Grants Development Office

Division of Research, Economic Development, & Graduate Education

Post-Award Administration

Getting Started

New! Our just-created PreAward website provides quick paths to starting a proposal, finding funding, and getting in touch with the correct pre-award office and Analyst.

Please check it out, and let us know what you think!


Everyone approaches the proposal process a bit differently, but here are answers to some of the questions we're regularly asked about starting this process:

When should I start working on my proposal?

Now.  The answer is always “Now.”  In all seriousness, the answer depends on several variables, including the sponsor deadline, whether this is a new proposal or a resubmission, the number of collaborators or writing partners involved, the number of external organizations/institutions involved, whether cost-sharing is required, the timeline for the campus approval process, as well as your own personal and professional schedule.  However, it is always better to start as early as possible to give yourself time to write, re-write, obtain external comments (whenever possible), complete the campus approval process, and submit a responsive and competitive proposal well in advance of the funding agency’s deadline (ideally).

When should I start working with GDO?

As soon as possible.  We want to know if you’re even thinking about submitting a proposal for funding.  We’ll work with you to develop a proposal development and submission timeline to keep you on track for a successful submission.  You can read about the services we can provide on our main page, and the more time you give us, the more we can do.

If it’s just a subaward proposal, do I have to go through GDO?

Yes, a subaward proposal to a non-Cal Poly entity must be processed through GDO.  This is still a proposal, just to the collaborating institution/organization rather than directly to the funding agency.

If I’m going to be a consultant on a non-Cal Poly proposal, do I have to go through GDO?

Generally no, but be careful.  If you are truly acting as a consultant, and not under the Cal Poly umbrella, you won’t be requesting release time, paying students, or using any Cal Poly facilities.  As a consultant, you should be acting independently from Cal Poly.  Otherwise, it’s a subaward proposal, and you need to process it through GDO.

What is the internal deadline for initiating the campus approval process?

Five (5) working days before the submission deadline.  For a subaward proposal, this means five (5) working days before the primary institution’s deadline for our proposal documents, not necessarily the funding agency’s deadline.  As the primary institution will likely need several days to process the proposal through their pre-award office for campus approval, be sure to ask your research collaborator when his/her pre-award office must have our proposal, and not assume that you have until the funding agency’s deadline to submit.  For more information on the 5-day internal routing requirement, please see the GDO guidance document on proposal routing deadlines.

When should I submit the proposal to the funding agency?

It is strongly recommended that you submit your proposal at least two (2) working days in advance of the official deadline to help ensure that your proposal is accepted.  This is to allow time to resolve technical and content issues that could jeopardize your submission.  For example, can take up to two business days to fully validate your proposal, so that extra time helps to ensure that you can resubmit prior to the deadline if the system identifies errors that cause your proposal to be rejected.  Funding agencies using electronic submission systems generally do not accept proposal errors as justification to submit (or resubmit) after the official deadline, and most will not review proposals submitted late.

If your question hasn't been answered here, we encourage you to call or come by the office to talk with us about your proposal plans.


To help you get started when we're not available, we encourage you to use the resources linked below.



Institutional Data Information for Proposals


Online Tools Required for Submission

Research Policies and Guidelines/Compliance

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