Proposal Elements

Postdoctoral Mentoring - NSF

Applications to the National Science Foundation (NSF) that include funding to support postdoctoral researchers must include a postdoctoral mentoring plan. Plans must be provided as a one-page supplementary document. (See NSF GPG Chapter II.C.2.j. for full details)


Data Management Plans

In 2013, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy issued a directive for "each Federal agency with over $100 million in annual conduct of research and development expenditures to develop a plan to support increased public access to the results of research funded by the Federal Government." Therefore, federal agencies require data management plans as part of a funded proposal's project efforts.



The Office of Sponsored Programs, which is responsible for the administrative activities of all sponsored research projects, has provided resources for proposal budget development which are consistent with all current university policies and procedures. 


Understanding Review Criteria


NSF evaluates proposals using two National Science Board approved merit review criteria:

1) Intellectual Merit, which encompasses the potential to advance knowledge; and 2) Broader Impacts, which encompasses the potential to benefit society and contribute to the achievement of specific, desired societal outcomes.

The broader impacts of a proposed project must be highlighted both in the Summary of a proposal's narrative, as well in a separate section in the Project Description.


For NIH research grants and cooperative agreements, the five review criteria include: Significance, Investigator(s), Innovation, Approach, and Environment. The NIH Peer Review Process provides an overview of the multi-level approach for evaluating and scoring NIH proposals.

The "NIH Peer Review: Grants and Cooperative Agreements" document describes in fuller detail the NIH peer review process which is based upon seven core values.


Letters of Commitment

A letter of commitment specifies the activities, role, and resources that a collaborating organization will contribute to a proposed project. Below are links with tips for obtaining effective letters of commitment from collaborators.


Biographical Sketches

The NIH has updated it's Biographical Sketch format for NIH and AHRQ grant applications submitted on or after May 25, 2015. The new format explanation can be found here.

The NSF has updated it's Biographical Sketch format requirements as specified in the updated NSF PAPPG, effective January 25, 2016. Requirements for the new format are found under GPG Chapter II.C.2.f.


Institutional Review Board (IRB)

All research involving human subjects must be approved by an Institutional Review Board. UAH researchers can find detailed information about the university's IRB, it's policies, and application procedures at the UAH Institutional Review Board website.