Below, please find a list of frequently asked questions regarding grantseeking at Valparaiso University. Click on any question or simply scroll down to review the entire list of questions.
What is the role of the Office of Sponsored and Student Undergraduate Research (OSSR)?
The Director assists faculty in the development of projects and the search for funding sources. The Director has the authority to submit grants (and changes) on behalf of faculty, staff and students.
The Director provides many services, including:
- providing general information about the grantseeking process;
- helping to identify and contact the funding source;
- acting as a liaison with other offices on campus, especially the Office of Institutional Advancement;
- facilitating discussions about the project concept and project implementation;
- providing technical assistance in the writing of a proposal and budget preparation.
What is the role of the Office of Institutional Advancement?
The primary responsibility of the Office of Institutional Advancement is to conduct fundraising efforts for University-wide initiatives. The Director of Corporations and Foundations in OIA works to obtain funds for the University from some the same funding sources that individual faculty and departments want to pursue. The Director of OSSR is the liaison to facilitate communication withe the Director of Corporations and Foundations.
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 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.
If I identify a potential funding source for my project, how should I proceed?
Forward the name of the funding source to the Director of OSSR. If it is a private foundation or individual, the Director will check with OIA to determine if the University has any current or past relationship with the funding source that might be helpful in obtaining funding.
What are the key components to a proposal?
When writing the proposal, adhere strictly to the guidelines provided to you by the funding source.
The key components in most proposals are the:
- problem or need statement and solution
- goals and objectives
- principal investigator’s (PI) or project director’s (PD) qualifications
- assessment and evaluation plan, and
Each of these should be clearly articulated and appropriate for the project. These components should be tied to each other. For example, do not put in an activity that has no budget to support it, and do not put money in the budget for things not needed to perform the activities. Also, each objective should have an assessment measure linked to it.
Ask colleagues from within your field and outside of your field to review your drafts. The Director of OSSR is available to review drafts. If the readers have done their job well, your draft proposal will be returned to you with suggestions, questions and observations. It’s their job to find specifics that a reviewer might misconstrue, misread, or misunderstand. Grants are highly competitive. You want to submit the best application for the most well-conceived project that you possible can!
What are important items in preparing a budget?
Have a realistic project budget that fits within the funding parameters of the grant opportunity.
Some funders allow for indirect costs (also called facilities and administration or overhead). If these are allowed, include them! They help support the University’s infrastructure. When received, indirect costs are divided among the university in general, the dean, the department chair, and the PI according to university policy.
Matching/cost-share/in-kind support is sometimes required or encouraged. These are costs that the University is committing to support this project. It often consists of faculty time, the use of specialized equipment, and the like. Be sure to talk with your department chair, dean or other appropriate person to gain their commitment of these resources.
How do I obtain institutional approval to submit a proposal?
At least 5 business days before the submission of a proposal, a final draft of the proposal needs to be circulated for review/approval with a copy of 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, a 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.