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Depending on your role at the university, your level of direct involvement in proposal development may vary from minimal involvement to active involvement. Even if you are not actively involved in proposal development, all of us in the research community have important roles in supporting all phases of research development and administration. It's important to understand the process regardless of your role, so please let us know if you have any questions after reviewing the sections that follow.
To publicize program goals and other useful information, sponsors provide a document which gives PI's and Research Administrators everything they need to know to write a proposal. This document (or solicitation) goes by many names. You will hear people refer to the RFP (Request for Proposal), CFA, CFQ, CFP, RFA, and others. (See illustration on the right). Whatever the sponsor calls it, the solicitation provides you and the PI with all of the information needed to write a winning proposal. In this section of the RAMP Guide, we have chosen to use the "RFP" term, but remember that the references to the RFP here also apply to other types of solicitations in your PI's area of research.
Take 30 seconds to watch this video for a brief introduction to your important role in research. (Take a moment before clicking the play arrow to grab your ear buds or adjust your computer's volume up or down to listen to the musical sound track in your work environment.)
The following chart illustrates the basic steps in the proposal process:
Before reviewing some recommendations for grant searches below, take note of this important post-it note statistic to guide your searches.
Once the PI has developed an idea for a project, the next step is to identify an appropriate funding source. A funding source is an agency or sponsor that provides financial support for projects.
An appropriate funding source is one where the goals of the sponsor match the goals of the PI's project.
It is important to find out what the sponsor wants to fund, why they want to fund it and then be realistic about whether the proposed research project fits the goals of their program.
There are a lot of avenues for finding out about funding opportunities including:
We have included some resources below for you to check and add to your resource list. Click the web page images below to go directly to these sites. Be sure to save the links to your browser favorites, let us know if you have other favorites that we could add here, and remember to check this RAMP guide section periodically for new resources.
Also, be sure to Join RSC listserve if you have not done so to receive important updates from our NCSU Research Support Council (RSC) regarding research related procedures, requirements, and deadlines.
SPARCS Seek Funding Web Page and NSCU Research Gateway
Using Pivot (formerly COS - Community of Science)
Pivot, the enhanced utility from the Community of Science, provides Research Administrators and Research Development Professionals information on research opportunities, funding, and collaborators.
Access to this database is offered to NCSU faculty and staff through the Office of Research, Innovation and Economic Development.
Access the following YouTube Channel for a set of video tutorials on how to use the Pivot site:
Registering for National Science Foundation (NSF) Alerts
When you subscribe to the NSF e-mail subscription service, you will receive an e-mail message each time new content is added to the NSF web site in the categories you select.
Access this reference for step-by-step instructions on how to create your individualized NSF funding alerts.
Registering for GrantsNet and NIH Alerts
Sign up for biomedical and biotechnology grant alerts by clicking the GrantsNet site below. Sign up for National Institutes of Health (NIH) alerts by clicking the NIH site below and joining their LISTSERV.
Please contact us if you have some suggested additions for this grants search and alerts section.
Most experienced PI's know that the Solicitation, sometimes known as a Request for Proposal (RFP), is the road map to success. And for Research Administrators, the need to thoroughly read the RFP is just as great. Everyone involved in helping the university get more projects funded should be committed to thoroughly reading the RFP.
The chart below lists the major components of most RFP's.
Experienced researchers know that the RFP can give us important information to help us prepare the best proposals possible. Here are a few of the components and why they are important:
Click the image below to open and save a PDF copy of a Read the RFP Quick Reference Guide that expands on the chart above and provides an area for your own notes.
Please contact us if you have some additions or suggestions to improve this Quick Reference guide.
Managing all of the deadlines and details for grant proposal submissions can be a big challenge. If you have a good method or software package that you use in your college, please share the information or sample tool with us for possible posting here.
If you are a Research Administrator without a project management plan, you might find this Proposal Development Project Plan Quick Reference Guide helpful as a starting point for developing one.
Feel free to review and save/alter this checklist from the Department of Mathmatics. The excerpt below links to a Word version so that you can make changes for your use. The form is also online in PDF format.
For more specifics regarding proposal development in general, go to the SPARCS Proposal Process page by clicking the web page illustration below.
Click the RAMP link below to return to the RAMP Guide Table of Contents.