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Research Development Services (RDS): Proposal Development Services Overview


As a University, we’ve committed to work together to substantially grow UConn/UConn Health’s capacity for high-level research, scholarship, and creative endeavors.  As part of its Research Development (RD) efforts, the Office of the Vice President for Research now offers proposal development services to increase the competitiveness of proposals UConn/UConn Health investigators submit to funders.  The services offered include consultation, brief and in depth proposal reviews, and large and complex proposal support.  They are open to all UConn/UConn Health faculty free of charge.

Proposal development services build on the success of OVPR RD initiatives such as grantwriting training and seed funding programs by providing grantwriting support, including grantsmanship reviews, proposal editing, and project management support for large and complex proposals.  These services are designed to ensure that high-quality science and scholarship proposed by UConn investigators can be as competitive as possible.

To learn more about the role and mission of our Research Development Services team, the services we offer, and UConn’s priority areas for research growth, please explore our website.

RDS Proposal Development Mission

The mission of the Research Development Services (RDS) team is to support the research growth of the University by increasing the competitiveness of proposals submitted by UConn/UConn Health investigators seeking external funding.  We prioritize support for proposals that align with one or more of the University’s strategic priorities.  We aim to provide targeted support of the proposal development process, using our skills and experience to extend and refine the capacity of UConn/UConn Health faculty to develop and submit larger and more compelling proposals.  Our goal is to provide high-level support in our areas of expertise, including:

  • Technical writing and editing
  • Interpreting and applying the requirements and proposal conventions of major funders, funding programs, and funding opportunity announcements
  • Knowledge of grantsmanship strategies
  • Project Management
  • Familiarity with UConn/UConn Health research capacities, faculty, resources, and systems

The role of the RDS team in the proposal development process

Investigators are the driving force behind the writing and submission of grant proposals.  Without the scientific/scholarly expertise, ambition, and dedicated work of PIs, proposals don’t get done!  However, we also know that PIs rarely work alone as they seek external funding; proposal preparation and submission is usually a team effort.  Let’s take a look at the different players in the grantseeking process and see how research development fits in.

Scientific/Scholarly Team: The PI(s) and their team(s) of collaborators are the creative center of the grantwriting process.  Together, they set the direction of the work, draft technical sections of the proposal, and work to ensure that the research proposed is of high scientific/scholarly merit, consulting when necessary with other disciplinary experts.

Budget and Administrative Support: The staff in the investigators’ departments, school/college office, or in OVPR Faculty Services are essential members of the team who assist with the preparation of budgets, proposal assembly, and other administrative aspects of the proposal development process.

SPS Pre-award: The staff in Sponsored Program Services, while not involved in the creation of a proposal, are responsible for conducting a final compliance review and certification of the proposal, and in most cases are responsible for its final submission to the sponsor.

Research Development Services Support: The Research Development Services team provides an additional layer of proposal development support, filling gaps between what the PI team is responsible for and what the budget and administrative support team is responsible for.

  • While not necessarily scientific/scholarly experts in the PI(s) field(s), the RDS team are experts in writing, editing, and organization and in the requirements/expectations of funders. The RDS team can join with the PI team to help produce proposal narratives that are clearer, more compelling, and better aligned with funder expectations—i.e. proposals that are more fundable!
  • For larger and more complex proposals, the RDS team can provide a project management function for the proposal development process. RDS can help set and manage timelines, facilitate group interactions, assist with document management, and help coordinate connections among the differing areas of budget and administrative support that may be involved with a large/complex proposal.