Pre-Award Process and Applying for a Grant

The Sponsored Projects Office (SPO) provides support to capitalize on grant-related opportunities through the provision of technical support and direct services to the College. The SPO assists faculty and staff in developing grants from conceptualization to application submission and provides technical assistance and oversight in the implementation of awarded projects. The level of assistance varies based on the complexity of the grant proposal, the experience of the proposer, and the need for a team approach to develop the grant proposal. A grant writing team consists, minimally, of a proposer (a subject matter expert who may later be referred to as the Project Director and the Director or Coordinator of the SPO, who will help. However, a solid team could also include an administrator, an Office for Finance representative, and representatives from collaborating units within the College and from outside interests such as businesses, other schools, or other funders.

Applying for a Grant

The proposer is the subject matter expert. The SPO is called upon to assist in the development of projects on subjects ranging from aeronautics to zoology. Members of the SPO are not experts in all these fields. They are experts in grant writing and funding agency requirements. They can assist the proposer in organizing proposal content and translating that information into what a funding agency needs to see. They cannot write the grant. The role of the SPO is to be the process expert. The SPO can assist in:

  • Analyzing and breaking down the Request for Proposal (RFP);
  • Developing grant writing timelines;
  • Developing the grant writing team;
  • Facilitating meetings with the grant writing team and senior-level executives;
  • Interviewing subject matter experts;
  • Researching and gathering information to develop proposal sections; and
  • Securing approvals for submission.

Process for Grant Proposal Development

There are almost always some variances in the process, but the following illustrates the basic plan of approach.

  1. Identify a grant you wish to pursue

2. Seek approval from:

  • Your immediate supervisor (chair). Approval from the chair of the department must be notified to SPO director via email.
  • SPO submits to Office for Advancement’s Vice President’s approval

3. SPO Director will notify you of which services SPO can offer for the project, once the VP of Office for Advancement has approved your request.

4. The SPO schedules a startup meeting with you to review the grant’s commitments and requirements and provides you with a timeline for the project.

5. The SPO may send you an outline and other documents to  get the writing started, and it will be involved to a varying degree in the process.

6. You may start writing your proposal.

7. You send the SPO a FIRST draft for revisions and feedback.
8. You send the SPO your FINAL draft

9. The SPO approves the final draft and sends it to the Vice President for Advancement for signature.

10. The SPO gets Board of Trustee approval.

11. The SPO submits the proposal.

12. The agency issues a letter of award or decline.

13. SPO notifies you of the result, files the award or decline letter, and updates the records.


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