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WSU Research Writing your proposal

Writing your Proposal

Communicate your goals to your industry partner clearly and concisely

Developing a proposal

As you learn about the company and their interests, make sure to ask a lot of questions. In addition to specific questions about their needs, you also need to understand how they operate.

  • How do they select projects to fund?
  • What is a typical funding level?
  • At what dollar level does a project move up a level in management for approval?
  • Is there a time of year that is best for submitting a proposal?
  • How have you worked with a university in the past?

All of this type of information will help you develop a specific proposal that is best situated for approval.

In some cases, you might start by consulting with the company or proposing small project to develop a rapport and show a return on the interaction. In others, you might move directly in significant project. Be open and adaptable.

Drafting your Proposal

Once you have a good understanding about your partner’s needs and project scale, you are ready to start drafting. In some cases, a partner may have a defined format they want you to use. However most do not, so it’s often up to you to define the format.

Some general rules:

  • Keep it short: 2-5 pages is usually enough.
  • Include clearly identified deliverables
  • Set date targets for deliverables
  • Do not overpromise
  • Present full costs- Include any applicable overhead in the numbers presented
  • For larger projects structure the project (and budget) in phases with go/no go benchmarks
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