Stanford Research Development Office

Section-Specific Guidance

More resources will be added as we continue to develop this page. (Most recent content update: March 27, 2024)

The following proposal sections, listed in alphabetical order, are commonly required by a variety of funders. For each, we have provided resources to assist in preparing content; some have been developed by RDO, while others are curated from trusted internal and external sources.

The resources below are intended to be a starting point. Solicitations will often specify unique requirements for each of these sections. Always check the requirements from your specific agency and call. 

Biographical Sketches

These documents provide evidence of an individual's qualifications for the role played in a proposed project and are generally requested in specific formats based on sponsor. For most STEM sponsors, RDO recommends using SciEnCV for generating and saving your biosketch as it will be easier to update and the interface allows reformatting for use in proposals for different sponsors.

  • Start here: Stanford ORA Biosketch Resource Page - Stanford resource with links to NSF and NIH biosketch guidance as well as SciEnCV resources
  • SciEnCV - a tool for assembling biographical information for federal sponsors that can easily be ported into multiple sponsor formats. It is quickly becoming an accepted (and often required) biosketch format for many sponsors including NIH, NSF, and DOE
  • NSF SciEnCV FAQs and Guide - start here if you need help setting up your SciEnCV account or run into questions along the way

Budget and Budget Justifications

Budgets are an integral part of proposals that have a direct effect on how monies can be used, are tracked, and are audited in the post award period.

  • Start here: Stanford ORA Budget Resource Page - find templates and helpful links and information including California's partial sales and use tax exemption for research and development equipment
  • Stanford VPDoR Rates page - tables, policies, and information on F&A rates, fringe benefit rates, and others

Conflicts of Interest

Often sponsors require a list of collaborators and other affiliates in a form that allows the agency to ensure that no conflicts exist in the process of selecting reviewers or to check for PI conflict of interest in various areas. These can be in the form of "COA", "Collaborator", "COI" or other documents. Be sure to check and follow your sponsor's guidelines for these documents; many provide their own specific required templates.

  • Stanford Global Engagement Review Program coordinates input from multiple offices that advise on various aspects of foreign engagements to assess risks related to undue foreign influence, research security, and integrity

Data Management Plans

Many funding agencies will require a data management plan (DMP) as part of a proposal. The DMP describes the types of data you expect to collect, how they will be managed, and how access and preservation will be accomplished over time.

Evaluation Plans

Often addressed in multiple sections of a proposal, evaluation plans are an important component of understanding whether a project or strategy is effective and successful. Developing robust evaluation plans at the proposal stage can demonstrate to the reviewers and funders that you have thought about what "success" means and how you will be certain you will achieve it or adjust practices to course correct along the way. These are commonly requested for educational activities, outreach plans, workforce development strategies, and management plans.

Institutional Support

Funding agencies may request that cost sharing, details on facilities, equipment, and other resources available to the proposal team, and other forms of institutional support be included with proposals. The scope and format of these requirements will depend on the specific funding opportunity or call. RDO recommends starting early in your proposal development process and working in collaboration with department or school leadership to identify and request appropriate institutional support for your proposal.

Management Plans

Management plans are common elements of large collaborative or center grants. This section is intended to demonstrate to reviewers how teams will work together to accomplish the various goals of a project. Some plans also require detailed administrative information as well as plans for evaluation of project activities (see section on Evaluation Plans above).

Postdoctoral Mentoring Plans

Postdoctoral mentoring plans (PMPs) are often required in STEM-focused proposals where a postdoctoral researcher's involvement is indicated. These serve as roadmaps for both mentor and mentee to navigate the key aspects of mentorship and professional development of postdocs. It's best to avoid using a boilerplate approach and instead tailor the Plan to the specific program you are proposing, institution you are with, and/or postdoc(s) to be mentored.


Sponsors sometimes request information on protocols and plans related to safety in various context including in the laboratory, at field sites, or any off-campus work environment. The university has policies and procedures related to these topics which can be found in addition to other resources linked below.