Section 3: Searching for Sponsored Research Funding Opportunities


3.1 What are Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs)?

FOAs are publicly available documents by which agencies or other sponsor organizations make known their intentions to award funding, usually as a result of a competitive process. Funding opportunities (or solicitations) may be called by a number of names, including: Request for Proposals (RFP); Request for Applications (RFA); Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOA); Proposal Announcements (PA); or any other name the sponsor decides to use. It is important to check for new funding opportunities frequently. In addition, you should check periodically to see if a sponsor has revised an existing FOA.

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3.2 Who Is Responsible For Finding Funding?

The principal investigator (PI) is responsible for actively seeking funding sources, but you can assist by searching for relevant funding opportunities on behalf of your PI.

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3.3 Find Funding Opportunities/Notices at UT Austin

3.3.1 Office of VP for Research: Research Alerts

This is a weekly e-newsletter published by the Office of the Vice President for Research. The Research Alert usually includes NIH, NSF, DOD, and non-Federal award opportunities. Subscribe to Research Alerts or send an e-mail to the VPR.

3.3.2 Limited Submission Programs

Frequently, funding opportunities are designated as"limited submission programs", meaning that due to restrictions placed by the sponsor the university can only submit a specified number of proposals for consideration for an award. The Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP) coordinates the internal screening and review process to determine which proposals can go forward on behalf of UT Austin. Before you begin to develop a proposal, please notify OSP via email limitedsub@austin.utexas.edu if the sponsor's program guidelines place any limits on the number of proposals that can be submitted by the university. For more information go to the VPR's web page on Limited Submission Programs.

3.3.3 Special Funding for UT Austin Faculty and Students

The Office of the Vice President for Research administers a variety of internal competitions for awards, fellowships and grant programs. Potential sources of funding include Graduate School sponsored faculty travel grants, research grants for faculty, students, and others, and undergraduate research opportunities.

3.3.4 OSP FAQ: "How Do I Find a Sponsor"?

See this entry under the heading "How To Submit a Proposal" for an on-line listing of resources.

3.3.5 Community of Science (COS)

All UT Austin employees can access the Community of Science (COS) searchable database. Create a username and password to view funding opportunities or identify potential collaborators for your PI. For information on scheduling one-on-one training sessions or small group classes contact OSP at 471-6424.

3.3.6 UT Austin Libraries

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3.4 Find Funding Opportunities/Notices at the Federal Level

Most, if not all, federal sponsors maintain a website that announces and catalogs their active funding opportunities and solicitations. The following is not an exhaustive list of federal sponsor Web sites; but is a sampling of major federal sponsors and will give you a glimpse of their funding sites:

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3.5 Find Funding Opportunities/Federal Listservs

If a sponsor maintains an funding listserv, it is advisable to subscribe to it in order to cut down your search time and to stay abreast of current, expiring, or extended funding opportunities. Some commonly used listservs are:

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3.6 Find Funding Opportunities/Notices at the State Level

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3.7 Find Research Funding by Corporate Sponsorship

For-profit corporations may approach or be approached by a PI for research sponsorship. Sponsorship provided by corporations may be in the form of a grant or contract. The terms and conditions of these types of research projects are negotiated by OSP after the PI has made contact with the corporation. As soon as you become aware that the PI is working with a corporate or industry sponsor, provide them with, A Principles and Policies Guide for Sponsored Activity which is a summary of  selected fundamental principles and policies which govern the manner in which sponsored activity is conducted at The University.

Prior to the negotiation of a legally binding agreement, you or your PI should contact OSP for assistance in determining acceptable and appropriate terms and conditions related to non-disclosure of confidential information, intellectual property issues, or other matters that are pertinent to the specific project being considered for funding. Many times the university and the corporate sponsor have conflicting requirements and negotiation is necessary. Questions related to negotiations with corporations may be directed to Bill Catlett, Director, Office of Industry Engagement or call 471-6279.

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3.8 Find Research Funding by Foundations/Non-profits

Private foundations fund many research projects through Requests for Proposals (RFPs) or through direct contact with PIs. It is important that Foundation Relations (FR) in the University Development Office be kept informed if your PI is planning to submit a proposal to a foundation, or is planning to approach a foundation about funding a special project. Please note: Each foundation proposal is unique and requires different supporting documentation. Please contact the University Development Office or Foundation Relations ( 475-9628) for more information.

3.8.1 Research Gifts

Research gifts are donations made for research purposes with no terms or conditions, i.e., no restrictions or deliverables, associated with the funding. The UT Austin Development Office manages these types of gifts, and OSP has no involvement in the proposal review process. Check with your Dean's Office for gift processing policies and procedures in your college, school or unit (CSU) or call the UT Austin University Development Office 471-5424 for more information.

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3.9 Research Training Sponsorships for Students and Postdoctoral Fellows

The University of Texas at Austin is committed to providing research training for students. For example, the Office of Undergraduate Research hosts a Web based guide to faculty research and research opportunities for undergraduates called EUREKA!™ Students can use EUREKA!™ to find tips on getting started in research, information on funding and publication, and postings by UT Austin faculty for research positions here on campus.

In addition, the Office of Research Support (ORS) provides information on committee oversight and approval required for student researchers.

The NIH and NSF, as well as other agencies provide fellowship sponsorship or training grants for students and postdoctoral researchers. A few are listed here:

Please Note: Naming the student as the PI on the award document may not be permitted, depending on the sponsor. However, the sponsor's expectation is that the student will conduct the research and perform other grant management duties. And, regardless of who is named as the PI in the award document, for tracking purposes in RMS the student's research project is listed under their PI's name.

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