Steps to Obtaining a Grant

Step 1

Meet with a DSP Graduate Assistant for an introduction and orientation to the Resource Information Center in Room 100 Gilmore Hall.  These services are provided for students applying to external funding organizations only.

  • Register with the office for future contact purposes
  • Discover what electronic funding databases are accessible to students
  • Acquire hands-on experience using these databases.
  • Subscribe to University of Iowa Research Information System (UIRIS) for electronic access to searchable internal UI databases that track grant submissions, provide electronic routing of proposals, and offer Sponsored Programs Information System Electronically (SPRIE), a database of all UI grants and contracts.

Step 2

Search for Funding Opportunities using electronic funding databases, the UI Grant Bulletin, or other sources.  Most of the databases use keywords for searching contents.

  • Community of Science (COS) - a database of funding source information including contacts, funding priorities, eligibility and deadlines. Graduate students affiliated with UI may set up a profile to use COS services, which include the weekly electronic Funding Alert and access to the COS resources from computers outside the university system. [uiowa.edu only]
  • GrantSelect - online version of the GRANTS database, produced by the Oryx Press.
  • Research Research Ltd - includes 2 interlinked databases - Funding Opportunities and Sponsors [uiowa.edu only]
  • Sponsored Programs Info Network - a database similar to COS but with a broader international funding source base. [uiowa.edu only]
  • UI Grant Bulletin - an online newsletter of funding opportunities, recognition programs, and policy/procedural updates for the UI research community.
  • Funding Opportunities - includes links to electronic databases, government agencies, private foundations, selected topic links, and electronic publications.

Step 3

Learning to write a successful grant takes effort and persistence.  Numerous texts exist on the topic along with helpful hints.  DSP assistants are available to help you as you learn this process.

  • Grant Writer's Tools represents a compilation of a variety of resources and insights on preparing and writing a grant proposal.
  • Make an appointment to meet individually with a Graduate Assistant to receive assistance with guideline interpretation, budget preparation, narrative development and to schedule a follow-up appointment for draft proposal critique.
  • Sample grant applications that have received funding can be found in notebook in the DSP Resource Information Center Library, 100 Gilmore Hall.  The sample applications though from years past, do represent how to prepare successful applications for both internal and external competitions.
  • Complete and assemble the application packet as required by the funding organization.  Packets may include one or all of the following: 1) one or more versions of a Curriculum Vitae/Resume (assistance in preparing these can be found at the UI College of Education Placement Center; an official transcript from the  Office of the UI Registrar; letters of recommendation, if required; any official forms for the competition; and other materials, such as a short research abstract.

Step 4

Submission of accurate and complete applications is essential to success. DSP staff can assist with this process.

  • Initiate an electronic routing form utilizing your UIRIS password. Complete and print the form for signatures.  Sign it as Project Director, have your Director of Graduate Studies sign it as DEO/Chair, and have Graduate College Dean sign it as Dean.
  • Determine if the application has been designated by the UI Graduate College to be part of the Graduate Incentive Fellowship program.
  • Bring the completed routing form and application packet to DSP five to seven days in advance of the funding organization's deadline.
  • DSP will provide copying and shipping services (for free) once the application packet is reviewed for completeness by a DSP director.
  • The electronic Grant Log within UIRIS permits you to track your application packet to verify its receipt by the funding organization.

Step 5

Results of grant applications, successful or unsuccessful, are important to the individual and the University.  Thus, it becomes critical to know what happens to any application forwarded by you to a funding organization. 

  • Follow-up with the funding organization can be helpful in learning when the review will be completed and decisions will be made regarding your proposal.
  • Once the funding organization notifies you of the results, regardless of whether they are positive or negative, contact DSP assistants.
  • If the funder will provide you with written or  verbal feedback on the proposal, make sure you ask for it.
  • If successful, DSP would like to put a copy of it in the Sample Grants Notebook.
  • If unsuccessful, DSP assistants will work with you to revise the application to improve it for the next submission.

The most important thing to remember in the entire process is to revise and resubmit.