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Research Proposal Support

The Central Administration Research Office (CARO) is composed of pre-award and research development professionals dedicated to supporting investigators as they navigate the grant cycle from conceptualization to submission to award acceptance.

CARO works with DFPM investigators to customize the level of support desired for each project. Generally, investigators request one of two support tracks: pre-award administration, which includes budgetary support, formatting, compliance checking, uploading, and internal tracking, or research development, which encompasses pre-award and further includes project management and proposal development (e.g., editing, team facilitation, arranging reviews). Each staff member specializes in various aspects of research support and is assigned to projects accordingly. 

CARO offers services in the four domains below:

CARO Services


CARO support can begin at the onset of the proposal process, including seeking tailored funding opportunities, facilitating collaborations, and supporting project conceptualization. Faculty do not need to come to CARO with a fully developed research proposal for support. The sooner CARO is involved in the process, the more services we are able to offer. 

  • For pre-award administration services (budgetary support, formatting, compliance checking, uploading, and internal tracking), we ask that you contact us as soon as possible, preferably at project onset. To ensure a smooth submission process, investigators should contact us at least one week before the OSP deadline (5 days prior to sponsor deadline). More complex proposals, such as those with multiple subawards, may require additional time. 
  • For research development services (pre-award administrative services as well as project management, proposal editing, and graphic creation), CARO requests that investigators contact us at project onset, preferably one month in advance of the OSP deadline. 

CARO staff understand that emergencies happen and that turnaround times may be shorter than desired. It is our goal to meet all reasonable requests for support. However, if requests exceed our capacity at times, our services may be streamlined or given on a first-come, first-served basis. Per DFPM policy, CARO does not support applications that do not meet the OSP deadline. The Department Chair or the Vice Chair for Research may approve exceptions.

Project Management

Research Communication

  • Identify and distribute funding opportunity announcements relevant to faculty research interests
  • Maintain current knowledge of sponsor changes and requirements and disseminate to faculty via research meetings and the Research and Scholarship Committee 
  • Internally track submissions and awards 
  • Identify areas of need and coordinate with leadership to provide support 
  • Coordinate with University Communications to disseminate research success  

Research Advancement

  • Coordinate and manage limited submissions
  • Facilitate partnerships between divisions, departments, and institutions
  • Encourage and coordinate internal and external scientific peer review
  • Support presentations at New Proposal Working Group (NPWG)
  • Support REDCap survey development intended to generate preliminary data for future submissions
  • Support faculty nominations and applications for awards and honors 
  • Work with investigators to ensure that research appropriately incorporates Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and that Human Subjects plans include minoritized populations as appropriate

Proposal Development

  • Work with the PI to create and refine a budget and justification according to best practices and funder guidelines. We work hand-in-hand with division accountants to anticipate needs and problems before they arise during the project period 
  • Provide expert proposal editing in accordance with recommended best practices, agency guidelines, and FOA-specific recommendations
  • Provide outlines (for proposal narrative documents) and templates (for supporting documentation; e.g., Facilities, Human Subjects, MPI plan) that are responsive to best practices and sponsor requirements
  • Assist with drafting letters of support templates and collecting/tracking letters
  • Create, edit, and/or format supporting documentation, including biosketches, data management plans, multi-PI plans, and protection of human subjects
  • Provide graphic design support in creating figures, tables, and logic models
  • Upload all proposal information and documents into the appropriate submission system (typically Cayuse or FastLane) and coordinate with OSP for review and submission
  • Work with PIs to resolve questions discovered during OSP review
  • Support IRB submissions and approval, including amendments and study reports