Ohio University

Search within:

Pre-proposals - B02


The purpose of this procedure is to outline the process for submitting pre-proposals to external sponsors.


This procedure applies to all sponsored projects subject to OU Policy 19.045 Administering External Grants and Contracts set up as separate accounts in the OHIO Financial Management System (FMS).


A sponsored project proposal is a formal request for financial support from an extramural source. It is also a binding offer of University resources, representing commitments that must be tracked (e.g. proposed investigator effort levels or cost sharing). Generally, a proposal consists of technical and administrative components.

A pre-proposal is a short description of a project that does not involve a binding commitment of university resources. Depending on the sponsor, a pre-proposal may be called a preliminary proposal, white paper, letter of intent (LOI), or concept paper.  A pre-proposal may include a total cost estimate; however, it does not typically include a line-item budget and is not expected to result directly in an award. Note: even when a line-item budget is not being provided, the total estimated project cost presented to the sponsor should factor in indirect costs, except in situations where only direct cost totals are requested. Typically, the purpose of a pre-proposal is to inform and catch the interest of a potential sponsor so that the sponsor then requests a formal proposal including full technical and budget information.

A pre-proposal must be routed to the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) when any of the following applies: 

  • Institutional endorsement is required
  • A detailed budget is required
  • The pre-proposal must be submitted through another system in which only the university has submission capabilities (e.g. Fastlane)

At the full proposal stage, a detailed/line-item budget must be provided by the department, even if the sponsor does not require one.


Training is available through ORSP upon request. Submit request for training to ORSP@ohio.edu.

Forms and Templates

Roles and Responsibilities