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Proposals have many parts and are very time sensitive. Listed below are some resources for the proposal process, including writing assistance and SMHS Resources. The Proposal Routing Form is the signature form for all proposals.
Some funding opportunities require a pre-proposal or it is sometimes called a Letter of Inquiry. After the pre-proposal is sent, the funding agency may ask for a full proposal. This process decreases the number of full proposals that need to be reviewed. At UND it is a preference to include the following on any pre-proposal:
"This pre-proposal does not obligate the University of North Dakota to this project. Upon request from the sponsor, a formal and properly authorized proposal will be submitted."
At the SMHS, the signature process for externally sponsored proposals requires the review and signature of many individuals, so please allow five days to obtain the required signatures after the SMHS has signed off on the proposal. The following individuals need to sign the proposal routing form:
- Principal Investigator(s)
- Department Chairperson
- SMHS Grants Manager
- SMHS Associate Dean for Research
- SMHS Dean
- UND Grants & Contracts Administration (GCA) Office
After the Chairperson signs the proposal, please bring the proposal to Grants Management where the routing will be done for the Principal Investigator. Grants Management is available for help, questions, or review during the draft stages before it goes to the Chairperson for signature.
Submitting the Proposal
Once the proposal has been reviewed and signed by all the required individuals at the SMHS, the final signature is that of the UND Grants & Contracts Administration Office, located in Twamley Hall. Once they have reviewed and signed the proposal, GCA will call/email the Principal Investigator and intercampus the proposal back unless the PI needs to pick up the proposal to mail/email.
With an electronic proposal submission, the UND Grants & Contracts Administration Office is the authorized office with the responsibility of submitting those proposals electronically.
A proposal is essentially a persuasive essay trying to persuade a sponsor to spend their research dollars on your proposal above all others. A variety of Resources are available on-line to assist in proposal writing. Be sure to review the intended agency resources.
General Rules for Persuasive Writing
- Peer review is one of the greatest assets for successful proposals. Contact a senior or funded member of your department and ask them to read your proposal.
- Unless the solicitation forbids it (and some do) it is perfectly acceptable for you to contact the program manager and make sure your proposal is a good fit for them. If it is not, they may point you in another direction.
- Legibility is important. Use the largest font size you can. The best font (and one that some agencies require) is Arial/Helvetica. Twelve point is best.
- Be Concise! Don't use ten words to say what you can in five.
- Use the active voice in your writing. Keep it interesting and conversational. You want the reviewer to come away excited about your idea, not bored.
- While good persuasive writing will address the potential flaws in an argument or direction, it should also explain why you will be able to avoid those pitfalls. Be assertive in your ideas while still acknowledging room for debate and the value of other opinions.
- Don't use jargon or, if you need to, explain it the first time you use it. While your reviewers will be experts, not all of them will necessarily be experts in your specific field.
- The most important part of your proposal is actually not the project narrative. It is the summary. The majority of reviewers in a crowded panel arrive having only read your summary and rely on your primary reviewers to enlighten them on the project as a whole. Anyone picking up your summary should be able to understand why your project is important. This is also the part of the proposal that will become part of the public record, so avoid jargon and do not include any confidential or proprietary information.
- FOLLOW THE SPONSOR GUIDELINES!! This cannot be said enough. Failure to follow the formatting and limitations imposed by the sponsor can result in the return of your proposal without review.
- Last, but definitely not least, always have others, whether they are in your department or not, read and edit your proposal. Grammar, spelling, and punctuation are important. It's easy to fall in love with our own words and lose perspective while writing something we believe in. Another set of eyes can help spot wordiness where the author may see a cunning turn of phrase.
SMHS Purpose Statement
"The primary purpose of the University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences is to educate physicians and other health professionals for subsequent service in North Dakota and to enhance the quality of life of its people. Other purposes include the discovery of knowledge that benefits the people of this state and enhances the quality of their lives."
Joshua Wynne, MD, MBA, MPH
UND Vice President for Health Affairs
Dean UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences
The UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences, one of 126 medical schools in the U.S. and Canada, was established in 1905 and is fully accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education. It is one of 22 "community-based" medical schools in the United States. "Community-based" means that the school is integrated into the medical system of communities where practicing physicians serve as members of the school's faculty. Physicians teach medical students in hospitals, clinics and other settings in about 30 communities throughout North Dakota, although the majority of training occurs in the state's four largest cities.
The school is administered through four regional "campuses," based in Fargo, Bismarck, Minot, and Grand Forks, which represent the four quadrants (NW, NE, SE, SW) of the state. Through this structure, education and training of undergraduate medical students and residents is coordinated and supervised. Practicing physicians on each campus serve as teachers, providing a broad spectrum of experience while caring for patients in hospitals, clinics, physicians' offices, nursing homes and other community health care facilities. Community resources for medical care services - such as mental health centers, alcoholic treatment units, public health clinics - also are utilized in the education programs.
The school is routinely recognized by national organizations for leadership in rural medicine and the high proportion of graduates who choose to enter a primary care specialty. It has been cited many times by the American Academy of Family Physicians for the high percentage of its MD graduates who choose to enter training in family medicine, practitioners which are needed in rural North Dakota.
The library is a resource for interdisciplinary health students, faculty, health care providers, researchers, and clinicians throughout the upper Midwest. In addition, it is the National Library of Medicine designated resource medical library for North Dakota. It is physically located in the UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences. The library has an established track record of providing personal assistance using available technology to meet rural health information needs for a range of users well beyond the university boundaries.
The library serves as a Resource Library for the Greater Midwest Region of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine and serves individuals and communities in multiple states. The library has participated in the development, acquisition, and maintenance of an electronic document delivery system among hospital libraries in the region to provide high quality information to end users.
The library has a wide variety of print in electronic format. Categories include: research, clinical medicine, nursing, rural health, public health, health care administration, emergency medical services, anatomy, microbiology and immunology, pharmacology, physiology and therapeutics, clinical laboratory science, physical therapy, and occupational therapy. In addition to providing access to government databases such as PubMed and Medlineplus, the library licenses many specialized databases.
UND Center for Biomedical Research - Animal Research Facility
The state-of-the-art Center for Biomedical Research facility (20,000 square feet) is located at the NW side of Dakota Hall (Occupied September 2001).
A satellite vivarium was built (4,823 square feet) and is located in the School of Medicine & Health Sciences building (Occupied May 2017).
Grant vs. Donation
Definition of Grant, Contract or Cooperative Agreement
Grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements (collectively called sponsored projects) are externally-funded activities in which a formal written agreement is entered into by UND and by the sponsor. A sponsored project may be thought of as a transaction in which there is a specified statement of work with a related, reciprocal transfer of something of value.
The following conditions characterize a sponsored project agreement, and help to distinguish such agreements from gifts:
1. Statement of Work
Sponsored projects are typically awarded to UND in response to a detailed statement of work and commitment to a specified project plan. As described below, this statement of work is usually supported by both a project schedule and a line-item budget, both of which are essential to financial accountability. The statement of work and budget are usually described in a written proposal submitted by UND to the sponsor for competitive review.
2. Detailed Financial Accountability
The sponsored project agreement includes detailed financial accountability, typically in the form of a financial report with line-item budgets and requirements regarding a specified amount of time.
Definition of Gifts or Donations
A gift or donation, on the other hand, is defined as any item of value given to the University by a donor who expects nothing significant of value in return, other than recognition and disposition of the gift in accordance with the donor's wishes. In general, there are no deliverables; however, a focus or particular use may be designated. There will not be a formal fiscal accountability to the donor and it is also irrevocable with no start and end dates.
UND agrees to use restricted gifts as the donor specifies, and does not accept gifts that it cannot use as the donor intends. University approval for changes in the purpose of a gift fund may be required.