How to apply for grants

Proposal Development Workflow

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Use the following resources to help you on your grant writing journey to meet institutional deadlines, follow the necessary guidelines, and build a strong grant application.

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Proposal Development Resources

Proposal planning & timeline expanding section

A successful proposal starts with thorough planning before you begin drafting the application.

  • UWL grant submission timeline: outlines the minimum requirements for consulting with ORSP and submitting materials to ORSP, your chair/unit director, and your dean/division director leading up to the submission deadline for required reviews and approvals
  • Proposal Development Timeline Generator: automatically generates a timeline for required internal deadlines to submit proposal components to ORSP, your chair/unit director, and your dean/division director for review and approval

Use the timeline to work backwards from the submission deadline to establish proposal development due dates to guide your work. Keep in mind that substantive proposals (e.g., federal applications, collaborative projects) should be developed over a much longer timeline - typically six months to a year in advance of the deadline.

Below are additional tools to get you started:

Required UWL forms expanding section
Budgeting expanding section

See the budgeting webpage for more resources and guidance. For sponsor-specific tools and guidance, see the Agency Resources tab.

Compliance - Research

Institutional Review Board (IRB) for the Protection of Human Subjects expanding section

The IRB is responsible for protecting the rights and welfare of human subjects participating in research projects. This includes research involving human specimens or data. IRB review and approval does not need to be completed before a grant application is submitted but must be completed before any research begins. Some tools are highlighted below:

See the full IRB webpage. Contact IRB@uwlax.edu with questions.

Chemical & Physical Safety expanding section

A chemical is defined as any element, chemical compound or mixture of elements and/or compounds. These materials can pose a variety of hazards, including but not limited to toxic to humans and/or environment, fire, and explosion. Researchers should be prepared to identify all chemicals that will be used. The chemical identity can be completed through provision of a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS).

Physical hazards are defined as excessive levels of electromagnetic and ionizing radiations, noise, vibration, and extremes of temperature and pressure.

See the full Chemical & Physical Safety webpage. Contact Dan Sweetman with questions.

Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) expanding section

IBC requirements apply when research involves recombinant DNA (rDNA) and/or general biological safety concerns. 

Additional Dual Use Research of Concern (DURC) requirements apply to life sciences research involving the use of one or more of the 15 agents/toxins identified in section 6.2.1 of the US Government Policy for Institutional Oversight of Life Sciences Dual Use Research of Concern (DURC).

See the full IBC webpage. Contact CSH@uwlax.edu with questions.

Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee (IACUC) expanding section

The IACUC is responsible for the oversight of the humane care and treatment of animals used in teaching and research. This responsibility is both an ethical and scientific necessity, and each person involved in using animals shares in this responsibility. The Animal Care and Use Program at UWL is committed to the highest standards of research and recognizes that laboratory animals must receive the best possible care, not only to obtain valid research data, but to ensure the health and safety of animals, researchers, and animal caretakers.

See the full IACUC webpage. Contact IACUC@uwlax.edu with questions.

Intellectual Property, Inventions, & Patents expanding section

Intellectual property (IP) is a work or invention that is the result of creativity, such as a design, method, or manuscript, to which one has rights and for which one may apply for a patent, copyright, trademark, etc. An invention is a unique or novel device, method, composition, or process discovered during the course of a project that may be patentable. To be patentable, an invention must be novel, have utility (i.e., be useful for a particular purpose), and not be obvious.

Intellectual property (IP), inventions, and patents are subject to UW System policy, federal regulations (e.g., Bayh-Dole Act), and sponsor terms & conditions. The primary UW System policy requirements are as follows:

  • Completion of IP agreements: All UWL faculty, staff (except clerical and nontechnical employees), and student employees working on extramurally funded scholarly projects must sign an electronic IP agreement before they begin any project work and before any award funds are spent.
  • Disclosure of inventions: All inventions discovered by UWL faculty, staff, or students while pursuing their university duties, on university premises, or with university supplies or equipment must be promptly reported via the Invention Disclosure Form and submitted to UWL's WiSys Regional Associate. WiSys serves as the technology transfer office for UW comprehensive campuses.

See the full IP, inventions, and patents webpage for UW System and UWL requirements. Contact grants@uwlax.edu with any questions. Please note the webpage does not address additional federal regulatory or sponsor requirements.

International Collaborations & Programs expanding section

The university values the contributions of and collaborations with scholars from around the world. The diverse scholarly community and the openness of the scholarly enterprise has enabled discoveries that create a better nation and world. The university is committed to scholarly collaboration and openness, and also acknowledges the importance of being transparent about foreign relationships and activities. These relationships and activities are being paid increased scrutiny, particularly at the federal level. The general rule is that any and all activities and/or interests involving an international entity or collaborator be disclosed to ensure transparency and compliance with federal law. Requirements vary by project type and agency and apply to multiple application components and aspects of project activities. Examples  of these requirements include, but are not limited to, required disclosures in other support/current & pending support documents, biographical sketches, intellectual property and invention disclosures, external influence and interest reporting, gifts, international travel, import/export of tangible research materials and biological samples, foreign visiting scientists/scholars, and export controls and sanctions.

See the internal collaborations & programs webpage. Contact grants@uwlax.edu with any questions.

Research Participant Incentive Payments expanding section

UWL has established guidance for research that will include the payment of incentives to research participants. Incentive payments are low value payments or items given to individuals to encourage them to participate in research. In order to be an incentive, the value of a payment or item must be minimal and should be provided to all participants in the research project, regardless of whether they complete the activity. Incentive payments include small dollar items, cash, checks, or gift cards depending on the specifics of the individual research project. Drawings, raffles, and other “chance to win” offers may also be used as an incentive, but a Principal Investigator (PI) should consult with ORSP to determine allowability.

See ORSP's FAQs and the Business Services policy for guidance. Contact grants@uwlax.edu with questions. 

Compliance - Administrative

Financial Conflict of Interest (FCOI) expanding section

FCOI requirements apply to:

  • All federal sponsored projects
  • Non-federal sponsors with FCOI requirements (e.g., American Cancer Society, American Heart Association)
  • Research contracts with non-federal entities

Investigators (i.e., any individual responsible for the design, conduct, or reporting of research) engaged in projects subject to the requirements have a the following primary obligations:

  • Complete a significant financial interest (SFI) disclosure form online before a proposal is submitted. A new disclosure is required for every proposal.
  • Additional requirement for proposals subject to Public Health Service (PHS) FCOI regulations: Complete FCOI training and assessment in Canvas. This needs to be completed once every four years if you have an active award or applying to an agency following PHS regulations.

See the FCOI policy overview and the full FCOI policy webpage. Contact grants@uwlax.edu with questions.

Nepotism Policy for Grants & Contracts expanding section

Special cases may occur where a project proposed for extramural funding requires the PI to create a team with special skills to fulfill the work of the award, and the best qualified personnel may be a close relative with specific professional expertise (e.g., credentials, knowledge, or skills) that is not readily available. In such cases, with advance campus review and approval prior to submitting the proposal, terms and conditions may be outlined that would allow a short-term employment or project commitment of a close relative with campus oversight. It is expected that these cases would be rare and determined on a case-by-case review. 

To initiate the request, before proposal submission and in accordance with UWL grant submission timeline requirements, the PI fills out and routes a Grant/Contract Nepotism Disclosure & Special Personnel Request Form. The form needs to be routed with a copy of the application, including budget, to the HR or Risk Management representative (as appropriate) and ORSP representative.

See the full nepotism policy webpage. Contacts grants@uwlax.edu with questions.

Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) expanding section

Several federal agencies require training in the responsible and ethical conduct of research (RCR) for undergraduates, graduate students, and post docs who will be participating in projects (paid or unpaid) that are funded by federal grants:

  • National Institutes of Health (NIH) (only some funding mechanisms, such as R25 and R36)
  • National Science Foundation (NSF)
  • United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Before grant submission, PIs must submit student training plans for NSF and USDA grants via the online RCR student training plan form, which specifies the online CITI training modules students will complete. NIH grants that require RCR training plans have requirements that vary widely by program/project type, and PIs should consult with ORSP to design a plan that will meet agency requirements.

See the full RCR policy webpage. Contact grants@uwlax.edu with questions.

Subawards expanding section

Subawards issued to UWL must undergo the same institutional review and approval process as all other grants prior to proposal submission (see the grant submission timeline for an overview). Additionally, documentation must be submitted by UWL to the lead institution to confirm UWL's project participation, which at a minimum includes the following in addition to any others required by the sponsor and the lead institution:

Subawards issued by UWL to another organization must have written confirmation from an authorized representative of the subrecipient organization submitted to UWL ORSP before proposal submission. At a minimum, this documentation must include the same items listed above (subrecipient commitment form, scope of work, subaward budget, subaward budget justification) in addition to any others required by the sponsor and the lead institution.

There are additional subaward risk assessment & monitoring compliance requirements for federal funding after an award is issued. See the full policy webpage. Contact grants@uwlax.edu with questions.

UWL Foundation Grant Policy expanding section

On occasion, some sponsors may require the UWL Foundation to act as the fiscal sponsor for a grant submitted by UWL personnel (i.e., receive the grant funding from the sponsor before disbursing the funding to the UWL Grant Accountant for financial administration). When this is required, applicants must follow the UWL Foundation grant policy requirements in addition to the standard grant review and approval process prior to submission. The primary additional requirements include the following:

  • Review and approval of the full application by the UWL Foundation president at least one week prior to the targeted submission date. Approval is confirmed by the president's signature on the grant transmittal form.
  • Inclusion of a 5% administrative fee required by the UWL Foundation that needs to be either requested from the sponsor as overhead (if allowed) or (if disallowed by the sponsor) reflected as cost sharing from the college on the grant transmittal form.