Proposal Development

Comprehensive Proposal Development

As part of OVPR Research Development, we provide tailored proposal development support to UT Austin principal investigators (PIs). We partner with PIs across all disciplines, including faculty and permanent research staff. Our focus is content strategy. Services we can provide include:

  • Competitive intelligence
  • Identifying campus resources to leverage in proposals
  • Connecting team to potential UT collaborators
  • Coordinating project workflow, meetings, and all-hands writing days
  • Graphic design services
  • Substantive draft editing for clarity and impact
  • Rehearsals and material prep for sponsor site visits
  • Tailored support and templates for local research administration
  • Red Team (external) review of proposal drafts
  • And more, depending on what the proposal requires – every project is unique and we adapt on the fly

How Do PIs Access These Services?

Provided services depend on PI needs, level of local research administration support, and our availability. We serve all 16 CSUs and can assist with any field of research, scholarship, or creative endeavor. Complex, interdisciplinary, and team proposals are our priority.


  • Must be pursuing a specific funding opportunity
  • Proposal must be beyond the scope or capacity of your local research support
  • UT must be the lead/prime institution
  • PI(s) must be engaged with us throughout the process
  • Must bring us on board early enough to be of benefit to the proposal

To request a consultation, fill out our contact form.

If we are booked, OSP Concierge may still be able to help.

OVPR Proposal Development Team

Jennifer Lyon Gardner, Ph.D., ELS, CRA
Deputy Vice President for Research
Melanie Morgan Gomez, Ph.D.
Research Development Officer, Interdisciplinary Teams
Kayla Dryden, MA
Research Development Officer, Arts and Humanities
Kimberly J. Jennings, Ph.D.
Research Development Officer, Biomedical & Health Sciences
Bob McGarrett, MBA, CRA
Program Director
Stephanie Tomlinson
Senior Grants & Contracts Specialist
Kristin Weidman
Manager, Research Administration
Scott Ridings
Senior Graphic Designer

Frequently Asked Questions

OVPR Proposal Development supports all types of research, scholarship, and creative endeavors from across all CSUs at UT Austin. The Proposal Development team includes Research Development Officers with Ph.D.-level expertise in biosciences, natural sciences, arts & humanities and social sciences. We support proposals to all funders public or private, but may connect PIs to additional funder-specific support personnel within OVPR or University Development for certain funding opportunities. There is no proposal dollar/size minimum to work with us.

Our Research Administrators support proposals that extend beyond the scope or capacity of the PI’s home research support. Most CSUs have access to robust local pre-award research administration support, either centralized in their dean’s office, or dedicated to specific academic departments/units, or both. PIs from these CSUs may only need our services for large, complex, cross-college proposals. PIs from departments/units with less established pre-award support may need our assistance with single-PI or small team proposals.

We work in tandem with local research administration support, not in place of it. When PIs approach us to help them with a proposal, we determine who their local pre-award specialist is and coordinate with them to ensure they are covering the workload on budgets, biosketches, routing documents to OSP, upload to sponsor websites, etc. We have pre-award specialists who have a lot of experience and can answer your local grant support staff’s questions about the RFP, give them templates to facilitate collection of a lot of docs from a lot of people, etc.

No. All proposals are submitted through the PIs’ local unit codes, and IDC flows the way it always would – there is no fee or “tax” to work with OVPR.

We believe all proposals must be PI-driven, since PIs will be the ones implementing the proposed activities. Therefore, we do not ghostwrite proposals. We will substantively edit certain proposal components upon request. Although our staff have Ph.D.-level expertise, they may not be experts in your particular domain. However, this outsider perspective enables us to focus on the clarity, strategy, and impact of your writing, ensuring your proposal maximizes appeal to reviewers.

The most effective point for us to be brought in is after the core PI team has been assembled but before finalizing the plan for content. Even if the proposal deadline is way out in the future, consulting early will ensure your team is headed in the right direction.

We serve all PIs across UT and may “book up” in advance, so reach out earlier rather than later!

As part of our Resource Matching service, we will attempt to identify UT PIs whose research interests complement yours and/or the funding opportunity. We may even be able to facilitate an introduction. In our experience, PI teams are more successful when brought together by the lead PI rather than gathered by “an outsider”. Therefore, we encourage you to use our introductions as a jumping off point for developing a deeper collaborative relationship and work toward building a cohesive team where all members benefit from the proposal.

We are located on main campus in the Peter T. Flawn Academic Center (FAC), Suite 426. We have space to host one-on-one and group meetings of up to 20 people.

We do not offer post-award assistance. Please contact your local research administration team to be connected to the appropriate Award, Contract, or SPAA specialist for assistance with post-award management.

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