Skip to body

Research and Sponsored Programs

External Funding for Faculty Research and Scholarly Activity

Step 1: Finding Funding

The first question faculty typically pose as they begin the grant writing process is where to find funding. Research and Sponsored Programs (RSP) is here to help you answer this question using a variety of online tools and personal assistance.

Although each of these tools provides basic summary information, you are encouraged to follow up on any leads by visiting the sponsor’s website directly. Databases, while helpful, may not always have the latest updates from every sponsor.

PIVOT Funding Opportunities Database
PIVOT is the most comprehensive source of funding information available on the Web. It allows faculty to build profiles of their educational history, research interests, publications, etc., and also to set up tailored searches for funding opportunities that match their interests. PIVOT will send faculty weekly updates of upcoming or newly announced funding opportunities that match the search criteria set up in their profiles. New users will need to create a username and password. In addition, the new user will need to affiliate themselves with CWU during the sign up process in order to utilize CWU’s subscription.

Grant Resource Center (GRC)
GRC’s proprietary search engine, GrantSearch, includes 2,000 private and federal funding opportunities screened for higher education eligibility. RSP pays for a subscription for access to this database. Please contact RSP for CWU’s login information.

RSP also recommends the following databases for faculty to research external federal funding opportunities:

If desired, RSP will provide individual training for new users of the above mentioned databases. Please contact RSP to schedule an appointment.


Step 2: Pre-Proposal Approval

Once you have found a sponsor that you would like to submit a proposal to you must obtain pre-approval from Research and Sponsored Programs (RSP). Once you get to the point of developing a budget, the following items should be provided to RSP to begin the pre-approval process:

  • Pre-Proposal Approval Form - click here
  • Project Summary (less than one page)
  • Draft grant and match budget with explanation
  • Documentation of match/in-kind source (if applicable)

Once RSP has approved the above-mentioned materials, all pre-proposal materials must undergo an institutional approval process in which the proposal is routed for sign-off by the following individuals:

  • Department Chair(s)/Director(s)
  • Academic Dean(s)
  • Dean, Graduate Studies and Research
  • VP for University Advancement (only for certain proposals to foundations and corporations)

If you need any assistance in preparing these pre-proposal approval materials please contact RSP.


Step 3: Proposal Preparation

Research and Sponsored Programs (RSP) is here to provide consultation and technical assistance as you prepare your proposal. We strive to provide individualized assistance—which means the manner in which we assist you throughout the process will depend upon your unique needs and prior grant-writing experience. The single most important thing you can do to make this a successful collaboration is to meet with RSP early in the process so that we may determine an appropriate plan for assisting you. Below are some common ways in which RSP assists in the process—please discuss these or any other needs you might have with us.

  • Discussing possible funding sources and the relative fit of your project with various sponsors.
  • Locating and reviewing sponsor application guidelines with you, ensuring we have an understanding of what is required by the sponsor.
  • Providing guidance and/or templates for the preparation of various aspects of the proposal.
  • Providing samples of previously funded applications, when available.
  • Developing your proposal budget.
  • Completing routine, administrative portions of the application, such as cover sheets, budget pages, etc.
  • Providing boilerplate language regarding the institution.
  • Reviewing drafts and providing editorial assistance, if requested. Please allow enough time for review and revision prior to submission.
  • Facilitating the inclusion of required institutional letters.
  • Reviewing the final proposal and budget to ensure it meets sponsor and CWU guidelines and policies.

In addition, RSP has developed a guide that provides a brief overview of general university policies and federal regulations and outlines the major administrative responsibilities of principal investigators and program directors.

Download the Grants and Contracts Handbook.


Step 4: Proposal Submission

Before an application for a grant to a government agency, foundation, corporation, or other entity can be submitted, it must be routed for approval and submitted to Research and Sponsored Programs (RSP).

Applicants are encouraged to begin the approval process well in advance of the proposal deadline. RSP reserves the right to withdraw applications that have not received institutional endorsements prior to submission. If you have any questions regarding this process, please contact RSP.

Sponsor guidelines will usually dictate the how your proposal is to be submitted.

Many sponsors now have electronic submission systems. RSP is happy to interact with these submission systems for you, uploading your required information and documents. Some submission systems allow only the Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) to submit proposals, and require an institutional registration in advance. For most of these systems, RSP is already registered. These systems include Grants.Gov, NSF’s FastLane, and NASA’s NSPIRES.

For paper (hardcopy) submissions, RSP is happy to submit your application to the sponsor on your behalf, covering any associated shipping costs.

Take the Next Step to Becoming a Wildcat.