The University of Iowa offers services to support its students in the search for external research funding and opportunities to participate in a mentored research environment. The Division of Sponsored Programs and Graduate College cooperatively support a full range of graduate student services, as outlined in the Graduate and Professional Student Resources section. The Iowa Center for Undergraduate Resources offers a wealth of information in support and recognition of Undergraduate Research

Students are also encouraged to explore the following, related links: 

Graduate and Professional Student Services

With the support of the Graduate College, the Division of Sponsored Programs office serves as a resource center for graduate and professional students as they begin their begin their funding searches and  pursue external funding opportunities for research and scholarly activities. 

  • An introduction and orientation to the DSP’s overall resources for Graduate and Professional Students;
  • Presentations that teach funding search strategies as a process and demonstrate effective use of the available databases
  • Presentations on key principles of effective grantsmanship. 
  • Customized presentations on request.

Information-Gathering Services

  • Individual appointments to help frame short/long term goals for funding and a search strategy
  • Hands-on training to maximize success using subscription databases and online resources
  • Assistance in requesting information, such as program guidelines if unavailable on web
  • Access to the UI's electronic Grant Bulletin, updated weekly and used to announce upcoming funding programs and application deadlines

Application Development Services

  • Guidance in locating and understanding funder guidelines 
  • Individual review sessions to critique and workshop applications in progress 
  • Provide relevant online guides and resources for grant preparation
  • Group presentations on grantsmanship skills

Submission Support

  • Assistance  creating official UI files of applications through the UIRIS routing form  (Graduate College requires of all graduate students)*
  • Free photocopying services to expedite the proposal submission process
  • Free courier service to deliver applications for external funding
  • Free phone and fax for funding queries and application completion 

Individual appointments with our graduate assistants are available at any point in the student's search and application process. To make an appointment, contact .

*At the end of each academic year, the Graduate College gathers data on all graduate and professional student applications and success stories regardless of the size of the award. The information collected fundamentally impacts future planning and resource management. The UIRIS routing form is crucial in this process.  No matter the size of the award, there must be a UIRIS form created. And no matter the outcome, the results of every funding application must be reported. 

Graduate and Professional Students FAQs

A grant is a form of funding that can be used for research, travel, creative, experimental, or innovative projects. Here in the Division of Sponsored Programs (DSP) we use the term grant loosely to include fellowships, scholarships, prizes, and awards.

In your senior year of undergraduate studies, you should apply for grant opportunities to fund your graduate education.  In your 1st year of graduate studies, you should familiarize your self with internal and external grant sources here at the University. In your 2nd and 3rd years, you should apply for pre-dissertation grant funding for travel, pilot study, research, etc. In your 4th year, you should apply for dissertation funding. It is important to map out your timeline for your academic requirements, and then plan what funding opportunities you will seek at each point in your graduate experience. 

Yes. You simply enter your HawkID and password to get access to Community of Science (COS) and the Sponsored Programs Info Network (SPIN). These are comprehensive sites that gather funding information from all over the world and present it in easily searchable formats. SPIN and Community of Science (despite its name), include relevant sources across the disciplines, including Education, Law, Health and Medicine, Arts and Humanities, Business, Engineering, Area Studies, Physical Sciences and Mathematics, Social Sciences and more.

Yes, they are paid for by a combination of funds from the Graduate College and the Division of Sponsored Programs.  Specific free services include: training on the databases, help in interpreting grant guidelines, offering students individual grant writing consultations and critiques, reviewing application packets to ensure completeness prior to sending to the funding organization, free shipping and copying for proposals and helping with any other questions or problems that may arise in the process. Additionally, we can assist you with the University's UIRIS-based electronic routing form which is required for all external funding applications.

External grants usually take longer to receive than internal sources of funding.  You should allow three to nine months from the time you submit your grant proposal/application packet to the time you receive funding. For many dissertation support opportunities, you must apply early in the academic year before the year for which you need the funding. 

There are grants that fund research abroad and/or travel expenses.  Some grants, like the Fulbright-Hays Dissertation Research Fellowship, are specifically used for dissertation research abroad; however, other grants are not so specific.  Many grants offer money that can be used for research/ travel abroad but don't specify this use.  The ways you may use your funding are dependent upon the type of grant you are applying for. It is best to check the guidelines of the specific grant you are interested in.  More information regarding internal funding for international studies is available at the International Programs Office.

We can help any graduate/professional student who is applying for an external grant even if they have been nominated through their departments.

The first step is to create a UIRIS-based UI Routing Form for each external application. Then inform DSP once you know the results of your application regardless of outcome.  If successful, DSP can help you with any administrative details required by the funding organization. If you do not receive the grant, we can help you with reviewer comments and revisions for resubmission or for other competitions.

Obtaining a Grant

Step 1

Please visit

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.

  • Sponsored Programs Info Network - Search SPINFor tips on how to enhance your search, please see the “Help” link in the upper right.
  • UI Grant Bulletin - an online newsletter of funding opportunities, recognition programs, and policy/procedural updates for the UI research community.
  • Funding Databases - 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.

  • 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 Pomerantz Career 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 UIRIS. Complete the form, approve and it will enter into Workflow for departmental and dean approval.
  • Determine if the application has been designated by the UI Graduate College to be part of the Graduate Incentive Fellowship program.
  • The application and routing form should arrive in Sponsored Programs five days in advance of the funding organization's deadline.
  • DSP will provide copying and shipping services if needed and for free once the application packet is reviewed for completeness by a DSP reviewer.
  • The DSP Tracker permits you to view the status of your application once it is received by DSP.

Graduate and Professional Student Resources

The Division of Sponsored Programs and the Graduate College collaborate to provide expert assistance to graduate and professional students seeking external funding to support research, dissertation, travel, and other scholarly activities. The Graduate College offers information on internal funding opportunities for graduate and professional students. The Graduate Student Senate and  Graduate & Professional Student Government offer travel funds for research and attending professional conferences/meetings.

A variety of presentations are available to departments for the graduate and professional students participating in the departments' degree program(s). Students can also access a wide range of services from the Division of Sponsored Programs that are funded through the Graduate College.

Whether a novice or an experienced proposal-writer, it is critical to learn and master the steps to obtaining external support. The steps outlined on this page are essential for successful submission of proposals while at the University of Iowa.

The UI Grad Success Office works with graduate students and postdocs on funding search strategies and proposal feedback. Individual consultations and group workshops can be set up at this page. Please email with any questions. Also see FAQs on this page and the Grad Success Office.