Empowering People through Behavioral Science

Full Proposal Guidelines

Full proposals will be accepted by invitation only. The deadline for submitting full proposals is September 15, 2013, 5:00PM CST. Submit your full proposal at this link.


All proposals must be typed in English, single spaced, with 1-inch (2.54-cm) margins. Acceptable page size is ANSI A or Letter size, 8.5 x 11 inches. Font size is restricted to no smaller than 11-point and no larger than 12-point. Font type must be Arial, Calibri, or Times New Roman. Do not encode protections or place restrictions on access to your files; this may interfere with uploading documents to the submission site. Proposals that do not follow these format specifications will not be accepted. Emphasis should also be placed on completeness, timeliness, and clarity of content. The full proposal must include all content that is outlined in the following:


To be submitted, the full proposal—including all required content and conforming to all formatting requirements—must be uploaded through the RFP website through a link that will be posted at a later date.

A total of five (5) separate documents will be uploaded in the following order:

  1. Executive Summary [250 word limit]
    The Executive Summary should be created as a Microsoft Word document limited to 250 words.
  2. Full Proposal Cover Sheet
    [Click here to download the Full Proposal Cover Sheet Template (.docx)]
    You must use the Full Proposal Cover Sheet Template provided above. Once you’ve completed the cover sheet including appropriate inked signatures, please scan the hard copy, save it as an electronic .pdf file, and upload that .pdf.
  3. Proposal Narrative
    The proposal narrative should be one continuous Microsoft Word document containing the following sections, in the order listed: (a) Project Description [10-page limit]; (b) Project Outputs [2-page limit]; (c) Curriculum Vitae (for each Investigator, including the Principal Investigator); (d) Biographical Sketch (for each Investigator, including the Principal Investigator; 1-page limit per Investigator); (e) Budget Justification Narrative; and (f) Peer Reviewers.
  4. Detailed Budget
    [Use the Microsoft Excel Budget template provided here (.xlsx)]
    You must use the Budget Template provided above. This file should be uploaded as an Excel file upon submission.
  5. Project Timeline
    [Use the Microsoft Excel Timeline template provided here (.xlsx)]
    You must use the Project Timeline provided above. This file should be uploaded as an Excel file upon submission.

Note: If you submit your proposal and later realize that your application is incomplete or contained errors, you may upload a revised version of your full proposal in the same manner as you uploaded your earlier submission, as long as you do so before the full proposal deadline (September 15, 2013, 5:00PM CST). If you need to do this, be sure to do the following:

  1. Send us an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) to request that we disregard your initial application; and
  2. Wait until you receive e-mail notification that your earlier submission has been discarded before you submit a revised version of your full proposal. Also, remember in your revised submission to resubmit all content, including the portions that did not need revisions. This way, the new version will arrive to us in one complete package of finalized materials.


  • Executive Summary (250 word limit)

    The Executive Summary is a summary of the proposed research activity, limited to 250 words, and suitable for publication (e.g., in press releases, newsletters). The summary should be written in the third person and explain how the proposed research will reveal valuable hidden (e.g., unrecognized, counterintuitive, or underutilized) connections between behavioral science insights and the human experience of purpose.  This summary should also including a brief statement of objectives and methods to be employed. It should be informative to other persons working in the same or related fields and, insofar as possible, understandable to a scientifically or technically literate lay reader.

  • Full Proposal Cover Sheet (MS Word template, downloadable above, to be scanned into a PDF file)

    The Principal Investigator, who is ultimately responsible for the scientific conduct of the proposed project, must sign (in ink) the cover sheet. If applicable, an Authorized Signing Official, who is certifying the proposed project and its budget, must sign the cover sheet as well. If the proposed project uses human or animal subjects, please be certain to note any institutional approvals required and/or secured for the project. Documentation of Institutional Review Board (IRB) and/or human subject approval authorization, or the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) approval of the use of animal subjects will be required before initial payment may be made. Also be sure to identify a financial contact, or key contact person who will handle all or most of the financial aspects of your project. If you are awarded a grant, this person will assemble your invoices, manage supporting documents, and submit invoices to The University of Chicago for reimbursements. Once the cover sheet is complete and all required inked signatures are obtained, please scan the MS Word document and convert it to an electronic PDF document.

  • Proposal Narrative
    1. Project Description (10-page limit)

      The central part of the proposal will be a narrative description of the project itself, limited to no more than 10 pages (not including bibliography). This description should include:

      • The specific basic or applied research topic
      • Objectives for the period of the proposed work
      • Detailed explanations of grant activity, behavioral science methodologies, and plans for analyses
      • The specific contribution the work proposes to make in addressing our primary goal: revealing hidden (e.g., unrecognized, counterintuitive, or underutilized) connections between behavioral science insights and the human experience of purpose
      • How the work complements or builds on prior, related work (done by the lead researchers or others)
      • The project team’s capacity for success in achieving its proposals
      • Arguments for the excellence of the proposal with reference to the selection criteria (see the General Information section of this website)

        Note: There is no page limit for the bibliography portion of the Project Description.

    2. Project Outputs (2-page limit) 
      In this section, applicants should list at least 3 concrete outputs (e.g., data sets, manuscripts, educational or training tools, press releases, conferences, etc.) of their proposed project activity, along with the anticipated outcomes (short- and long-term implications) of those activities. To identify outputs, applicants might ask themselves, “What concrete or measurable products will be generated during the course of this project?” To identify outcomes, applicants might ask themselves, “Cumulatively, what changes or differences will occur in the short-run (over the course of the grant period) for the academic community and/or general public as a result of this project’s activity and outputs? What changes or differences will occur in the long-run?”
    3. Curriculum Vitae for each Investigator
      The Principal Investigator and Co-Investigators must each include a curriculum vitae which includes an education and employment history, as well as a full publication list. Note that graduate student principal investigators must include a faculty advisor as a co-investigator. In addition, in each CV, each investigator should highlight (e.g., with bold font or background coloring) all publications considered relevant to or foundational for the proposed research, as well as those publications that are most representative of the individual’s research abilities. Please also list in the CV all present and pending financial support that might be leveraged to support the proposed project, including project name, funding source, dates, amount, and status (current or pending).
    4. Biographical Sketch for each Investigator (1-page limit per Investigator)
      The Principal Investigator and Co-Investigators must each include a biographical sketch that describes his/her professional experiences, positions, and research relevant to the proposed investigation. The biographical sketch must include a description of scientific, technical, and management performance on relevant prior research efforts. Those participants who will play critical management or technical roles in the proposed investigation should demonstrate that their qualifications, capabilities, and experience are appropriate to provide confidence that the proposed objectives will be achieved. Professional biographical sketches are to be written in the third person and suitable for publication. Applicants who are applying as a team are limited to a total of six (6) investigators: one (1) Principal Investigator, who will be the sole contact for the proposal, and up to five (5) Co-Investigators.
    5. Budget Justification Narrative
      This section is required to provide the justification for each line item in the proposed Budget. Please explain the costs associated with each line item from the cumulative or “Total Projected Costs” column only (please do not justify each budget period separately). Presence of cost-sharing is encouraged, though it is not mandatory. Note that while each PI must include effort in the budget for his or her proposal, that effort can be completely cost-shared (i.e., the effort can be included in the budget at a cost of $0). Please also include detail on any additional sources of funding you will be using during the grant period. There is no page limit, but you are encouraged to be succinct. If you are an international applicant, please list the currency exchange rate used in creating your budget in U.S. dollars, and provide the source of the exchange rate.
    6. Peer Reviewers
      Please identify at least two (2), and up to five (5) peer reviewers who may be able to provide an expert perspective on your full proposal. Your self-appointed reviewers, of course, must be qualified to review your research proposal, must not be a collaborator on your project, and must not possess any other conflict of interest in reviewing and scoring your proposal. Please be sure to include each reviewer’s full name, title, affiliation, email address, phone number, and website address (if available). As part of the proposal evaluation process, our project administrators may contact these candidates for peer review (though for smaller-scale proposals, this step may be deemed unnecessary by the Selection Committee). Know, however, that there is no guarantee that the reviewers you have listed here will actually review your proposal; reviewer(s) may decline participation, and the Selection Committee will ultimately determine the quality and quantity of the peer reviewer pool.
  • Detailed Budget (MS Excel template, downloadable above)

    Please use the Budget Template to create a budget summary for each of the proposed funding periods (i.e., [1/1/14-3/31/14], Q2 [4/1/14-6/30/14], etc.) identified at the top of the sheet. The Budget Template was created in a Microsoft Excel format and should be downloaded from the link above. Only budgets submitted using this template will be considered.

    Please refer to the “Itemized Budget Guidelines” section of this RFP for completing the Budget Template. We ask that you justify only the cumulative costs from this budget in the Budget Justification Narrative portion of your proposal, and that in doing so, you reference the cumulative costs themselves for each line item.

  • Timeline (MS Excel template, downloadable above)

    The Project Timeline should detail the major activities of the project over the grant period. The Timeline Template was created in a Microsoft Excel format and should be downloaded from the link above. Within the spaces provided, briefly describe the major goals, tactics, and responsible parties for each quarter indicated (i.e., Q1 [1/1/14-3/31/14], Q2 [4/1/14-6/30/14], etc.). Only timelines that conform to this template will be considered.


Next section: Itemized Budget Guidelines


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