Overview of Public Funding

Public funding includes federal, state, and city funders. Federal funding requirements, such as opportunities from the National Science Foundation (NSF) or National Institutes of Health (NIH), can be complex and require many types of documentation. High-quality, competitive grants can take from several weeks to several months to write. After submitting your proposal, expect to wait 6-9 months to hear whether you will be funded. 

Common documents required for government grants may include the following:

1.   Letter of intent (LOI) or a short preliminary proposal due several weeks before the proposal due date.
2.   Project Summary (1 page) that includes a short description, intellectual merit, and broader impacts of your research (for NSF) or an overview of your proposal for other funders.
3.   Project Description (NSF: 15 pages; NIH: up to 12; other agencies, read the RFP [Request for Proposal]).
4.   References cited page(s).
5.   Biographical sketches formatted for government requirements. These are generally 2 pages (for NSF; up to 5 pages for NIH) and are different than CVs.
6.   Letters of commitment or letters of collaboration.
7.   Current and pending funding report.
8.   Timelines for research.
9.   Complex budgets with justification.
10. Facilities, Equipment and Other Resources page.
11. Data Management Plan (NSF: 2 pages; other agencies, read the RFP).
12. Mentoring Plan when student researchers are included.