Proposal Writing Guide

What makes a good proposal?

A good proposal…

  • Is likely to advance the scientific or technological field and produce impactful publications.
  • Describes work that can be accomplished in one year and contributes to ongoing research at the user’s home institution.
  • Takes advantage of unique Foundry capabilities and/or expertise, and justifies the resources requested.
  • Provides evidence that the researchers have a productive research record and are sufficiently experienced to make productive use of Foundry resources.

Tips for writing a strong proposal

Although it is not required, users are encouraged to contact facility staff before submitting a proposal. Staff are available to help:

  • Confirm the feasibility of your project.
  • Estimate and justify the time and resources required to complete your project.
  • Identify opportunities for collaboration.
  • Provide details about the equipment and capabilities available.
  • Provide constructive feedback on your draft proposal.

Include background information on why the proposed experiment is important, and how it will impact the field.

  • Clearly articulate the science case; state the problem and its importance.
  • Place your research plan in the context of what others have done and are doing. Include references to literature where appropriate.

Provide specifics about your project plan and timeline.

  • Include a precisely defined objective. What constitutes success for your project?
  • Describe your project deadlines and key milestones.
  • If you need access to high-demand instruments such as the TEAM microscopes, be specific about the amount of time required.

Address the productivity of your previous Foundry user projects, if applicable.

  • If you are submitting a follow-on proposal, be sure to describe results of the prior user project.
  • Make sure all publications resulting from work you have performed at the Foundry has been entered.
  • Complete final summary reports for all prior Foundry user projects.

Sample proposals

For more guidance on how to write a user proposal you may refer to the examples below (PDF downloads).