The process of acquiring and managing external research and sponsored funds is depicted on the flow chart.
The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) provides a number of services to the GGC full-time faculty and staff, including assistance with searching for funding opportunities. To begin this process, you may access Pivot, a robust research database. For further assistance with your search, you may complete the Funding Opportunity Request (PDF form ORSP-101) and submit it to ORSP. Completing the form provides information about your project and how it will directly benefit the College and our students. ORSP will utilize this information to suggest other funding sources. In addition to these resources, you may go directly to the federal and state funding opportunity links found in Resources and Information - Grant Resources.
The pre-award phase begins when you are ready to submit a funding application. ORSP will schedule the pre-award meeting with you and/or your project team to complete the Notice of Intent (PDF form ORSP-102A to Form ORSP-102D). The Notice of Intent is designed to document specific information about the project and the team. All the documents in the Notice of Intent, including the Conflict of Interest, must be completed and properly signed before proceeding with the proposal development. Once you are ready to submit your funding application, you will then complete the Routing Form (Form ORSP-103). This routing form initiates the leadership review of your grant and is required prior to submission.
Tips on Proposal Writing
When you are ready to write your proposal, please refer to the ORSP Policies and Procedures Manual for helpful tips and more comprehensive information on preparing your proposal, budget, and on the regulations related to the pre-award and post-award phases.
The most important rule is to read your grant guidelines for specific directions on how to prepare your proposal. It is possible that your funding agency will require that you refer back to other documents or links. Be sure to visit these links and references in order to have a comprehensive understanding of your funder’s requirements.
At the end of your proposal development, it is always good to revisit the guidelines to ensure that you have covered the checklist of requirements they have indicated with regards to content, formatting, documentation, naming of files, and budget, to name a few. In addition, ask a colleague in your discipline to review your proposal for content. Their input may be invaluable.
The abstract is usually less than one page or is limited by the number of words/characters to be used. In the abstract, be sure to provide a brief and concise description of your project’s goal, objectives, methodology, and outcomes. In some cases, the funder may require that you also describe the need for your project/research, its contribution to the field, and to national initiatives.
Description of the Institution
A description of the institution is always a good way to start your proposal. Provide details on the College’s mission, growth and demographics. For instance, if the competition’s goal is to broaden minority student participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers, then, it is appropriate to: (1) describe the racial/ethnicity breakdown of our student population and how these statistics show that we are a majority minority institution and an emerging Hispanic-serving institution; and (2) ) mention that our access mission attracts a student population that is often under-represented in STEM, under-represented in higher education and under-prepared for college. Through our innovative and engaging approach to higher education, we are able to recruit, retain, and graduate these students.
Need for the Project
This section must clearly demonstrate how your project aligns with the mission, vision, and goals of the funder’s grant. It also must state how the project is critical to and addresses the needs of the target population. This section also should express the urgency for the project and for the funding, thus presenting a compelling case to the funder. To document the need for the project, utilize appropriate cited data, statistics, funder-provided links, and peer-reviewed studies, among others. While the institutional description provides general information on the College, this section should highlight data that are specific to the target population.
Goals, Objectives, Outcomes
Goals, objectives, and expected outcomes map out what you and your project team wish to achieve. Goals are long-term, generalized aims that embody your objectives and outcomes. Objectives are concrete activities that are measurable and time-sensitive. Outcomes refer to expected changes in behavior, attitude, and knowledge. By listing your objectives and outcomes, you will be able to describe the specific activities; design the appropriate evaluation plan; and create a realistic budget. Give careful consideration when developing your objectives and outcomes. The funder will often evaluate the success of a project based on the achievement of the goals, objectives, and outcomes. The continuation of funds and/or any future funding may also depend on your successful achievement of goals and objectives.
This section provides a detailed, systematic explanation of how you and your team plan to design and conduct the project. It should include a description of the target populations and how they will be recruited and retained throughout the life of the project. It should describe the phases of the project and the specific steps/activities needed to complete each of them. By providing an organized and comprehensive methodology, you will assure the funder on the soundness of your project.
The timeline delineates the expected milestones of the project. It helps the funder and you to visualize how the project will proceed and ensures that all proposed activities will be completed in a timely fashion.
The evaluation plan outlines the development, collection, and analysis of data. The plan should gather qualitative and quantitative data; provide sample questions and the evaluation tools/instruments; and state the timing of the evaluation design and administration.
The management plan lists your project team members and describes their qualifications, tasks, and responsibilities.
The dissemination plan should communicate how you plan to publicize the results of the project to your colleagues and other professional groups. There are many reasons why a funder may want to see a dissemination plan. For instance, the funder may require that you disseminate the results in order to promote the mission of the grant; encourage other institutions to replicate its successful model; and/or foster networking or collaborations. When writing the dissemination plan, provide the name of the proposed conference or meeting, when and where it will be held, and how this activity will advance the purposes of the grant.
The funder may provide the seed funds to pilot or refine a project or research. However, additional funds may not be available to sustain your worthwhile project. The sustainability plan describes how you will continue the project and reinforces the commitment of the team and the institution. When writing the sustainability plan, be sure to secure the commitment of those involved in continuing the project. If possible, list and describe your potential internal and external funding sources and/or continuing partners. A strong sustainability plan provides evidence to the funder that your project is important to the institution and will receive the support needed to continue after the grant period.
Budget and Justification
The budget provides the best estimate of your allowable costs. Moreover, the justification describes why the expense is necessary and how the expense is itemized. The budget and justification must reflect the expenses associated with all activities proposed in the grant. The budget generally includes personnel, fringe, travel, participant costs, equipment, supplies/materials, others' direct costs (e.g., sub-awards, consultants), and, if allowed, indirect cost.
The post-award phase begins when GGC receives notification from the funder or the PI/PD that the award has been made to the College. A fully executed contract or the grant funds are required for Accounting Services to set up the grant account. ORSP and Accounting Services will organize a post-award meeting, at which time Accounting Services will provide the necessary account numbers to begin expending funds. You, as PI/PD, now has budgetary authority and responsibility over the sponsored activity. You also will be responsible for managing, executing, documenting, and reporting time and effort and all cost-share. Please refer to the ORSP Policies and Procedures Manual for additional information on the post-award process.
Once the grant account is set up, you may begin the project. You also must begin purchasing the approved supplies, setting up any travel plans, and hiring personnel. Be sure to adhere to all institutional policies that may affect your project, including purchasing, hiring, traveling, meals, etc. Work closely with your unit or School’s administrative staff to ensure that institutional policies are followed and expenses are charged to the appropriate grant account.
If there are any certification or training (IRB, Whistleblower, RCR, Conflict of Interest) that is required, you must ensure that all relevant personnel associated with the project complete the certification or training. Relevant personnel may include part-time employees and student assistants. If effort reporting is required, you also must ensure that all project team members complete and sign the time and effort certification forms and that a screen shot of the part-time workers’ approved time sheets are submitted to ORSP.
To make certain that the program is proceeding as planned, ORSP will monitor the progress of the grant. ORSP will set up regular meetings also with you to discuss the programmatic and financial status of the grant. This may be before the end of the semester and at least 1.5 months before the end of the grant, or more frequently if needed. The meetings will allow all parties to discuss any problem and/or challenges the program may be experiencing, and to ensure the proper close-out of the grant. You must make sure that all funds are expended before the grant period is over.
The purpose of the closeout is to ensure that the: (1) project is completed and all reports have been submitted to the funder; (2) personnel who are supported by the grant are terminated; (3) equipment are properly disposed; and (4) guidance on any other issues (such as intellectual property rights) have been resolved or received as per ORSP and GGC policies. As the PI/PD, you should work with ORSP to complete relevant parts of the reports. You must also complete ORSP’s Closeout Checklist (PDF form ORSP-108) to certify that the grant is completely closed out.
For federal awards, you must submit your program report to the funder no more than 90 days from the project end date. As to record retention of federal awards, all programmatic and financial records, including those of the subawards and contractors, must be retained for a period of 3 years from the date of submission of the final expenditure report. For awards that are renewed quarterly or annually, the project records must be retained for a period of 3 years from the date of the submission of the quarterly or annual financial report, as authorized by the federal awarding agency. For exceptions and additional information, please refer to the ORSP Policies and Procedures Manual.