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Develop a Proposal

Think of writing a proposal as a train – the “Success Express“. Although funders have different application forms (which – more and more – tend to be online), the components are largely the same.

  1. Getting the reader “on board” the train.
  2. Convincing them of that the problem you describe is the right destination.
  3. Convincing them that you and your project is the right vehicle to get there.
  4. Showing them that the ticket price is justified.

Nowadays, there are some specific extra bits that many funders are asking for:

Getting Help

Remember the Pre-Award Team is here to help. Don’t be afraid to ask.

If you would like to read more about writing successful proposals, we can recommend The Research Funding Toolkit by Aldridge and Derrington.


This section will not make you an expert! It's designed to start you on the way to preparing an effective proposal, and help you consider the issues that need to be addressed. 

We have a range of resources to help develop your bid preparation skills which we are constantly updating.  Please also refer to the pages on How to Find Funding for further tips and information sources.

Securing funding from anywhere is a competitive process which can consume a great deal of time and effort - you need to choose the funding you are applying for carefully.  Be selective, don’t try to apply to lots of different funders for the same activity, pick the option that best fits both your position/track record and your project.

Plan ahead – preparing a quality proposal takes time.  Funder’s appraisal & decision making processes can also be very lengthy.  

Writing an application for funding to support research or enterprise activity is a different exercise to writing a research paper for publication or a conference presentation. Think of it as more like a job application or a sales pitch – you need to bear in mind the funder’s aims and objectives and convince them that you're the right person/people to give them what they’re looking for. 



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