RSP subscribes to a grant funding search database, GrantForward, which contains thousands of opportunities from all types of sponsors, in the U.S. and around the world. It offers a basic search engine as well as advanced search functions and optional automated e-mailing of search results.
Grants.gov offers a searchable database of U.S. Federal funding opportunities.
General-purpose search engines can also be very useful tools for finding sponsors and funding opportunities. Publications often have references to an agency / foundation that provides support to a particular project. Be sure to look for these notations to see who is providing support in your field.
Also, many sponsors, including most federal sponsors, post lists of the projects they’ve funded previously. Searching through these lists can be a good way to find a sponsor interested in funding the type of work you want to do.
If you are looking for ways to diversify your current funding, or just looking to get started, schedule a time to meet with the Pre-Award Manager assigned to your Unit.
All proposals start with a clearly defined and developed idea, concept, or research question one is hoping to explore. The RSP department can assist prospective PIs wishing to develop a proposal. PIs are invited to prepare and forward a one-page Concept Paper outlining their potential project. An outline to assist with the creation of the Concept Paper can be found here.
The completion of this Concept Paper allows RSP staff to respond effectively to the PI's needs and sets the stage for a face-to-face consultation in order to discuss the concept. The Concept Paper can also become a tool for inviting collaborators, interacting with program officers, and may from the foundation from which a proposal application can be written.
RSP encourages anyone wishing to submit an application for extramural support to contact our office at ResearchOffice@IllinoisState.edu
Once your research idea or concept has been identified, the next step is to identify an appropriate funding source. The main funding sources include: Federal Funding Sources, State of Illinois Funding Sources, and Foundation Funding Sources.
Where do I Find Funding?
Federal funding agencies generally have the most accessible information and often provide the most stable source of external funding. Illinois State University is eligible to apply to federal funding opportunities that are open to "institutions of higher education".
Federal agencies fund basic, applied research projects as well as student services projects. Federal agencies rarely fund sponsored projects (these are typically funded by State Funding Agencies). Once a potential program has been identified, you should review the Proposal Guidelines (often called an RFA or RFP). These guidelines will explain what the agency is interested in funding and will detail the application process. The official university application is prepared by the PI and is provided to RSP for review and final submission. RSP is authorized by the Board of Trustees for Illinois State University to submit all applications requesting external funding.
Please contact RSP at ResearchOffice@IllinoisState.edu as soon as you consider submitting a proposal to a federal agency.
The State of Illinois typically does not provide funding for basic research projects. Most of the State funding supports sponsored projects such as:
While some State projects are competitive research projects, the majority are allocations based upon existing working relationships PI's have with state agencies. If this is the case, PI's will be allocated funding for a sponsored program rather than requesting a specific amount to complete the work.
Please contact RSP at ResearchOffice@IllinoisState.edu as soon as you consider submitting a proposal to a State agency.
What is a Foundation?
Foundations are non-profit organizations that specifically exist to champion a cause. Most foundations are philanthropic arms of for-profit corporations or the byproduct of a large endowment left by wealthy individuals
What is Foundation Funding?
Foundation awards vary in size from small to large. For investigators whom do not have a track record with a particular foundation, a good strategy is to request funds for a small project. This will show the foundation your work is worth their investment.
Pros and Cons of Private Funding
Where can I find private funding sources for my area of interest?
Several electronic directories and resources are available:
Grantwriting guides for foundation funders:
How can I interact with foundation funder staff?
Some foundations have grantmaking offices with staff willing to interact with potential PIs. However, some smaller organizations have limited staff members and will restrict such forms of contact. Be sure to check the funders' website to identify preferred methods and limitations for contact. If no such guidelines are offered, an email inquiry, including a brief (one-page / 2-3 paragraph) summary of the proposed project, together with specific questions, is a recommended initial contact.