Letters of Individual or Institutional Commitment

Many funding agencies require letters of commitment that explicitly document collaborations of individuals or organizations not included in the budge. Such unfunded activity, resource, and expertise collaboration could include, for example, access to a particular piece of scientific equipment, recruiting avenues for diverse students, sharing of key data, or performance of a technical task.

The following are a few suggestions for the preparation of commitment letters:

  • Anyone named in your proposal but not in the budget should have a letter of commitment to document their unfunded role.
  • If you are submitting a National Science Foundation proposal, do not quantify commitments in terms of hours or dollars. Otherwise, the agency will return your proposal without review.
  • When submitting to any other agency that allows cost share, do not quantify commitments in terms of hours or dollars. Quantifying commitments creates auditable cost share, which require institutional pre-approval.
  • Check solicitation carefully for any specific instructions from the agency.
  • Letters should be less than one page and on letterhead.
  • If you are the lead institution, it is better not to draft a letter for your partners or collaborators in order to avoid nearly identical letters. Instead, provide clear bullet points of project information that partners can use to quickly compose a letter in their own words.