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Proposal Format Guidelines

The proposal guidelines are described below. Proposals should communicate to reviewers all the information necessary for them to understand what work is being proposed, what products and outcomes it will produce or inform, how it relates to other work or pre-existing information, and how results will benefit the management of natural resources and or recreation.

  • Proposals will be reviewed on a competitive basis, with initial preference given to original proposals that address project topics identified in the List of Priority Project Topics.
  • Overhead costs should not exceed 15 percent of the total grant award except in rare circumstances.
  • The maximum award amount is capped at $10,000. Details on allowable expenses can be found in the budget worksheet docx
  • Multi-year projects are encouraged, especially for studies in which year-to-year variation in relevant variables (e.g., climate, study population size, etc.) may influence results.
  • Project extensions will be considered, but the proposal must be for work that is above and beyond the scope of previously funded work (i.e., not just a proposal to complete the uncompleted work scoped previously).
  • A single PI may submit multiple proposals.  
  • However, funding commitments are limited to an annual basis. 
  • Proposals received may be shared on our webpage, whether they are funded or not.
  • OSMP reserves the right to acquire and share with other researchers any grant-related intellectual property/work products, such as datasets, field protocols/manuals, and reports.
  • Proposals must be received by the due date. 
  • Submit proposals (one electronic copy) to [email protected].
  • Award decisions will be made by the date posted on the RFP, with notification immediately following. 

(New) Example of a Successful Proposal

Thanks to Julie Larson for allowing us to share her successful proposal from 2018. We share it to provide an example of how to format a proposal. You can find the file here: Larson 2018 pdf.

Proposal Format Guidelines

Proposals not adhering to the following guidelines will be returned for revision without review. Deadline extensions will not be made.

  • Figures and tables embedded in the text.
  • 1-inch margins all around.
  • 12-point font.
  • Double line spacing.
  • 8 page maximum, excluding cover page, references, budget, and personnel qualifications.
  • All content is combined into a single PDF document.
  • Use the exact section numbers and names described below to mark the sections of document (i.e., above the abstract, write "Section 1: Abstract").

Cover page

  • Proposal title.
  • Names of and affiliation of each researcher.
  • Identify the lead principal investigator and include his/her contact information.
  • Date of the proposal.

Section 1: Abstract (300 words maximum) 

  • Explain the relevance of and need for the proposed work.
    • Is the work related to a priority research topic? If so, which one(s)?
    • If not, explain why this work is important and timely.
  • Identify problems and response variables.
  • Work location(s), and timeline.
  • Outline general methods.
  • Describe how results will contribute to natural resource management and/or conservation or human dimensions goals on OSMP lands.

Section 2: Introduction (1-4 paragraphs)

  • Briefly describe the problem to be addressed and its origin(s).
  • Local/regional context and relevance.
  • Explain how information from this work will benefit natural resource management and conservation, or recreation management, on OSMP lands.
  • Provide with this information a scientific literature review covering relevant prior work related to the project.
  • Include any previous work of key project personnel.
  • Include one or more clearly stated objective(s) or hypotheses.
  • Describe the anticipated value of the research to furthering of scientific knowledge and public education.

Section 3: Methods (1 – 5 paragraphs)

  • Methods should detail the tasks necessary to achieve each objective, and how each task will be carried out.
  • Methods should adhere to sound scientific principles.
  • Please include descriptions of
    • Field and analytical methods.
    • Study area description and maps.
    • A project schedule.
    • A detailed explanation of any potential to harm natural, social, or cultural resources on OSMP properties.
  • To conclude the methods, describe, in a bulleted list
    • All major facilities and equipment to be used in support of this project in sufficient detail to demonstrate adequacy.
    • For example, indicate whether there are suitable field equipment, vehicles, laboratory and office space and equipment, life support systems for organisms, and computers.
    • Identify and justify any special or high-cost equipment to be purchased with funds requested in this proposal.

Section 4: Anticipated Results and Discussion (1 – 3 paragraphs)

  • Describe what the anticipated results of the research will be, and discuss their relevancy to local and regional issues. If useful, include a list of predicted results.
  • Conclude this section by clearly identifying all deliverables (e.g., reports, presentations, habitat enhancements, etc.), in a bulleted list, that will result from this work and describe the purpose that each product is intended to meet.

Section 5: Relationships to existing projects (1 paragraph)

  • Please indicate whether (and how) this project is a collaborative effort with other proposed or existing projects, specifically those in the northern Colorado Front Range area.
  • If this project requires any special permitting, explain the permit status and provide name of permit holder/applicant.
  • If you are aware of any potential conflict between this proposal and an ongoing project, explain.
  • If applicable, explain how this proposal is part of a larger regional effort involving multiple projects or multiple partners.

Section 6: Project history for continuing projects (1 paragraph)

  • If this project is part of an ongoing study, please provide a brief history of past goals and accomplishments.
  • List the years underway, past costs (amount received by year), summary of major results, project reports and technical papers, and relevant adaptive management implications.

Section 7: References

  • Provide full citations for all scientific and technical documents that are referenced in the proposal.

Section 8: Budget

  • Provide a detailed, itemized budget in table format.
  • Include information for all personnel, equipment, goods and services, and other items (e.g. per diem), required to complete the work described in this proposal.
  • Also include overhead costs.
  • Subtotal within each category and provide a grand total.
  • Please use the budget worksheet docx.

Section 9: Personnel qualifications

  • On one page, include names, titles, anticipated level of participation (in full-time equivalent hours), and how each will participate on the project.
  • On subsequent pages, include a curriculum vitae (CV) for each key personnel (i.e. principal investigators, project managers, primary subcontractors, academic advisors).
  • Each CV should be no more than 2 pages long.


  • All successful applicants are required to abide by City of Boulder OSMP rules and regulations.
  • All research and related projects conducted on City of Boulder OSMP lands will have oversight provided by an OSMP staff member.
  • Successful applicants must sign a volunteer register and waiver of liability.
  • Anyone may apply. Students must submit a signed letter from an academic advisor to confirm that the proposal has been reviewed, approved, and is supported. Faculty sponsors are responsible for providing the final report should the student fail to submit one.

Important Information About Fund Disbursement

Funds payment schedules for all funded projects will be determined jointly with successful applicants.  Final payments may be held until OSMP project sponsors receive relevant deliverables described in the project proposal and related contract documents.