The first step in the proposal lifecycle is to identify funding opportunities and assess their “fit” with your proposed research. New to finding funding? Visit Find Funding for information on internal (UA) funding opportunities, external funding sources, and search engines, databases, and tools to help you identify funding opportunities.
After identifying a funding opportunity (or several), read it/them through carefully to assess how well your proposed research fits with the solicitation. Determine the “fit” based on:
- the information in the funding opportunity announcement,
- the sponsor’s website, and
- by looking at what has already been funded by the program.
Helpful documents to look for on sponsor websites include agency strategic plans, decadal surveys, reports, and other strategic documents. Several of these are provided below.
- The National Academies of Sciences Engineering and Medicine, Space Studies Board List of Decadal Surveys; selected surveys below:
- Investing in Science, Engineering, and Education for the Nation’s Future: NSF Strategic Plan, 2014-2018 (pdf download)
- NIH Strategic Plans and Visions, including plans for each Institute and Center, the NIH-Wide plan, Topical and Interagency plans.
- NEH Strategic Plan
- NASA 2018 Strategic Plan (pdf download), NASA Science Strategy page
- NASA Science Mission Directorate's List of Most Recent Decadal Surveys
- NIFA Strategic Plan FT2014-FY2018
- Sea Change: 2015-2025 Decadal Survey of Ocean Sciences
The following are key questions to ask when determining fit, and links to help you find funded research.
- Am I/is my institution eligible?
- Does the program fund projects in my research area? (See Find Funded Research below)
- Does my proposed research align with the mission and priorities of the agency, directorate/institute, and program?
- Does my proposed research align with the topic and scope of the RFP/FOA/PA/BAA*?
- Does my proposed research “match” the level of innovation (e.g., incremental vs. high risk/high reward) reflected in the RFP/FOA/PA/BAA?
- Do I and my collaborators have the track record (e.g., joint publications, preliminary data) and expertise required to be competitive?
- Do I and my collaborators have access to the facilities/resources required to accomplish the work?
*RFP: Request for Proposals; FOA: Funding Opportunity Announcement; PA: Program Announcement; BAA: Broad Agency Announcement
One of the best ways to determine if your research fits with a particular program/solicitation is to see what has been previously funded. Most funding agencies provide this information. Several links to searchable award databases are provided below.
- NSF Award Search
- NIH RePORTER
- NEH Funded Projects Query
- NASA Shared Services Center Grants Status Search
- USDA Current Research Information System (CRIS)
- DOD Grant Awards
Having performed this due diligence, consider contacting your program officer to gather additional information on the FOA, program priorities, and fit with your proposed research. Note: We strongly encourage that you NOT cold call your program officer. For help on how to prepare, visit Contacting Program Officers.