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