If you have an idea for an institutional initiative, discussion with the Provost is usually the way to introduce it. Institutional initiatives are directed by the Grants Committee which is convened by the Provost in cooperation with the Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations.
From the Faculty Handbook: 4.12.7 Procedures for Institutional Proposals
The Grants Committee will review proposals in stages to ensure a careful and timely decision about the merits of the proposal. What follows is an outline of the process for grant applications.
Initial Review by the Grants Committee
Notify the Director of Corporate & Foundation Relations (DCFR) if your proposal has received initial approval from the Provost or Senior Staff member, or is an invitation to renew prior funding commitments. Send a copy of the Proposal Inquiry form and cover letter/email to the Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations. The Provost and DCFR will determine the agenda for consideration of your proposal. While the Committee typically reviews written proposal inquiries, you may request the opportunity to appear before the committee to discuss your proposal.
Within two weeks of submitting the proposal inquiry information, you will be informed as to whether you may proceed further.
At this stage, the Grants Committee will determine whether institutional endorsement is feasible and who else in the College should be involved in the preparation of the proposal. The Grants Committee will invite a member of the administration or faculty to accept responsibility for developing a competitive proposal or accept an offer to write such a proposal that has already come forward.
If the proposal is brought forward by a faculty member, the project director will be asked not only to assess the importance of the project but also to weigh it in comparison with other known and ranked departmental needs for which external funding might be sought.
When a proposal is brought forward by a group of faculty members from separate departments, the assessments of the project held by the departments involved must be known by the committee before it will act on the proposal.
If the Grants Committee declines the request to submit a grant, it will provide this decision in writing along with a discussion of the issues that led to the proposal's denial. The individual(s) submitting the proposal may then be provided with options for revision of the proposal or for submission at a later date.
Drafting the full proposal.
The grants-writing team will ideally include the person(s) who conceived the idea, representation from the department(s) involved, and either the Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations or the Faculty Grants and Fellowships Coordinator. The division head should be kept informed about the proposal's development.
The team will mutually agree on internal deadlines to meet in order to present a professionally written and well developed application to the funding source. At any time, failure to proceed in a timely fashion could jeopardize submission of a final grant.
Tips on financial questions: A successful grant proposal frequently carries costs with it, sometimes in the form of matching funds and regularly in the form of the costs associated with the installation of equipment, the refurbishment of facilities or the provision of space, and perhaps the provision of maintenance. Therefore, the College will need to understand the full extent of its financial commitments and to have determined how those commitments will be met before it will endorse a grant application.
Readers: The College is rich with talented and experienced grant writers and grant recipients. Choose one or two experienced colleagues to read and provide comments on the near-final draft at least three weeks before the deadline.
Senior Staff Approval of College Financial Commitments.
If the proposal calls for a financial commitment by the College, Senior Staff must approve it in advance during the proposal-writing stage, and at least a month before the final proposal is submitted. Financial commitments include but are not limited to:
Working with the Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations and the Vice President for College Relations, the project director should prepare a request for budgetary consideration by Senior Staff. The request should include a brief rationale for the grant and a complete budget showing financial obligations to be assumed by the College and any supporting sources of revenue. Appropriate provision for indirect costs, such as office supplies, must also be made. Such costs represent payment for real expenses; therefore, the College will not forego them.
Grants Committee final approval and submission.
At least two weeks before the submission date, a final draft of the proposal, including a complete budget, should be made available to the Provost and the Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations, who may also share it with other members of the Grants Committee. The Provost will schedule a meeting to discuss the proposal if warranted.
Proposals in the final draft stage will be reviewed for:
Build in extra time for grant proposals to be revised, as well as adequate submission time for proposals to the National Science Foundation or other federal sources that use the Grants.gov system. Please note that the number of College staff authorized to submit proposals through Grants.gov is limited.
A successful grant is not the end of the grant-making process. Reports are required by the funding source, and letters of acceptance and gratitude are necessary steps in good stewardship. Project administrators are required to work with the Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations to submit timely and meaningful reports. Keep accurate documentation of your progress and keep track of deadlines for reports. Reports should be submitted to the DCFR at least two weeks prior to the foundation's report deadline to allow for editing and compilation of support materials, including financial statements. If your initial proposal changes for any reason, promptly contact the Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations or the Faculty Grants and Fellowships Coordinator to discuss the appropriate response.