For New Grantseekers

How Does the Grant Process Work?

What is the role of the Office of Sponsored and Student Research (OSSR)?

The OSSR Director is available to answer your questions at any and all stages of the grantseeking process.  Please reach out at sponsored@valpo.edu. The Director provides many services, including:

  • Provides general information about the grantseeking process
  • Helps identify and contact the funder
  • Acts as a liaison with other offices on campus, including Institutional Advancement and Finance
  • Facilitates discussions about the project concept and project implementation
  • Assists in the writing/editing/proofing of a proposal narrative
  • Assists with budget preparation
If I have an idea for a project, what do I do?

Talk to your colleagues, your department chair, or others in your professional network to see if the project is feasible and in line with the University’s mission and priorities. Talk with the Director of OSSR and coordinate efforts to look for funding sources. These may include government agencies, private foundations, corporations, individuals, or the University itself.  Complete this Information Gathering Form as best you can and return it to OSSR to help you get started.

If I identify a potential funding source for my project, how should I proceed?

Talk with the Director of OSSR who will guide the next steps which may include checking past Valpo applications to that funder and checking with the Advancement Office regarding relationships that the University may have with that funder.

How do I obtain university approval to submit a proposal?

At least 5 business days before the submission of a proposal, information must be routed for review/approval using the “Grant Proposal Approval Form (GPAF).”   The GPAF packet includes the GPAF form, conflict of interest forms completed and signed by the PI and Co-PIs, project abstract, budget, and budget justification.  The Director of OSSR will inform the PI when the GPAF process has been completed and the PI may submit the application. The GPAF and instructions can be found here.

Resources for New Grant Writers

Check out these useful PowerPoints and other resources.

See Valparaiso Institute for Teaching and Learning (VITAL) for more faculty support services

About Private Foundations

Private foundations vary in size, grant-making priorities, and available assets.  All want to be assured that their “investment” in your project will achieve the stated goals and have a meaningful impact.  Increase your chances of receiving funding by reviewing your proposal through the eyes of a foundation officer.  Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does the project fall within the foundation’s interests and geographical area?
  • What is the significance of your project?
  • Does the project have realistic goals and time frames?  Can you really do what you propose to do?  What evidence do you provide to support your ability to complete the project and achieve stated outcomes?
  • What are the outcomes or impact of the project?
  • In what ways is the university committed to the project (cost-sharing, in-kind support)?
  • Who will oversee the project and what are that person’s qualifications?
  • Does the project duplicate, fill in gaps, or expand upon existing research, programs, or services? 
  • Can the project/research be used as a model for duplication elsewhere? 
  • Who will oversee grant expenditures and what are their qualifications?
  • How does the project justify the cost?  Can the project be segmented for partial funding?
  • What other sources of funding are available and have they been pursued?  Can the project be sustained after the grant funds ends?   How can the requested funding provide leverage for other funders to participate in the future?
  • How can the proposed project be considered a good investment for the foundation?

Searching Candid Databases to Find Private Foundation Funders

The Christopher Center Library hosts the Candid (formerly Foundation Center) database of private foundations and the database of grants for individuals. These databases can be accessed using one of the wired computers in the library.

Information on how to search the database for private foundation grants can be found at: https://libguides.valpo.edu/grants.

Overview of How to Use the databases

Classification Terms to Use in Searches