Proposal Development Services

Proposal Development at the Office of Research

The Office of Research is pleased to extend comprehensive proposal development services to the faculty of City College. Please note that the availability of services is contingent upon the capacity of the proposal development team. Proposals falling within the following categories will be prioritized:

  • Large and Multi-PI Proposals: The Office of Research provides support to faculty pursuing “big” opportunities that necessitate complex proposals featuring multiple PIs.
  • Early-Career Faculty Proposals: The Office of Research fosters the success of early-career faculty by helping them grow their grant-writing skills. 

Nonetheless, all faculty members are encouraged reach out with proposals of any scale. Proposal development services are available to all disciplines, including those beyond the realm of STEM.

Please contact Dr. Jackie Lee Weissman ( ), Assistant Director of Proposal Development, with any questions or concerns, or to request any of the services outlined below.

Services Offered

This is a non-exhaustive list of available proposal development services. Faculty requiring assistance that is not explicitly mentioned here are encouraged to reach out for tailored support.

1. Finding Opportunities & Early-Stage Discussion

The Office of Research's proposal development team offers a variety of resources to help faculty locate funding opportunities. All CCNY faculty have access to PIVOT with their CCNY email, a grants database that can perform tailored searches based on a researcher's profile. Faculty also have access to GrantForward, another database, and can apply for CUNY internal funding as well. Additional resources for finding opportunities can be found here. The office of research regularly organizes trainings on using PIVOT, which can be organized on request.

Additionally, the proposal development team can keep an eye out for relevant opportunities if provided with a brief description of research question and approach. The team also meets individually with faculty to discuss the relative pros/cons of different opportunities and to brainstorm how to shape a research program to fit a particular opportunity.

2. Proposal Management

For large proposals with many moving parts, tracking progress and staying on a well-defined timeline can be a challenge. The proposal development team can assist with this process by setting up a timeline for deliverables, following up with timely reminders to project PIs, and tracking proposal progress. While any PI may request assistance setting up a proposal-writing timeline, full management services are reserved for larger, multi-PI proposals.

To benefit from proposal management services, project PIs should reach out to our office at the beginning of the writing process. A basic expectation is that the PIs on the writing team follow the agreed-upon deadlines and are responsive to communications from our office. The Office of Research cannot take responsibility for missed deadlines or lack of communication by team members.

3. Institutional Information

Many proposals require sections or paragraphs detailing institutional information (e.g., regarding student demographics, research infrastructure, etc.). The proposal development team can assist with tracking down relevant details and drafting sections describing CCNY as an institution, or describing specific CCNY programs. Please reach out well in advance if you need our support in writing these sections (preferably at least two weeks, more is better).

4. Writing Support

In general, two kinds of writing support are available for proposals. Note that these are distinct from proposal review/feedback (5 and 6, below).

First, in additional to institutional information (3, above) it may make sense for the office to help draft specific sections of some larger proposals (e.g., when proposals ask for sections on multi-institution coordination in teaching and research or college-wide training programs).

Second, the proposal development team can provide templates or help outline proposal sections as needed for any opportunity, especially for sections the PI may have less experience with. For example, the DOE now requires plans for Promoting Inclusive and Equitable Research (PIER) that PIs may be unfamiliar with.

5. Early-Stage Review

In early-stage review the focus is on content and messaging rather than craft or details. That is, the purpose of early-stage review is to ask whether the ideas in the proposal seem well-developed and sound, and whether they are in alignment with the goals of the sponsor. In this stage of proposal writing, big-picture comments are offered on strengths and weaknesses of the proposal, and large-scale recommendations are made regarding structure and focus. This kind of review is appropriate for a first or incomplete draft of technical sections, or even a whitepaper (sections can be reviewed individually or together). While the team aims to get comments back to PIs as quickly as possible, please allow up to 2 weeks for the review process.

6. Late-Stage Review

In late-stage review the focus is on craft and the overall effectiveness of the written proposal. That is, the purpose of late-stage review is to ask whether, as written, the proposal highlights the strengths of the proposed research program and makes a convincing case to the sponsor. The proposal development team will check for alignment with sponsor review criteria, and when appropriate may provide a mock review. In this stage of proposal writing, comments are offered on proposal structure and flow, and specific feedback is provided on writing and style. The proposal development team may note areas where it is possible reviewers will take issue with the final proposal. This kind of review is appropriate for a complete, late-stage draft of technical, and possibly non-technical sections (sections can be reviewed individually or together). While the team aims to get comments back to PIs as quickly as possible, please allow up to 2 weeks for the review process. RFCUNY offers related, proposal peer-review services.

7. Final Proofing

During proposal proofing, the focus is on details and compliance. At this stage no feedback will be provided on structure, style, or ideas, but rather the goal will be to make sure all proposal components are present, correctly formatted, and polished. Limited copy-editing will be provided (i.e., the proposal will be reviewed for spelling and grammatical errors, but no guarantees are made by the team). This is an opportunity to get an extra pair of eyes on a proposal to catch any mistakes, and is appropriate for a final, complete draft. While the team aims to get comments back to PIs as quickly as possible, please allow up to 2 weeks for the review process.

Other Proposal-Writing Resources

Last Updated: 01/19/2024 12:21