Introduction/Background on the Institution
Frequently a funding entity does not ask specifically for an introduction. However, if you do not include an introduction in the narrative, you miss the opportunity to lay the groundwork for the problem statement that you present. In other words, background on the institution and the region being served is frequently part of convincing the funding entity that a problem exists and that the applicant is the correct institution to design and implement a program to solve the problem.
Brief and professional. In a longer proposal, the introduction may be a page to a page and a half. For a briefer proposal, one to two paragraphs should be sufficient.
Think of the introduction as an opportunity to "introduce" your institution and the region and population that LSUE serves. In addition, the problem may be introduced briefly in this section, along with the project you have designed to resolve the problem. This is a good opportunity to zero in on the funder's language and demonstrate that your project is, indeed, a match for the funding entity's areas of interest.
In I'll Grant You That, Burke and Prater state:
"While your letter of inquiry or your concept paper--if these were required of you--allowed you to make the first impression a strong one, it is your introduction that will make the difference now for the simple reason that from this point on your proposal will be evaluated. From now on you must write with the evaluators in mind, guided by the funder's scoring rubrics, their requirements, values, terminology and suggestions, and the examples of applications." (2000, p. 50)
In the space available, you are not able to tell the funder everything, so pick and choose what you do include. Be concise and logical. Whenever possible, use the terminology of the funder to describe your project. You might use anecdotal information to demonstrate the serious nature of the problem your proposal addresses.
Introduction to Research Proposal
Next: Statement of Need/Problem Statement