How Does the Grant Process Work at Valpo?


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

The Director helps faculty and staff find funding opportunities and prepare applications.

The Director provides many services, including:

  • Providing general information about the grantseeking process;
  • Helping to identify and contact the funder;
  • Acting as a liaison with other offices on campus, including Institutional Advancement and Finance;
  • Facilitating discussions about the project concept and project implementation;
  • Assisting in the writing/editing/proofing of a proposal narrative
  • Assisting 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.  These steps 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 institutional approval to submit a proposal?

At least 5 business days before the submission of a proposal, the proposal (including a final budget and budget justification) must be routed 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. The GPAF and instructions can be found here.

What if I’m Not Sure What to Do?

The OSSR Director is available to answer your questions at any and all stages of the grantseeking process.  Please reach out at


Resources for New Grant Writers


About Private Foundations

Private foundations operate differently from federal agencies but can be fruitful sources of funding for research and other important projects. 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:

  1. Does the project fall within the foundation’s interests and geographical area?
  2. What is the significance of your project to your field of study and to the community in general?
  3. 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?
  4. What are the hoped-for outcomes of the project? Who are the beneficiaries? What are the “ripple” effects?
  5. In what ways is your organization committed to the project (cost-sharing, in-kind support)?
  6. Who will oversee the project?  What is the management structure that supports this work?
  7. Does the project duplicate or expand upon existing research, programs, or services?  Fill in gaps in knowledge or services?
  8. Can the project/research be used as a model for duplication elsewhere?  Asked another way, will the foundation’s investment be magnified beyond the borders of your specific project?
  9. Who will oversee grant expenditures and what are their qualifications?
  10. How does the project justify the cost?  Can the project be segmented for partial funding?
  11. 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?
  12. How can the proposed project be considered a good investment for the foundation?