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Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about the Substance Abuse Policy Research Program (SAPRP) application process. If your question is not listed here or on one of the below FAQ pages, please e-mail it to us.

Is SAPRP still accepting applications for its under $100,000 and over $100,000 grants?
SAPRP continues to accept brief proposals (previously called letters of intent) for its under $100,000 grants and over $100,000 grants in rounds. Deadlines and review timetables are available on the SAPRP home page. Applications received after the specified time on each due date will not be reviewed.

Why do you use a brief proposal (previously called letter of intent) instead of accepting a full grant proposal from all applicants?
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation uses the brief proposal method to save your time and ours. We review all of the brief proposals and ask a limited number of applicants to submit a more detailed full proposal. If you are interested in program statistics, please see our statistical summary page.

Where should I send FedEx deliveries?
SAPRP only accepts grants online; however, if you do need to send us an overnight mail package (for example, a signed Request for Project Support and Conditions of Grant form or a report), you can send it to :

Andrea Williams
Substance Abuse Policy Research Program
Center for Creative Leadership
One Leadership Place
Greensboro, NC 27410
Phone: (336) 286-4414
This address will work for FedEx and other overnight delivery services.

I read on the RWJF Web site that a letter of intent or brief proposal can be five pages. The SAPRP Grantmaking Online application guidelines say that a brief proposal can only be four pages. Which is correct?
The correct answer is four pages, double-spaced, with a 12-point font. RWJF has many National Programs that accept brief proposals (or letters of intent) in addition to the brief proposals sent directly to the Foundation. Each National Program has its own requirements. The Substance Abuse Policy Research Program requires that applicants only use four double-spaced pages to express their idea in a brief proposal. This is covered in the narrative template for the Grantmaking Online system.

What happens if I go over the four-page limit?
In order to be fair to applicants who follow the four-page (double-spaced) guideline, we will not accept any brief proposals exceeding four double-spaced pages. Please follow the guideline.

Do references count toward the four-page limit?
References do count (in the page limit). Most people keep references in the brief proposal narrative very limited given that they will have much more space to list references if invited to submit a full proposal. Most just cite the source to make sure they give credit where due but do not give full reference information. For example, right after the sentence they would include something like: (Shiber, 2004).

Will I receive written feedback?
We do not give written feedback on brief or full grant proposals. We will offer verbal feedback if you call the National Program Office at (336) 286-4548 after you receive a decision on your brief or full proposal.

For how many years can a project be funded?
The maximum length that your project can be funded is three years.

How detailed should our budget be at the brief proposal phase?
We do not require that you include a detailed budget in your brief proposal. As part of their brief proposal narratives, applicants typically give a summary of the total amount requested and the major spending categories.  More detail is recommended if the budget includes something out of the ordinary.  Remember this is very brief.

Is there a standard format for the letter of intent or brief proposal?
Yes. Please follow the instructions in the Grantmaking Online screens. The brief narrative template in the Grantmaking Online application process will ask you to provide the following in your four-paged, double-spaced (12 -point font) brief proposal:

  • Brief description of the topic to be addressed and its policy relevance and implications
  • Specific aims of the project
  • Description of the applicable research methodology
  • Project limitations
  • Names and qualifications of the principal investigator and key project staff
  • Estimated timetable and abbreviated budget for completion of the project

In the larger ($100,000-$400,000) and smaller (under $100,000) rounds, is the maximum award amount per year or for the duration of the project?
The maximum award amount is for the duration of the project.

In the larger ($100,000-$400,000) and smaller (under $100,000) rounds, is the maximum award amount before indirect costs are included?
The maximum award amount must include indirect costs.

What indirect rate does RWJF support?
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation supports an indirect rate of up to 12%. If you have any questions about the rate, please call the National Program Office at (336) 286-4548.

Can we receive copies of successful brief and full proposals?
All proposals submitted to SAPRP are confidential. We cannot allow third parties to have copies of brief or full proposals. We provide descriptions of funded projects on this Web site .

I've been asked to submit a full proposal (in the under or over $100,000 category). Is there a preferred page count for each section of the proposal narrative?
As proposals vary according to the project, there is no suggested page count for each section of the 32-page full proposal narrative. However, following are the ranges and averages of a sampling of successful applications:
Project Significance and Specific Aims - Avg. of 3.8 pages (range: 1.5 - 6.5)
Literature Review - Avg. of 7.8 pages (range 3.5 - 12.5) 
Preliminary Studies/Progress Report - Avg. of 5.4 pages (range 3.5 - 7)
Methodology - Avg. of 11 pages (range: 9 - 12.5)
Dissemination - Avg. of 2 pages (range:1 - 3.5)
Human Subjects - Avg. of 1.5 pages (range: .5 - 4.5)

Do I have to submit brief and full proposals online?
Yes. Applications for SAPRP's under $100,000 and over $100,000 brief and full proposals are accepted via the Grantmaking Online site only. If you have any questions or concerns about this, please call the National Program Office at 336-286-4548. To learn more about RWJF's Grantmaking Online click here .

Who do I call if I have problems submitting my proposal online?
Call the SAPRP National Program Office during normal working hours Eastern Time at either 336-286-4548 or 336-286-4414.

How do I submit appendices with my full proposal (for example, copies of published articles, sample survey instruments, and letters of support)? Are they submitted online also?
Yes. Please refer to the instructions in the Additional Documents section of the Grantmaking Online application site. (Note: No supporting documents are allowed at the brief proposal stage.)

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