Procedure for Applying for External Funding
The Director of Sponsored Research encourages you to contact them at the very beginning of your grant-seeking process, so that they can help you to strategize and to find a full range of possible funders.
The best sources for assistance on the academic content of your proposal are the program announcement, a program officer or even a reviewer if available, and your professional colleagues. Sometimes a funder will make available a list of previous recipients of funding; it may useful for you to contact one or more of them.
Please be aware that depending on the grant program and your circumstances, you may need to apply a year or more in advance of when you want the funds.
For many federal funders, the College must submit your proposal on your behalf, subject to any program requirements or limitations concerning additional applications from other faculty members. In other cases, such as many foundations, you will submit the proposal yourself, but even in those cases, your proposal may include some document demonstrating College approval (often signed by the Associate Provost for Faculty Development and Support), or the funds will be administered by the College if you are successful. In all these cases (College submits or College provides approval form or College administers funds), you will need College approval of your proposal and should follow the timeline below.
In other cases, we still encourage you to contact us and follow the timeline below, to help you meet the program requirements and ensure that your plans are compliant with College policies.
It is best to allow a few months for researching, writing, and reviewing your proposal, so that you can refine and reformulate your proposal in light of your developing agenda and the interests of your potential funders.
As the deadline approaches, please follow this timeline:
At least 3 weeks before deadline: inform the Director of Sponsored Research of your planned application, and download our Budget Spreadsheet. You may also download and edit this simple Budget Justification form. The Director of Sponsored Research will review with you the requirements of the application and help you develop the budget.
Each program will have its own format for the budget. Even for programs that only require informal budgets, we ask that you use the standard template linked above, since it simplifies both the budget approval process and your own process of budget development (it builds in key College parameters like fringe-benefit rates and performs most computations automatically).
At least 2 weeks before deadline: send budget and budget justification to the Manager of Accounting (with CC to the Associate Provost for Faculty Development and Support and the Director of Sponsored Research) for Controller's Office review .
Often this review will take less than 2 weeks, but this lead time accounts for other intensive obligations of the Controller's Office (such as the annual audit). If, in the course of finalizing other parts of your proposal in the last few days before the deadline, you find you need to make small adjustments to your budget, that can usually be accommodated by sending a message indicating the changes to the Manager of Accounting.
At least 3 days before deadline: send whole proposal (i.e., all the documents that will be submitted to the funding entity) to the Associate Provost for Faculty Development and Support and the Director of Sponsored Research for review. For federal programs, file the certifications for disclosure of significant financial interests, lobbying, and other regulatory matters online; print, sign, scan, and send the Bayh-Dole Compliance form to the Associate Provost for Faculty Development and Support.
Given this much lead time, we can ensure that the technical requirements of the application have been met and potentially give feedback on the core of your proposal. This amount of lead time also allows for any discussion that may be needed related to commitments by the College that are implied by your proposal. While this final review is ongoing, it is typically OK to make refinements to the academic content of your proposal, although if they impact the budget or College commitments, that will need review by the Associate Provost for Faculty Development and Support.
At least 24 hours before deadline: get approval from the Associate Provost for Faculty Development and Support to submit and be available to assist with submission.
Many of the systems for electronic submission become slow and unreliable just before a deadline, so it is unwise to wait until the last few hours to submit.
Many funders explain their decision-making process, so that you know when to expect notification of whether or not you have won an award. It often takes at least six months.
If you gain funding, congratulations! Please notify the Assistant Provost and/or the Associate Provost for Faculty Development and Support and work with the Manager of Accounting to make the arrangements needed to accept and to administer your award. Your funder will require reports of how you spend the grant in accordance with your proposal, and the results. Although you administer your own award, the Director of Sponsored Research is happy to help.
If you do not gain funding, some funders will make the comments of reviewers available to you. These can be very useful in reformulating your proposal, whether for the same or a different program; even if you choose to try again with a different project, you have still gained important grant writing experience and familiarity with the funding universe.