Office for Research & Economic Development - Idaho State University


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Graduate Students: Applying for External Funding

Getting Started

When planning to apply for external funding, you should:

1. Have an idea. You need to have an innovative research, dissertation, or other scholarly topic ready to go. Be sure to consult with a faculty advisor about the merits of your specific project.

2. Locate funding opportunities. Search the funding source databases to locate external funding opportunities for your project. Searching the databases 12 months before the funding is needed is not too soon!

3. Get the guidelines. At this step, it is important to obtain and review proposal guidelines and/or applications from the funding source(s) you have identified. Most guidelines will be available online.

* Determine whether your project ideas truly fit within the sponsor’s interests.

* The funding source may also post examples of previously funded proposals on their website.

* The guidelines will indicate the sponsor’s requirements. These may include formatting requirements such as page limits, font sizes, and margins. Regarding the deadline, know if it is a receipt deadline or a postmark deadline; if the proposal is to be submitted online or via email, check the time zone of the deadline. Failing to meet the requirements can result in your proposal not even being considered for funding, regardless of the intellectual or scientific merit of the project.


4. Write! Be sure to write your proposal well in advance of the deadline. When writing, you want to emphasize the match between your research topic or financial need with the interests of the funding sources. Be sure to take into consideration proposal preparation tips offered by experienced grant writers.

5. Check compliance issues. It is essential that you check with the Office of Research Integrity to be sure that your project meets all research compliance expectations. Check the guidelines to see if you must provide proof of compliance along with your proposal application.

6. Talk to your advisor. Ask a faculty advisor to review and critique your proposal before submission.

7. Talk to the Division of Research Development. Sometimes proposals require official University signatures and need to be submitted through the University. Read the application guidelines carefully to determine whether your proposal requires our office to submit it to the sponsor.

Working with the Division of Research Development

If your sponsor requires the University to submit the proposal, observe the following guidelines for working with the Division of Research Development.

When to contact us

An application must be submitted by/through the Division of Research Development if the sponsor requires institutional approval or signature by an authorizing official, or if the award will be made to ISU. Most graduate student funding awards are made directly from the agency to the applicant; some awards, especially those from federal agencies, are made to ISU.

If any of the following are true, you should check with the Grants/Sponsored Programs Specialist. (See the Division of Research Development Staff Listing for contact information):

* You plan to use university resources

*Your advisor (or another ISU faculty member or staff) will be named on the grant

*The grant requires an institutional budget (versus a personal budget)

*The sponsor will hold ISU accountable for completion of the project, or place other reporting requirements on the institution

NOTE: In cases where an application does not have to be submitted through the university, we recommend that your graduate advisor serve as your main source of advice.

Timeline for Working with the Division of Research Development

We require a minimum of five business days to review the proposal narrative, budget, and budget justification prior to the deadline date.

We strongly advise you to notify us of your intent to submit at least three weeks before the deadline so that we have more time to support the submission (i.e., ensure that ISU is eligible to apply, that your budget is correct, that you are meeting sponsor guidelines, etc.)