Sponsored Programs, Agreements, Research, and Contracts Office

Grant Life Cycle

1. Develop Your Idea

When developing your idea, be sure that you have assessed and determined that your idea is both comprehensive and relevant to what the university is interested in achieving. In other words, ensure that your idea is aligned with university objectives.

Remember to include details early in your draft as they tend to offer a more compelling argument to the reader. Show them what you want them to know through the details of your argument!


2. Find Funding

A review of the Objectives and Uses and Use Restrictions sections of the Catalog program description can direct you to programs that may provide funding for an idea. Do not overlook the related programs as potential resources. The applicant and the grantor agency should have the same interests, intentions, and needs if a proposal is to be considered an acceptable candidate for funding.

Once a potential grantor agency is identified, call the contact telephone number identified in Information Contacts and ask for a grant application kit. Later, get to know some of the grantor agency personnel. Ask for suggestions, criticisms, and advice about the proposed project. In many cases, the more agency personnel know about the proposal, the better the chance of support and a favorable decision. Sometimes it is useful to send the proposal summary to a specific agency official in a separate cover letter and ask for review and comment at the earliest possible convenience. Always check with the Federal agency to determine its preference if this approach is under consideration. If the review is unfavorable and differences cannot be resolved, ask the examining agency (official) to suggest another department or agency which may be interested in the proposal. A personal visit to the agency's regional office or headquarters is also important. A visit not only establishes face-to-face contact, but may also bring out some essential details about the proposal or help secure literature and references from the agency's library.


3. Write Proposal

Some of the best advice in constructing a proposal, especially where federal funding is concerned, consists of the following eight elements:

  1. a relatively detailed proposal summary
  2. an introduction of your department or college as part of SUU
  3. a clearly articulated problem statement (or needs assessment)
  4. project objectives
  5. project methods
  6. a project evaluation
  7. a clearly identified estimate of the resources for future funding
  8. an itemized project budget and narrative.

4. Revision & Approval Process

Once you have completed your first draft of the proposal (including the budget and narrative), be sure to identify and share your draft with a third-party reviewer (such as a peer or writing expert). This person should have the necessary skills to provide you with a review on continuity and clarity in your points, and to verify that you have met the minimum requirements for submission as defined in the previous step. Independent reviewers will provide constructive criticism on other details such as whether your arguments are succinct and compelling and whether assumptions are made without evidence of successful outcomes.


5. Submit Proposal

Be sure to always include a well-written, brief cover letter with every proposal. Unless otherwise directed by the granting agency, you will most likely be required to follow standard U.S. Postal Service requirements.

Always coordinate submissions with the SPARC office, where your proposal and all details will be finalized for final submission.

Proposal deadlines are non-negotiable, so be sure to prepare in advance to avoid submitting or mailing your proposal at the last minute. If your proposal is not filed or mailed prior to the submission deadline it will be rejected without review.

Pre-Award Workbook


6. Manage

Once selected for the project, reviewing the finalized scope of work, budget, any cost share requirements, or program income is essential to project management. Be sure to review awarded reporting dates, travel restrictions (if applicable), human resource components or IRB/IACUC restrictions Familiarize yourself with individuals who are available to assist you and the university’s expectations of you as a PI.

The Post Award Facilitator in the SPARC office has a check list of items to review with you at the start of the post award process. He or she will be familiar with the documents in the file, but will require more information about your project and must develop conversations between you and the sponsor. Throughout the award period, the Post Award Facilitator will review the project’s development quarterly to monitor progress. This will include the review of program expenses for allowability, allocability, and reasonableness of costs throughout each quarter. These quarterly meetings will open discussion for programmatic, budgetary, or administrative changes such as directional development, budget revision, or No Cost Extension.

Post-Award Workbook

Post-Award Change Request


7. Formal Close Out

At the conclusion of the project, the SPARC office requires copies of all final financial and technical/program reports. All deliverables required under the awarding document to ensure completion or justification for not completing associated deliverables will be reviewed. Although the Grant Accountant will typically submit financial reports, the PI is responsible for submitting all technical/program reports to both the Sponsor and the Post Award Facilitator. During this period, the Post Award Facilitator will review the full program expenses for allowability, allocability, and reasonableness.

Federal regulations require that final financial and technical/program reports be submitted within ninety (90) days of the project completion date (official period of performance end date stated in the award). It should be noted that certain awards, such as those where SUU is a sub-recipient to another institution, will impose shorter reporting periods. This may leave SUU with only 60 or 45 days within which to submit the final financial and technical/program reports in order for the prime recipient to meet the 90-day requirement.


8. Share Research
Sponsoring Agencies are increasing their expectations for measurable results. They are looking for broader impacts and transportability for the ideas propagated and the application of these ideas. They are looking for transferable and scalable concepts to other instructors and institutions. In addition to website dissemination which is considered passive and conference attendance to share findings they are asking for improvements in this area that are more strategic. The dissemination plan needs to have both local and national dissemination, identify specific partner institutions, and target broader participation goals.