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Full Proposal Review Process

Full Proposal Review Windows
2015 Funding Cycle :September 2 to December 20 (notification by December 21)

Full Proposals are reviewed during the dates listed above. The Foundation will not review or decide upon any Full Proposal outside of these review windows. Please plan to submit your OFI and Full Proposal early enough that it will be possible for the Foundation to provide funding before your expected start date.

The Foundation's review of Full Proposals has several steps, including Staff Review, Expert Review, Proposal Clarifications or Enhancements, Proposal Write-up and Staff Recommendation, and a Final Review and Decision. Though the review of each Full Proposal begins with Staff Review and ends with Final Review and Decision, the steps in between are discretionary and are based on decisions made in Staff Review. A particularly strong or weak proposal may skip Expert Review or Proposal Clarification on its way to being approved or declined.

To learn about each step in the process, please read more below.

Staff Review

During our three-month review window, the members of the Foundation's program staff turn their attention to reading and reviewing the Full Proposals assigned to their subject areas. The details of each proposal are analyzed, and review notes are made for each proposal. The various program teams then meet to discuss next steps, which might include notifying the applicant that we require additional information or greater clarity regarding one or more sections of the proposal, sending the proposal out for Expert Review, or moving the proposal directly to the write-up and recommendation stage of review.

If the Foundation seeks supplemental information or greater clarity about one or more sections of your proposal, you will receive an e-mail notice. It is imperative that you login to the Templeton Portal and provide the necessary information as soon as possible. Failure to respond promptly to the Foundation's request for more information or greater clarity may result in having your proposal declined.


Expert Review

The Foundation uses external expert review as an additional means for evaluating proposals. The information, suggestions, ideas, questions, and concerns raised by expert reviewers enable the Foundation to understand more accurately the strengths and weaknesses of a proposed project.

Expert reviewers come in two varieties: (1) those suggested by the applicant as part of the Full Proposal and (2) those identified by the Foundation as having expertise in the relevant subject matter. If the program team decides to send a proposal out for expert review, the Foundation will typically invite at least two reviewers from the list provided by the applicant and one or more reviewers identified by the Foundation. The Foundation takes every precaution to ensure that these reviews are kept strictly confidential.

The Foundation uses expert review at the discretion of the program team responsible for evaluating a proposal. If our staff does not feel that expert review is necessary, your proposal may skip this step in the review process.


Proposal Clarifications or Enhancements

If a proposed project has been identified as having merit but the Foundation's staff or expert reviewers have noted concerns or recommendations to further strengthen the proposal, a "bounce letter" will be e-mailed to the applicant, requesting further development of the proposal. Applicants who receive a bounce letter are encouraged to contact the program staff with any questions.

The Foundation uses "bounce letters" at the discretion of the program team responsible for evaluating a proposal. Should you receive a bounce letter, it is imperative that you login to the Templeton Portal and provide the necessary information as soon as possible. Failure to respond promptly to the Foundation's request may result in your proposal's being declined.


Proposal Write-Up and Staff Recommendation

Though the Foundation's program staff is responsible for reviewing and evaluating all proposals, only the Foundation's President (or Trustees) has the authority to approve proposed projects, making them into grants.

In preparation for a decision by the President, the program staff writes-up a proposal analysis that pulls together key components from the applicant's proposal and combines them with staff notes, recommendations, and any expert reviews. This write-up plus the Full Proposal and any relevant additional documents are then provided to the President for review.

This step in our process typically happens during the last three weeks of the three-month review window. Thus, if an applicant is asked for any clarification or revisions to the proposed project based upon suggestions from staff or Expert Reviewers, these changes will need to be completed before the last three weeks of the review cycle.


Final Review and Decision

The final proposal review and decision typically take place in a meeting attended by the President and all relevant program staff. These meetings are generally held during the last two weeks of the three-month review cycle.

The President's decision on the Full Proposal will fall into one of three categories:

  1. 1Approved as proposed and recommended by staff
  2. 2Declined as proposed
  3. 3Approved pending the acceptance of certain provisos


For all Full Proposals that are approved as proposed, the Foundation's staff notifies the applicant, and a Grant Agreement is generated and sent. For all proposals that are declined by the President, a declination letter is generated, and the applicant is formally notified via e-mail. If a proposal is approved with provisos, the Foundation's staff formally notifies the applicant of the terms of the provisos and seeks consent to these new terms. The applicant then makes the changes to the proposal itself (inside the Templeton Portal), and once these are completed, a Grant Agreement is generated.

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