Steps to Finding Funding, Developing and Submitting Proposal

The following steps were adapted from those used by experts within the colleges, as well as experts outside of BYU. The STEM Research Development group can help you execute these steps and can also connect you with both internal and external people who are experts at finding funding and writing proposal

1. Identify a Fundable Research Topic

This step is key to the whole process of finding funding and writing a successful proposal. Sometimes even the best ideas are not easy to fund. Using techniques developed by experts should improve the likelihood of developing a fundable research idea. Those techniques include identifying and understanding a niche area, assessing your idea's potential for impact and obtaining critiques from knowledgeable colleagues. The links to right provide more information about this critical step in finding and obtaining research funding.


2. Search for Funders

The likelihood of finding funding is increased by searching multiple funding sources rather than relying solely on "traditional" funders. Statistics for the Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology (CE&T), the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences (CPMS), and the College of Life Sciences (LSCI) show that traditional funding sources like the NSF and the NIH have the lowest percentage of success relative to less typical sources such as the Department of Defense.There are many possible sources of research funding. To the right are links to internal sources provided by the colleges and university (via ORCA and the Faculty Center) and external sources that include federal and state agencies, companies, and foundations. The links will also connect you to tools for funding searches. The Research Development group can help you get started using the tools and can also conduct an initial search for you. To do so, visit Request a Funding Search.


  Funding Sources

  Tools For Funding Searches

3. Develop a Detailed Understanding of Potential Funders

Having good information about a potential funder can help you tailor a proposal to best meet a funder's interests and thereby increase the likelihood of receiving funding. The links to the right can help you find information about potential funders.


4. Market Your Idea

Marketing your ideas is an essential component to receiving funding. Ideally, marketing begins well before proposal writing. Good marketing is an on-going process that includes timely contact and communication with funders. Marketing also includes active participation in professional organizations, conferences and opportunities to advocate your capabilities to funders. The links to the right provide access to information that should help in the marketing process.


5. Prepare and Submit a Proposal

Because there are many guides for proposal preparation, an overall set of proposal preparation steps is outlined in a proposal preparation checklist, accessible through the link to the right. There is additional information about proposal preparation in the Resources tab. Finally, proposal submittal procedures required by BYU are described by ORCA accessible through the link to the right. All awards made to the University need to be processed by ORCA. Proposals should be submitted to ORCA for internal review and approval at least three business days before the proposal needs to be submitted to the sponsor. ORCA requires that the proposal be submitted with the "Summary Sheet" previously signed by the department chairs and dean. This form and guidance for filling it out can be obtained on the ORCA website. For help with proposal submittals please contact the Research Development group.




6. Re-submit a Rejected Proposal

Inevitably, one or more proposals you submit will be rejected (and for some funders, rejected several times). The links to the right provide access to guides for determining if a rejected proposal should be re-submitted and to whom.