What is the role of the Research, Planning, and Grants Office?

The office's grant writer is available to help faculty and staff find appropriate funding sources, develop project proposals, facilitate interactions with internal and external partners, and support the management of institutional grants.

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What do I do if I have an idea for a project?

First, talk to your colleagues, division chair, or dean to determine whether the project is line with the college's institutional goals and priorities. Then begin to look for funding sources. You can also contact our office and we will assist you with your search and direct you toward appropriate funding sources for your project.

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How do I proceed once I've identified a potential funding source?

Begin by completing a Notice of Intent to Apply form (add link) which includes the name of the funding source, information about the source or the request for proposal (RFP), and a brief summary of your project.  Our office will check to make sure that there are no conflicts between your proposal and other potential projects. At this point, you can also discuss the role that you hope the grants office can play in your proposal. We will do our best to help create a successful proposal.

You should also discuss your project and potential funding source with your dean at this time.  You cannot submit a grant proposal without the approval of your dean or the grants office, so it's important to keep in constant communication with both parties.

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What are the key components of a proposal?

Proposal components may differ depending on the funding source and grant program, but it's important to follow the guidelines provided to you closely. Our office is more than willing to help you navigate specific request for proposals.

There are several items that are typically found in most grant proposal guidelines:

  • Need statement
  • Goals, objectives, and activities
  • Outcomes and benefits
  • Key partners
  • Project manager qualifications and organizational capacity
  • Work Plan or timeline
  • Assessment or evaluation plan
  • Budget and budget narrative

Links to some helpful resources are included on the Resources page. Or stop by the Office of Research and Institutional Effectiveness for individual assistance.

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What are the typical items listed in a budget?

When developing a budget for your project it's extremely important that you work with your dean and the business office to ensure that the included figures accurately reflect current costs. Also, many budgets will have line items that do not necessarily match the line items that SCC's business office uses, so it is important to communicate these differences.

If the proposal requires any matching dollars or leveraged resources, you must have received approval from your dean and have the cost centers where the money is housed before the proposal is submitted.

Budgets are typically made up of the following line items:

  • Personnel
  • Fringe Benefits
  • Travel
  • Equipment
  • Supplies
  • Contract
  • Other
  • Administrative

Budgets also typically ask for items such as indirect costs, matching costs, and leveraged resources. These are important items to understand when you are preparing your proposal.

Indirect Costs - for higher education organizations these can also be called Facility and Administrative or F&A costs. These are costs that the college incurs while you are working on the project, but they are too hard to identify individually in a budget. They include things like telephone usage, office space, heating, air conditioning, etc. To apply for money to cover these costs in a federal grant, you must have applied for an indirect cost rate from the federal government.

In addition, many programs will have a cap on the percentage of funding that you can ask for to cover these costs, so be sure to read your proposal thoroughly before including any indirect costs in your budget.

Matching Costs - Many times funders will ask the applicant organization to cover a percentage of the project costs with cash or in-kind contributions.

Leveraged Resources - While many funders ask for a matching costs, others will simply ask applicants to use resources that they already have to ensure that the overall goal of the project is achieved. This is different from matching costs for two reasons: 1) you don't have to put up a specific percentage of the budget; and 2) money that you leverage does not necessarily have to be used for the specific project at hand, but instead, can be put toward the good of the program as a whole. Typically funders simply want to see that there is support for the project from other sources besides themselves.

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What is the difference between the budget and the budget narrative?

Typically, the budget simply lists your yearly and total costs for each category. The budget narrative explains these costs, going into details about how each figure was determines.

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How do I obtain institutional approval to submit my proposal?

Before a grant is submitted, it must be approved by your dean or supervisor, the business office, and the Office of Research and Institutional Effectiveness. The first step is to communicate with your dean or supervisor and complete a Notice of Intent to Apply form.

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What should I do once I'm awarded a grant?

If you have been awarded a grant, contact your supervisor immediately. In addition, a copy of the award letter and any contractual documents should be given to the Office of Research and Institutional Effectiveness who will work with you and the business office to implement your program and report on your progress to the funder. Also be sure to communicate your success to partner organizations and share any important information with them.

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