Eastern Michigan University


Applicant Resources



On Writing a Successful Faculty Research Fellowship (FRF) Proposal

Check with your department head about any required procedures and deadlines at the department or college level. All proposals require the signature of the department head or school director and the college dean on the application form.

• The FRF supports creative projects as well as traditional research.  Projects involving professional development, curriculum development, or community service, however, are not eligible for this award.

• Released-time awardees are released from teaching only; they remain responsible for committee assignments, advising, etc.).  If your research requires prolonged periods away from campus, explain in your proposal how you are arranging to cover your employment responsibilities.  Your department head’s endorsement should state that your department supports your absence.

• It’s OK to apply for more than one award at the same time – even for the same project.  However, a general rule is that you cannot be paid twice for the same scope of work.  If you receive FRF and a sabbatical during the same academic year, you must choose one or the other.

• Team proposals are allowed but they involve some risk, especially when team members are mutually dependent and when there are significant differences in their research records.  Team proposals should explicitly state who will do what, and when.  The URSLC will treat team proposals as a single proposal.

• URSLC review is not peer review.  Think of your audience as an educated layperson – not a specialist in your discipline.  Keep jargon to a minimum.  Define unfamiliar terms.  Use illustrations and examples.  Keep it simple.

• A good idea is not enough; you must have a well-thought-out plan.  Include a graphic timeline that shows activities and milestones.

• Anticipate potential obstacles; frankly acknowledge the weaknesses of your proposal and state how you plan to neutralize or minimize their impact.  Include letters of permission or access to equipment or a research site as appendices.

• If your research entails human subjects or laboratory animals, you will need to officially apply for approval from the Human Subjects Reviews Committee.  Explain where you are in the approval process, and append your application form. 

After you’ve written your final draft, compare it to the checklist below:


• Does my proposal have a title page including a brief, understandable abstract explaining what I hope to accomplish?

•  Have I described the goals and objectives of the project clearly and concretely? 

•  Are these goals consistent with the purpose of the award? Have I explained how the project is related to the purpose of the award and to my own background?

•  Have I justified the need for and significance of the project (with a literature review or by some other means)?

•  Is my methodology appropriate?

•  Have I described the status of the project to date?

•  Have I identified any needed resources and included a detailed budget?  Can I foresee any potential obstacles (deficits, shortcomings)?  If so, have I resolved these matters to the reader’s satisfaction?

•  Have I included a realistic, detailed timeline that corresponds to my work plan (goals and objectives)?

•  Is the requested award adequately justified?

•  Have I stated my recent professional achievements truthfully and positively?  Are they relevant to my project?

•  Have I stated the positive outcomes of my project (for me, for my discipline, department, and/or EMU)?

•  Have I highlighted any unique features or benefits of this project (possibility of external funding, book contract, interdisciplinary research, new undertaking, community service, etc.)?

•  Have I done what I can to garner internal support (personnel committee, department head)?

•  Did I have the latest copy of the guidelines?

•  Did I follow all instructions exactly?


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Sample Successful Proposals


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