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Proposal Preparation

Now that you've decided to submit a proposal, where do you begin?

We invite you to familiarize yourself with the USC Dornsife proposal submission process described below.

All proposals for sponsored research funding regardless of whether submitted in hard copy form or electronically, must be routed through the Department of Contracts and Grants (DCG) for approval before submission. Only DCG administrators are recognized as authorized organizational representatives to approve proposals on behalf of the university. Prior to DCG approval, all proposals must be approved by the Dornsife Vice Dean for Research.  Vice Dean approval is obtained by the USC Dornsife Research Office (DRO).

Proposal Submission Process

Principal Investigator (PI) >> DRO >> PI >> DCG >> Sponsor

The following proposal package items are required for approval:

Hard Copy Submission of proposal package should be delivered to the Dornsife Research Office at CLH 204 (823 W. 34th St)

Electronic Submission of proposal package should be emailed to

Submission Deadlines and Processing Times

a)     Dornsife Research Office Processing

Proposal packages should be received by DRO at least five (5) business days prior to the proposal deadline. DRO will process your proposal package and approve within 24 hours provided there are no issues raised in the review process that require confirmation, clarification or additional approvals.  However, keep in mind that if approvals are required by other units (e.g. on collaborative grants), this will add to the approval time.  Also, keep in mind that this does not include the time that DCG needs (see below). 

Once DRO approves the proposal package, we will email the PI and include the signed PAR. It is then up to the PI to submit their complete proposal and the signed PAR to DCG.

b)     Department of Contracts and Grants Processing

Complete proposals, including all required signatures on PAR, should be received by DCG at least three (3) business days prior to the proposal deadline. Proposals received in advance of this deadline will receive priority treatment. To meet this deadline, investigators are strongly encouraged to obtain all needed proposal approvals at least one week in advance of the due date.

Proposals received less than 24 hours in advance of the proposal due date/time will be submitted if possible. However, because it may be impossible to check for proposal errors, these late proposals risk rejection by the sponsor.

DCG will notify you when the proposal has been approved and signed by the Senior Administrator.

DCG Service Commitment

Contact Information

We realize your focus is on demonstrating your expertise and innovative ideas.  With that in mind, we hope to facilitate the submission process by providing you with the knowledge and tools that can help you to submit a successful proposal.

Should you need proposal preparation assistance, please contact one of our staff members directly, or email us at

Yesenia Gonzalez
Contracts and Grants Coordinator
Departments covered: Human and Evolutionary Biology, Marine Biology, Neurobiology, Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations, Economics, Center for Japanese Religions & Culture, Political Science, Religion, USC Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies

Mike Godinez
Contracts and Grants Coordinator
Departments covered: American Studies and Ethnicity, Anthropology, Art History, Center for Applied Mathematics, Chemistry, East Asian Languages and Cultures, History, Korean Studies Inst., Linguistics, Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute, Mathematics, Physics & Astronomy, Slavic Languages and Literature, Sociology

Sabrina Feeley
Director of Research Administration

Erin Ruml
Proposal Processing Assistant