Initial Development of the Research Idea
Sponsored research projects stem from research ideas. The process of producing a proposal for a research project begins with having a research idea/goal(s), then setting objectives for reaching the goal(s) and coming up with methods to carry out the objectives. As the Principal Investigator (PI), you should have also thought about the following questions:
- What do you want to do?
- Why do you want to do it? The perceived need for the project?
- Why is it a good thing? The importance of the project to you/your organization and community?
- What you and/or others have already done?
- How are you going to do it?
- Who is going to benefit from it?
- What are the expected outcomes and impact of the project?
- Plans for its long-term sustainability, if applicable?
AUC's Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) can assist with developing the research idea and writing the proposal. Additionally, we can work with the PIs on preparing the budget, indicating who will be responsible for resourcing different cost components (i.e. the sponsor, the university, other parties). Direct and indirect costs should be detailed; and any AUC policies pertaining to the budget should be explained. See Indirect Cost and Fringe Benefit Rates in our Frequently Asked Questions
Identifying Sources of Research Funding
A critical aspect of the proposal development process is matching research goals with appropriate sources of funding. Potential funding sources can include international organizations, government agencies, foundations and corporations.
AUC's Office of Sponsored Programs can also assist in identifying applicable and eligible funding opportunities. OSP also regularly receive announcements of research funding opportunities and distribute the announcements to faculty according to areas of interest. The OSP Team can also assist you in reviewing sponsor announcements, application guidelines, and instructions for proposal submission.
One of the tools we rely on is the Community of Science (COS). This is a database that includes up-to-date announcements on a wide range of funding opportunities such as grants, fellowships and other external funding in all disciplines, not only in science. COS is also available for you to access by simply requesting to join by emailing us and our team will create and send you a username and password.
Another way to inform the OSP team that you are interested in finding sources of funding for your research/projects is to fill out this simple form we have created, and we will search for relevant funding sources that match your needs and eligibility, and if found, we will inform you of these funding sources. Click Here to go to this form.
Contacting Potential Sponsors
Once there is a clear research goal and potential sponsors identified, the next step is to contact potential sponsors to discuss the research idea. This interaction can help in writing an effective proposal. AUC faculty are encouraged to alert OSP about informal contacts with donors and should be extremely careful in discussing budget matters. Contacts with potential sponsors should be coordinated with AUC's Office of Sponsored Programs. In some cases, university approval is needed before making initial contact.