Application Process

Once you have decided on a funding opportunity, you can begin the application process, which involves preparing a set of documents that address requirements, both for MU, and for the external funder.

Institutional Requirements

The MU Office of Sponsored Programs Administration (OSPA) requires

  • that applicants submit a detailed internal project budget,
  • that the project be entered into the PeopleSoft system, and that approvals are obtained from individuals on the project, their chairs and deans.
  • Additionally, for applications to federal funders, OSPA must confirm that all project personnel are compliant with federal conflict of interest guidelines.

Funder Requirements


A guide to the requirements for the funder, NIH for example, can be found at:

Standard NIH Application Due Dates

Use this link to learn about the three annual NIH application cycles and their relationship to due dates, review and council dates, and earliest possible start dates:

Please keep in mind that MU OSPA and the School of Medicine Grants and Contracts Office must review your application before it is submitted to NIH; please ensure that you are able to submit your application internally, seven working days prior to the external deadline.

eRA Commons

To apply for NIH funding all investigators must have an eRA Commons ID. If you do not have one, you can request that the MU OSPA create one for you by completing the form.

ASSIST, the NIH online application system

NIH has developed an online application system, Application Submission System & Interface for Submission Tracking (ASSIST), which may be accessed at:

NIH maintains an extensive YouTube channel that contains several videos about how to use ASSIST. Search for ASSIST at this site:

Document Description required Page limit
Abstract A succinct and accurate description of the proposed work able to stand on its own (separate from the application). Should be informative to other persons working in the same or related fields and understandable to a scientifically literate reader. Avoid descriptions of past accomplishments and use of the first person. x 30 lines
Narrative/Lay summary Describe the relevance of this research to public health in, at most, three sentences. Describe how, in the short or long term, the research would contribute to fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and/or the application of that knowledge to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce illness and disability. If the application is funded, this public health relevance statement will be combined with the project summary (above) and will become public information. x 2-3 sentences
Introduction Summarizes substantial additions, deletions, and changes to the application – individual changes do not need to be identified or marked.


Responds to the issues and criticism raised in the summary statement

Resubmissions only 1 page
Specific Aims State concisely the goals of the proposed research. Summarize the expected outcome, including the impact on the research field. x 1 page
Research Strategy Include Significance, Innovation and Approach. Additionally, be to clearly state the scientific premise on which your research is based, the rigor of your design and consideration of biological variables x Depends, see table

Biographical Sketch x 5 pages
Facilities and Resources Describe how the scientific environment in which the research will be done contributes to the probability of success (e.g., institutional support, physical resources, and intellectual rapport). If there are multiple performance sites, describe the resources available at each site. x No page limit
Equipment Separate from Facilities and Resources No page limit
Vertebrate Animal section depends No page limit
Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Section Consult the NIH Guidelines for Human Subjects and Clinical Trials


depends depends
Budget Justification Use with a detailed budget depends No page limit
Personnel Justification Use with a modular budget depends One page

Templates and Resources

These samples, templates and boilerplates are provided to help you prepare your grant proposals. They are not intended to be used ‘as is’ and should be customized based on your circumstances. Please review each carefully, check for relevance and edit to suit your grant proposal. Also, please keep in mind that funding agencies frequently change the format and specifications on forms and documents. Always check the current agency guidelines and the funding announcement to be certain that you are following the most current requirements.

Biographical Sketch Forms and Samples

Budget Justifications

Full Budget Justification for use with detailed “R&R” Budgets

Personnel Justification for use with Modular Budgets

Human Subjects

3.1 Protection of Human Subjects


Facilities and Resources – MU Overall

Authentication of Key Biological Information

Data Sharing Plan – NIH Example

Data Sharing Plan – guidelines

Responsible Conduct of Research Description

Mentored “K” applications – tips from NIAID