Skip to main content
Faculty/Staff Resources
What is Health and Human Development?

Diverse fields of study that share one
common goal: enriching the lives of others.

Search search
Mobile Search:

Application Process Overview

Creating and Completing a Grant Application

The proposal must be compiled and submitted as a single PDF including the elements outlined below and emailed to

Proposal Elements

  • Cover page with lead principal investigator
  • Project narrative of no more than 4 pages in length (more details below)
  • Project Budget and text justification
  • List of research team members and/or partnering institutions
  • Supporting documentation – current and pending support of team members, short form CVs of key personnel, scholarly references

Project Narrative Components

  • Project narrative must not exceed 4 pages in length and be uploaded as a PDF. Standard 1" margins, 12-point font, and Times New Roman or Palatino Linotype font must be used.
  • This 4-page limit excludes the cover page, budget and budget justification, and supporting documentation, including biosketches and scholarly references.
  • Be concise and compelling. Reviewers represent several disciplines with the social, behavioral, and health sciences. Assume they have limited familiarity with your topic. Avoid jargon and communicate your ideas in language accessible to a diverse audience.

Part I – Problem Statement

Articulate the project in the larger framework of sustainability challenges that your research will help solve. Provide a brief explanation of the human/social/behavioral problem being addressed, explain why it is important, describe its relevance to HHD’s Mission and indicate the appropriate HHD strategic foci. List the aims of the proposed project. Explain how this short-term project will contribute to solutions to a major challenge in the longer term. (approx.1 page).

Part II – Translating Empirical Research into Sustainability Solutions

Explain how your project will help solve the sustainability problem that motivates your research. Who must be engaged to ensure solutions are achieved? Through which pathways will the project findings solve sustainability problems (e.g., policy, governance, innovation, industry, business, social change)? Who will employ the findings to advance a solution? What level of engagement will any external stakeholders and/or partners have? What additional steps are needed to translate project findings into a deployable solution? What obstacles may inhibit translation of findings into solutions, and what plans exist for overcoming such obstacles? (1-2 pages).

Part III – The Research Team

Describe the composition of the project team, explaining to what extent the PIs bring different disciplines and diverse strengths, and how the team will work as an integrated unit. Please consider how you might have undergraduate and graduate students become involved in the research effort. (<1 page)

  1. Faculty Lead Principal Investigator and Co-Principal Investigator(s)
  2. Other Individuals involved and their contribution to the project
  3. External collaborators
  4. Indicate if team members have worked together before
  5. Define research roles and responsibilities. Be sure to articulate how the team will work together and how the collaborative effort will be stronger than the sum of disciplinary parts

Part IV – Feasibility and Future Sources of Extramural Funding

Explain why this funding is needed. Explain the feasibility of the project within the proposed budget. Acknowledging that research does not always lead to solutions over the span of a single grant, articulate a vision for how you believe this project will attract outside funding and how your research agenda may evolve with outside funding to further contribute to the environmental solution. Articulate subsequent investment needs (e.g., what are the expected long-term investment needs beyond the grant period? Who you expect will be interested in providing follow-on funding?). List specific sources of funding for which you believe progress under this grant will enable you to be competitive. (<1 page)

Part V – Addendum

Include current and pending support for each team member, 2-page biosketch of each team member using either the NIH or NSF templates, and list of scholarly references (not part of 4-page limit).

Part VI – Budget & Budget Justification

  • Faculty salary/effort cannot be funded.
  • Support may be requested for personnel (undergraduate, graduate, or postdoctoral scholars, research assistants, or associates), supplies, equipment, and travel.
  • Roles are required to be clearly and substantively defined and the expenditure intended for each to be made explicit in the budget justification sections.
  • Consultant/Professional Services expenses may not exceed 10% of the total budget.
  • A request for funds to support outside research collaboration requires a subaward and needs to be very well justified, including why the support is essential for the collaboration and how the expertise is not available at Penn State. Any subaward request will be closely scrutinized and may or may not be approved.
  • Conferences or workshops will not be funded.
  • Provide a clear and complete justification for each budget line in the pdf you submit. Justification should not include narrative related to calculations, but rather the benefit to the project.

Additional Details