Frequently asked questions and answers related to proposal development are provided.
Research & Grant Development Office Services
Who does the Research & Grant Development Office serve?
The RGDO serves KU scholars in the humanities and related fields.
What services does the Research & Grant Development Office provide to KU faculty members?
RGDO aids KU scholars engaged in humanities research to identify external funding opportunities and develop and submit competitive proposals. We work closely with faculty to develop the best possible proposals, which sometimes entails teaching them a new way to write, since proposal writing is very different from academic and scholarly writing. We review and edit proposal components and fill out forms, making sure all the parts are in the proper order, copy and express mail applications. We regularly send tips on funding opportunities. See RGDO Services to Faculty.
What services does the Research & Grant Development Office provide to KU graduate students?
Although staffing will not allow RGDO to offer KU graduate students the full range of services provided to KU faculty, we are committed to assisting KU humanities graduate students to develop their knowledge and skills in the grant and fellowship arena. We provide graduate student workshops focused on proposal development, and we make presentations to groups of graduate students upon request. See RGDO Services for Students.
How can I learn about funding opportunities for faculty members?
The Internet is the best place to turn for information on grants and fellowships. Start with the RGDO's downloadable lists of funding opportunities and check out the links to search engines and to specific granting agencies on the RGDO Funding Resources
How can I learn about funding opportunities for graduate students?
The Internet is the best place to turn for information on grants and fellowships. See the Funding Resources
page for URLs to an international database of funding opportunities; databases and several websites containing nation-wide listings of fellowships, grants, and jobs in the humanities; and links to websites for some of the larger humanities granting agencies.
I'm not a US citizen or permanent resident. Can I apply for grants and fellowships?
Yes, you should try. Many grants and fellowships in the US are only open to citizens and permanent residents, but there are others that are open to non-citizens. You can search Pivot»
for opportunities for which you are eligible.
I'm still a graduate student. Are there any grants or fellowships that I can apply for outside of KU?
Yes, there are opportunities open to graduate students. The majority are designed to assist graduate students at the dissertation stage, but some are for coursework and to help defray the costs of presenting papers at professional conferences.You can search Pivot» for opportunities for which you are eligible.
Do deadlines fall at a certain time of the year?
The majority of the deadlines for humanities grants and fellowships fall between August and December, with the greatest number falling between September and November. However, there are some opportunities throughout the year. Check the RGDO website, search Pivot»
, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
for information on specific deadlines.
When should I start seeking funding?
It is never too early to start looking. Given the fact that most application deadlines are in the fall for monies to be awarded for the next academic year, ensure you have best chance of winning a grant or fellowship, start looking for funding 18 to 24 months before you envision needing the funds.
When should I start working on my application?
It's never too early to start working on your application. Depending on the size and scope of the project, start working on the application three months to a year and a half before the deadline.
What does it mean if a granting agency says it accepts applications from institutions and not from individuals?
If a granting agency accepts applications only from institutions, that means that your application must be submitted through the University of Kansas Center for Research, Inc., or KU Endowment Association. Contact email@example.com
for assistance in obtaining the necessary institutional review, approval, and sign-off.
How do I apply for a grant that must be submitted by an institution?
If you are a KU faculty member working on a project in the humanities, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
. We will assist you to develop your application and obtain the necessary University of Kansas approval and signatures.
How does one approach a foundation about funding?
If you are in the humanities at KU, contact email@example.com
for assistance with the process. As a general rule, a "cold" approach to a foundation is a bad idea. For a greater likelihood of success, do your homework on the foundation and discuss your approach with RGDO and the KU Endowment Association before submitting an application.
How long should my proposal be?
If an agency gives page, word, or character limitations, it is critical that you NOT submit a longer proposal. Generally, if you fail to follow the agency's instructions, your application will not be considered. Even if there is no page stipulation, the proposal should be concise, providing all the pertinent information, but with an economy of words. An important point to keep in mind is that the reviewers are reading many proposals, so those which convey their significance in the fewest words will likely fare better than those which are unnecessarily long.
How can I ensure that my proposal is the best that it can be?
Have other people review it. Give it, with the agency's review criteria, to your peers and mentors. Some granting agencies will review and comment on grant applications if you ask the program officer to do so far enough before the deadline (usually at least six weeks). Begin working with the RGDO at least six weeks before a fellowship deadline or three months before an institutional deadline so we can provide you our full range of services, including review and editing of your proposal components.
Are there people on campus who can review my proposal?
Yes, if you submit your project description to the RGDO (firstname.lastname@example.org
) at least six weeks in advance of the deadline, staff will provide a critical review. Experienced colleagues in your own discipline or in other departments at KU whose work is similar may also be able to review your proposal from a disciplinary perspective if you provide them with a complete draft at least six weeks before the agency deadline.
What should I include in my budget?
When preparing a budget be sure to reflect the accurate cost of the project. Ask for all that you need, but do not "pad" the budget by including inflated costs. Include only those expenses allowed by the granting agency.
How does one go about identifying references for grant applications?
Select your references carefully. Ask colleagues who are familiar with your work, but do not use your dissertation advisors or rely solely on individuals from your institution. (Graduate students have a bit more leeway with this rule of thumb).
What do my references need to know before they write their letters?
You need to keep your references informed about your project and its current status. Be sure to give them a current draft of your application and any instructions and forms required by the granting agency, noting the mailing address and deadline to make it easier for them to submit the letter for you. Include your full CV to help them remember your stellar qualifications for completing the work. You may find the Information Useful for Recommenders (pdf)
How can I send my application to the granting agency?
Always submit your application by the means required by the granting agency. When the agency does not require a specific means of submission or requires the application in hard copy, use an express delivery service because the package can be tracked to make sure it arrives.
After the Agency Announces Results
What should I do if I am awarded a grant or fellowship?
Celebrate, but then contact email@example.com
. We can assist you with the necessary processes to ensure your grant or fellowship is set up properly and that you receive Supplemental Salary Funding
(SSF), if appropriate.
What if the granting agency offers me less than what I originally requested?
for assistance with the "negotiation" process.
What should I do if I receive a rejection letter?
An important skill any successful grant applicant develops is the ability to take the criticism of a rejection and turn it to advantage. Government granting agencies, and some private ones will send you the reviewers' comments if you request them. Ask for the comments and use them to improve your application for next time.