Requirements of a Proposal

This document indicates the specific items that need addressed in the proposal as well as the order in which they should be included.

Should be brief, clear, and specific. Avoid using obvious phrases as “a study of,” “research on,” or “the investigation of.” The title, by itself, should give a good indication of the proposal topic.

Probable Duration:

An estimate, in months, of the time that will be required to complete the objectives. All proposals are limited to five years (60 months). Proposals can start on the first day of any month and end the last day of any month.



Multi-investigator, multi-disciplinary, and/or multi-departmental proposals are highly encouraged. List the investigator(s) (academic staff only; do not list graduate students or technical service personnel) and their respective department. This section should include only faculty that will be participating for the full duration of the proposal. These individuals should be included on the respective REEport screens.

The first-named investigator should be at least an assistant professor or equivalent. This person will be considered the leader and will be responsible for subsequent reporting requirements.

PSU Collaborators:

Cooperation with other departments and colleges is encouraged. List only those individuals (and their respective unit) that will make a significant contribution to a portion of the proposal (not for the full duration). These individuals should not be included on the REEport forms. If cooperators are College of Agricultural Sciences’ employees; it will be the department’s responsibility to provide the appropriate documentation to assure that the individual has time assigned to the proposal when needed (see policy). Where a proposal is cooperative between two or more departments/colleges, care should be exercised to assure that the other units are advised of any changes in the proposed plans. The division of effort, coordination, and responsibilities of each department/college should be clearly understood and indicated. If there are none, please enter “None” in this area.

External Collaborators:

List external faculty, staff, or extension educators; growers; private, state, or federal agencies; and others who are collaborating formally or informally on this proposal. Please indicate (briefly) the nature of that collaboration (e.g., advisor, in-kind service, etc.). If there are none, please enter “None” in this area.


Describe the importance of the problems to agriculture (including forestry) and rural life at the state, regional, and/or national scale. Describe the timeliness of the proposal in the context of societal needs and/or issues that will be addressed. Describe ways in which public welfare or scientific knowledge will be advanced.

Previous Work and Present Outlook:

A brief summary covering pertinent research on the problem, the status of current research and the additional information needed, and how this proposal is expected to contribute to this need. Cite only the more important of the recent publications.


A concise, complete, clear, logically arranged, and numbered series of statements defining the specific objectives of the proposal. Develop your objectives in such a way that measurable results and impact can be reported in future years.


There should be a numbered procedure statement of the essential working plans and approach to be used in attaining each numbered objective listed above. These statements should be sufficient to provide a clear description of the experimental methods to be used and how the data will be collected and analyzed. The location of the work, equipment available, and additional equipment needs should be indicated. In summary, the statements should show that the research has been carefully planned and should provide for changes when necessary.

Timeline: (for McIntire-Stennis proposals only)

The timeline should be a general schedule for the objectives of the proposal and their corresponding time of completion. In addition, describe the significant anticipated accomplishments that will demonstrate reportable progress. If you are not submitting the proposal as a McIntire-Stennis proposal, please enter “Not Required” in this area.

Proposal Reviews:

Once the Proposal has been drafted, it should b distributed to at least two individuals for their, review, critique, and recommendations.  Reviewers must complete the information on the review sheet to indicate they have reviewed and rated the Proposal.

Proposal Signature Sheet:

The signature sheet is required by the AES to be the last page of the Proposal.  All project investigators, their respective department head, and members of the advisory committee (optional not the same as a project reviewer) must be knowledgeable and familiar with the proposed project.

To see a pdf of the proposal guidance click here

To download a Microsoft template of the proposal format click here