Step 1 - Refining the Idea

A. IntroductionRefining the Idea
B. Identify a Funding Opportunity
C. Communicate your Intent to Apply

A. Introduction

Grants-in-aid of research are available from many private foundations and public agencies. Most have particular areas of interest and limitations on the size of possible awards. Almost all foundations and agencies have deadlines for receiving proposals. Therefore, having ready access to information about funding opportunities is essential. The Office of Research provides this information through several outlets.

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B. Identify a Funding Opportunity

The Office of Research routinely sends descriptions of grant opportunities to individuals, departments, and colleges. To set up an appointment to discuss your research interests, email

The Office of Research has compiled a list of upcoming deadlines for all disciplines and sponsor types, which is updated weekly. Click here to see what's coming.

  • Pivot (Community of Science)

    This website provides search tools for funding opportunities in all disciplines (not just the sciences) and possible collaborators. Hosted by the KSU Library, COS has a comprehensive search engine that can help you find funding from federal and non-federal sources. Training webinars and videos are provided by ProQuest Pivot.

    Grants Resource Center

    From the GRC Resources page, you can access their GrantSearch tool and set up a Faculty Alert to have opportunities emailed to you monthly. You can also view their Agency Fact Sheets and check out Annual Deadlines.

    From the GRC Publications page, you access Bulletin (weekly updates on grant announcements), Deadlines (deadlines 3 months in advance), and GrantWeek (grant news and advice). Call our Pre-Award Services team for the username and password.

    The Foundation Center

    The Foundation Center is the leading source of information about funding for the non-profit sector. It includes free search tools as well as subscription-only tools. Contact if there is a specific foundation you'd like information on.

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C. Communicate Your Intent to Apply

  • When you have found an appropriate funding source for your project, you need to begin communicating with others about your interest in applying for support. Talk with your department chair first. The chair may suggest that you meet with the dean of your college if your project has broader implications or will involve personnel in more than one department or college, especially if personnel from other colleges will be co-investigators.

    1. Find out what parts of the application package your chair and dean expect to review. In some cases, they may need just the abstract and budget; in other cases, they may need to see the complete proposal.
    2. Discuss your budget in detail with your department chair and dean as needed. Issues such as course reassignment time, the use of indirect costs for the project, and cost sharing require their approval. If you have not prepared a grant budget before, call the Office of Research for assistance.
    3. Inform your department chair of your proposal deadline and ask about the chair’s availability to review and sign documents before the due date.
  • After discussing your project with your department and college, please notify the Office of Research of your intention to apply for external funding by sending a link to the program to which you intend to apply to at least two weeks before the sponsor’s deadline. An Office of Research staff member will contact you to discuss how the office can support your proposal. In most cases, the next step is to review program guidelines and develop a timeline for completing and submitting the proposal.


  • Unless the program’s guidelines explicitly discourage it, you should always speak with the appropriate program officer at the foundation or agency about your plans and ask for guidance. 
  • If a formal letter of intent is required, the Office of Research will help you prepare it.

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