What is a Research Funding Proposal?

Also known as a research grant proposal or research grant application proposal letter, a research funding proposal is a compelling and comprehensive written document or set of documents that is submitted in order to send a fundraising request to prospects such as research funding associations and other organizations with a clear and full intention of securing funding or sponsorship for a particular research project. It is a beneficial communication tool to introduce your research project to your prospective research stakeholders, investors, etc. 

According to a statistical R&D report, the total estimated U.S. R&D expenditures in 2019 were $656 billion, and of this amount, $107.8 billion (16.4%) was for basic research, $124.8 billion (19%) was for applied research, and $423.4 billion (64.5%) was for development. Basic research is the experimental or theoretical work undertaken primarily to acquire new knowledge of the underlying foundations and observable facts, without any particular application. Applied research is the original investigation undertaken to acquire new knowledge which is directed toward a specific goal or objective. While development is the systematic work on drawing knowledge obtained from research and practical experience and producing additional knowledge which is directed to the production of new products or processes.

Thus, creating an impressive research funding proposal is an effective method for different kinds of researchers such as clinical or medical researchers, biological researchers, academic researchers, market researchers, science researchers, and many other researchers to persuade major decision makers that their research projects are sound investments, and to encourage research grants’ committees to see that their projects are the most worthwhile. If you are one of the researchers who need research funding, you must give decision makers no reason to reject your research grant applications and make sure that your research funding requests must stand out in this environment.

Different Types of Research Funding Proposal

Public or private funding organizations want to see value for money. So, the researchers who receive funding should be able to demonstrate that their research projects will be used appropriately and that the investments will be meaningful to both of them. That’s why you and other researchers need to convince your prospective funders that you will carry out the research work professionally and ethically. Another thing that you need to consider is what type of research funding proposal that you will use concerning your research project.  There are a wide array forms of research funding projects around us in diverse aspects of research fields and sectors. Below are different types of research funding proposals:

1. Faculty Scholarship and Research Funding Opportunity Grant Proposal

Developing a grant proposal for your faculty scholarship and research funding project  is one of the significant methods that you should be skilled in order to attract major research funders in your research projects. When preparing this funding request document, you need to check and make sure that you are eligible in sending your project proposals. Your research funding proposal must be a maximum of 6 pages that are single spaced, have 12 pt. Font size, and one-inch margins. For your signature page, include your name, the names of the department chair and the dean. For the title page and summary, it should be a one page section composed of the project title, your name and school, and a 200-word summary of the research work to be completed. Then, for the project description, write the description of the manuscript or performance project, production timeline and the proposed use of the grant funds.

2. Electronic Research Administration Funding Proposal

Do you need to write an engaging funding request project proposal for your electronic research administration? Typically, the project proposals for funding are developed by the department administrators such as business managers, grant/financial managers, department managers, and faculty assistants. So, describe your budget justification, current and pending electronic research works, and abstracts, as well as the scope of work, narrative, research strategy or project description. Include all the final research elements and after completing these elements, upload the documents to the research funding proposal.

3. Research Funding Proposal From Scholar Activities Committee

If you need to request funds to support research or other scholarly work, create a research funding proposal from the scholar activities committee. Identify the category of research funding that you are applying for. Define the title of the research funding project. Then, write your full name as the applicant or if it is a student-submitted proposal, provide the email address, phone number and faculty or staff mentor name. Indicate the number of students to be involved in the research and their names. Specify the start and stop dates of the project. Explain if this is a continuation of a research project that was previously funded by the scholar activities committee or not. Note of the other sources of funding from this particular research project.

4. Research Proposal for External Funding

Do you need further proposal development for external research funding? Create a convincing proposal letter by highlighting the purpose of your research, explaining the scope of work of your research project, describe the definite objectives and well-defined inputs and outputs, and indicate the essential skills when it comes to writing research proposals like technical skills and management skills.

Basic Components of a Research Funding Proposal 

Research encompasses an extensive range of original investigative activities to acquire knowledge and understanding. It involves work of direct relevance to the necessities of commerce and industry, as well as to the public and voluntary sectors, scholarship, the invention and generation of ideas, images, performances and artifacts like design as these things lead to substantially improved insights. In this section, you will learn how to craft a wonderfully-written research funding proposal so that you are able to captivate the interest of your clients or potential sponsors. However, a research funding proposal contains different kinds of components. Take into account of the following elements for you to create a unique document:

Statement of Need: One of the integral elements of a research funding proposal is the statement of need. Write in your document the summary of relevant data or other evidence supporting need for the research study. Background Review: Create a review of selected pertinent research appropriate to the topic as specified in the purpose of the research grant award. Research Design and Analysis: Include a clear description of the research design and plans for comprehensive data analysis.Timeline and Budget of the Research Project: Construct a clear and detailed timeline of the research funding project. Determine the budget of the research work that will be funded by your prospects.

How to Write a Research Funding Proposal

Developing an engaging and well-designed research funding proposal is an effective method for both research project funders and the researchers, who will have their research projects funded to gain opportunity in the proper development and implementation of their research work. To assist you in this matter, we highly recommend that you follow the simple steps below while freely using one of our sample research funding proposal templates in this article:

Step 1: Develop an Engaging Cover Page 

The first thing you need to do is introduce your research project to your sponsors and funders through making an interesting cover page. Demonstrate thought-provoking details such as the background of the research institution and its ability to accomplish the research project, a clear and cohesive overview of the research project, needs, methods to be utilized, and their advantages, as well as what your research funding project is all about or the major aspect of the research grant application proposal.

Step 2: State the Issue, Goals, Objectives and Desired Outcomes

What is the situation that is causing concern? Why is it happening? How is the situation involving your research work expected to change as a result of the research grant application program? Document the issue or need with hard data that correlates to the research funding goals and objectives. After that, identify the desired outcomes and benefits in measurable and realistic terms.

Step 3: Present the Research Activities and Plans

Demonstrate to your prospects the research activities and several plans that fully support the accomplishment of the research objectives. For example, construct a timeline for the implementation plan as you include in this part the order of the activities, along with a clear description on research staffing needs. Incorporate a well-detailed plan for the evaluation of the success of the research work at interim points and at the conclusion of the research funding project.

Step 4: Explain the Sustainability, Budget and Other Components of the Research Project

Point out the unique value and benefits of the research funding by depicting strong value propositions. Explain the sustainability factor of your overall research funding project especially on how the project effort will continue after the research grant ends. When you’re done explaining that part, determine the research project costs to be met by the source of the funding, as well as the methods used to calculate the costs.

Step 5: Prepare the Final Draft

Last but not the least, prepare the final draft of your research funding proposal that consists of significant details about your pitch. Set up a schedule for a meeting with the research team members, and prospective funders. Then, ask for some comments and recommendations from your research team for efficient proofreading and revision of your research funding request document. Submit your research funding proposal in the right manner.


What are some examples of a research funding proposal?

Some examples of a research funding proposal are research event funding proposal, faculty scholarship and research funding opportunity grant proposal, electronic research administration funding proposal, research funding application proposal format, research funding proposal from scholar activities committee, research external funding proposal, undergraduate research funding proposal, and many others.

What are the fundamental elements of a research funding proposal?

The fundamental elements of a research funding proposal are title page and cover letter, introduction/abstract/summary, institutional background, problem statement, research project goals and objectives, methods/implementation plan, evaluation plan, future research funding, research budget, and other components like letters of support and research team resumes.

What are the major types of research or grant funding?

The major types of research or grant funding are competitive funding, formula funding, continuation funding, and pass-through funding. Competitive funding is a type of proposal selection when a reviewer or a team of reviewers make their evaluation of the submitted proposals. Formula funding is offered to predetermined recipients. Continuation funding grant programs provide existing award recipients the option of grant renewals for the coming year. Pass-through grant funding is when the states may have disbursement of federal funds to eligible local jurisdictions through formula allocations.

How to approach major donors for funding?

It is important  that you set your mindset appropriately. Take your time to get to know a major donor somewhere. Concentrate on your top 10 major prospective donors consistently. Always conduct research about them, especially on their particular interests, their involvement around your community, and many other things that you need to know before approaching them. Approach your major donors through a thank you visit to show your gratitude. You may also try to approach them via an interview visit. Or you can meet them at a community or social event.

Professor Mohamed Zairi, the director of the European Centre for Total Quality Management at Bradford University, said: “It’s not just a question of process, about how to do it, how you go about getting access to companies and putting bids… It’s not about the process. I think it’s about relationships first of all, and in order to make relationships work I think we need to become humble and fundamentally re-examine our role as academics. It’s about integrity, pride, partnerships, and the principle of value.”  To get your proposal noticed and your research work to be funded, we recommend that you carefully follow the aforementioned tips and steps in this article so that you are able to craft a compelling and unique research funding proposal. Plus, download our sample research funding proposal samples here today such as faculty scholarship and research funding opportunity grant proposal, electronic research administration funding proposal, research funding application proposal format, research funding proposal from scholar activities committee, research external funding proposal, etc.