What type of projects should I submit an Intent to Submit Form?
Any time you plan to request funding from a source external to NKU for scholarly activities, including student support, teaching assistance, research, etc., then you should complete an Intent to Submit form and forward to the RGC.
This includes any time NKU will be considered the prime applicant, co-applicant, subcontractor to another organization or institution, and/or collaborating institution.
Every request for research funding must be entered into the NKU grants management system (GMS). In most cases, the level of detail needed for the Intent notification is very minimum and will only require a draft budget, budget justification and a draft abstract/narrative to be uploaded to the system. This allows for the internal NKU proposal file to be developed, and internally approved by the Principal Investigator (and Co-PIs), Departmental Chair, Dean and the RGC office prior to submission to the sponsor.
If applicable, it may also be required to create a funding agency submission file as stipulated by the Sponsor within the solicitation document (i.e., Grants.gov, ASSIST, etc.); however, in most cases your RGC Grants Administrator will create the submission file on your behalf. This is the location that all required final proposal documents will be uploaded for “official” submission to the Sponsor.
Follow your sponsor's rules and requirements. Developing and submitting proposals is far too much work to get rejected because your font is too small, your margins too narrow, or because you changed computers and Word versions and some of your text now places you over the page limit. Double check everything. Do exactly what the funding announcement or request for proposal asks.
Do you really understand your sponsor’s concerns? Federal sponsors often follow a research agenda outlined in strategic documents, such as the National Science Foundation’s 10 Big Ideas or NASA’s Strategic Plan. Philanthropic sponsors follow very specific missions and visions that mirror their donors’ interests. Corporate sponsors may have nuggets of information buried in news articles or press releases. Read these and make sure you know what your funder is really looking to accomplish.
Make your benefits to the sponsor, to society, to humanity, to the United States and to the American taxpayer crystal clear. Move beyond esoteric benefits to the scientific community and think big. Remember: everything has a benefit — from engineering algal biofuel to studying bee colonies to abstract art to new translations of ancient Assyrian texts.
Consider your audience’s education levels, available time to read and interest in your subject. Not every proposal is reviewed by an academic panel. Not every program officer has the same power in making award decisions. Take time to craft a proposal targeted at impressing those who score it and those who actually make the funding decisions.
Clear writing indicates clear thinking. Aim to be understood, not to intimidate or show off. Wherever possible, choose simple words familiar to your reader. Structure sentences to be understood. Strike redundant language or paragraphs (unless they repeat key messages).
Read and edit your proposal from the perspective of someone who may not understand what you’re talking about. Knowledge has become so specialized that even people in the same field with the same education levels often talk past each other and alienate readers with excessive abbreviations, poorly defined abstractions and unfamiliar jargon.
Everyone can benefit from a second set of eyes and a second brain. Send it to a trusted colleague or friend for comments and be sure to heed their input. Complex, multi-investigator proposals should go out to an external review panel. If they aren’t getting it, neither will your sponsor. If they find tons of grammar or scientific errors, so will your sponsors.