(minimum three-month timeline)

TIME MANAGEMENT IS CRITICAL: You will have a greater chance of success if you begin a minimum of three months in advance of the due date, six would be better. To win a major institutional grant, be prepared to commit the focused time required to make your application competitive and to manage your time carefully throughout the process.

The RGDO team works closely with investigators through the entire application process, including helping to develop a realistic timeline for crafting the proposal. When you begin working with us and how you mange your time relative to completing the proposal components will determine the level of service we can provide. To summarize:

If you begin working with us to craft your grant proposal at least 3 MONTHS before the deadline we can:

  • Help you analyze and interpret the agency’s instructions
  • Consult with you on how best to present the required proposal elements
  • Work with you to develop the components of your proposal.
  • Review/edit several drafts of your components, as needed
  • Provide standard KU boilerplate information, if needed
  • Fill out agency forms, send them to you for your review and approval, and prompt you for any missing information
  • Assist you to develop the budget
  • Work with you to maintain consistency in the information provided across the budget/justification, proposal description, agency forms and any required supporting materials
  • Review final proposal for compliance with granting agency and KU/KU Center for Research (KUCR) guidelines
  • Assemble the final components and submit proposal to KUCR for institutional review/approval/submission
  • Work with you to address any issues KUCR may require in order to approve and submit the application

If you wait until after an agency posts its new RFP, what we can do for you may be limited, since we are likely to already be in the process of preparing multiple applications with the same deadline and it would be unfair to take time away from them to address the needs of a late applicant. If our time is fully committed, you will simply have to submit your materials directly to KUCR (see KUCR Pre-Award Services (pdf)). While KUCR Pre-Award Services exists to help investigators prepare and submit grant proposals, the staff is more familiar with science, technology, and engineering agencies than with the funders our constituent faculty typically tap into.

All institutional grant proposals require approval and submission through KUCR and final documents must be submitted to KUCR at least five working days prior to submission.

These applications often require extensive supporting documentation including, specially formatted CVs, letters of commitment from all participants, as well as lengthy and complex project descriptions. When collaborating with non-KU colleagues, documentation of their institution’s commitment to form a contractual agreement with KU in the event of an award may be necessary prior to submission. All of this takes time to achieve.

While many agencies release their requests for proposals (RFP) just four-weeks before submission deadlines, the most successful applicants use proposal guidelines from the last competition and work steadily to develop and refine their grant components over the course of at least three to six months, then address any changes when the agency posts its new RFP. Federal agencies in particular change their application instructions little from one round to the next.

This strategy allows researchers to use the time between the agency’s official competition announcement and the submission deadline to refine an already well-crafted application. While the most experienced researchers may be able to develop a successful proposal in three weeks, especially if building on a prior application, such a compressed timeline requires them to make the proposal their absolute priority until it is submitted. Given teaching and service duties and publication efforts, few faculty researchers can do that. Starting earlier will save many sleepless nights and a great deal of stress.

For additional information on the process of developing a grant proposal see the Grant Development Work Flow.

To discuss your institutional grant plans, contact Kathy Porsch: kporsch@ku.edu.

For more information, contact us at:

Research & Grant Development Office
Hall Center for the Humanities
Phone: 785-864-7887; 785-864-7833; 785-864-7834

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