must have an eRA Commons account in order to do business with NIH. To initiate the process to create an eRA Commons account, please complete this webform.

STEP 3: Proposal Preparation & Submission

Data Management Plans

Please note the new NIH DMS Plan Requirement (effective January 25, 2023) and refer to the LTS Data Management Plan (DMP) Assistance for Grants page for further assistance. 

For general DMP templates, please refer to the LTS-managed Data Management Plan page, which includes DMP guidelines, writing resources, and samples.

All Lehigh investigators have access to the DMP Tool. The tool assists in drafting of data management plans fulfilling the specific requirements of a number of federal agencies and major foundations. You can save your plans for customization on a project-by-project basis.

Needs for data stewardship and sharing are being driven by funding agency requirements, growing size and complexity of data sets, rising appreciation of opportunities for responsible re-use and re-analysis of data, and growing emphasis on data preservation and sharing as a collegial responsibility.

Funding agency expectations regarding DMP content vary considerably across agencies and within divisions. Required topics to be covered include publication, preservation or retention, curation and sharing. NSF's requirements are as follows, and serve as a good model.

From NSF's GPG: "Plans for data management and sharing of the products of research. Proposals must include a supplementary document of no more than two pages labeled “Data Management Plan”. This supplement should describe how the proposal will conform to NSF policy on the dissemination and sharing of research results, and may include:

1. the types of data, samples, physical collections, software, curriculum materials, and other materials to be produced in the course of the project;
2. the standards to be used for data and metadata format and content (where existing standards are absent or deemed inadequate, this should be documented along with any proposed solutions or remedies);
3. policies for access and sharing including provisions for appropriate protection of privacy, confidentiality, security, intellectual property, or other rights or requirements;
4. policies and provisions for re-use, re-distribution, and the production of derivatives; and
5. plans for archiving data, samples, and other research products, and for preservation of access to them."

Your Contract and Grant Specialist is also always available to help you understand and meet funding agency expectations for inclusion of data management and sharing plans in your proposals.



Subawards in a Proposal

During the proposal process when a Lehigh PI identifies that the project will involve work with another institution, there are additional steps required in preparation for submission of the proposal.  If a Lehigh PI plans to include another institution or organization (third party) in an upcoming proposal where such entity will be expected to perform a substantive portion of the “scientific” effort, a number of documents must be obtained from the proposed subrecipient prior to submission of the proposal to the sponsor.

The following documents are required for all proposals:

  • Lehigh Subrecipient Commitment Form (*not required for FDP Expanded Clearinghouse participants)

  • Statement of work

  • Budget details and Budget narrative/justification

  • Biographical sketch of key personnel

  • Institutional letter of commitment to participate in the project and abide by all of the associated terms and conditions of the sponsor, signed by an Authorized Organization Official who is authorized to commit the subrecipient resources to the proposed project.

The following documents are as needed per the sponsor:

  • Current and Pending support

  • Collaborators and other affiliates, or conflicts of interest list

There must be adequate time provided between the receipt of a subrecipient proposal and the sponsor's proposal due date to allow Lehigh’s PI sufficient time to discuss and negotiate the statement of work, and the CGS to review all of the subrecipient documents.

Including a Subaward in a Proposal Budget

The Lehigh budget should be itemized by major budget category, such as salaries and wages, employee benefits, supplies, equipment, travel, consultants, and other direct costs.  Additional itemization of budget categories may be needed if required by the sponsor.

The subrecipient budget must also include the itemized detail by major budget category, and any additional itemization as required by the sponsor.  Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs must be included in the subrecipient budget, and should be calculated using the subrecipient applicable rate(s).  If the proposed subrecipient does not have a negotiated rate, they are eligible to use the Federally-recognized 10% de minimus indirect cost rate per 2 CFR 200.414 Uniform Guidance.

The subrecipient budget is included in Lehigh’s budget as a direct cost.  When calculating Lehigh’s F&A costs, the amount that exceeds $25,000 of each subaward should be excluded from the calculation.

Final Review and Submission

ORSP wants time to fully review your materials and offer feedback and guidance! Our Proposal Submission Policy outlines a tiered approach of what ORSP is responsible to review, based on the when we receive application materials. Effectively, we ask that proposal details are delivered five business days ahead of the proposal deadline. This allows time to fully review all materials with time to make any needed adjustments.


ORSP Service Level Standard

Review Level

      Full Review        

Limited Review     

At-Risk Proposal  

Proposal checked for compliance with Lehigh University requirements




Proposal submitted by Submission Deadline




Proposal checked for compliance with sponsor guidelines




Terms and conditions binding upon award reviewed for acceptability




Proposal submission confirmation received from sponsor