Grant Lifecycle

The Grant Lifecycle

You can expect assistance from Merrimack College’s Office of Research and Sponsored Programs at each point in the grant process. 

The grant lifecycle has seven key steps along the way, and our office will work to support you through the process. Find out more about all we can offer you below.

ORSP Can Help You With

Generating Your Idea
We'll help you identify your collaborators. Learn More
Finding Funding

We'll have conversations with your program manager and show you how to navigate important tools, including Foundation Directory Online, Instrumentl
and Pivot. Learn More

Developing Your Proposal

This includes developing a narrative, budget and justification. Inclusion of attachments, data plan or logic model can aid this development. Learn More

Submitting your proposal

We will help you complete both your intent to propose form and your proposal routing form. Learn More

Award acceptance and set-up

ORSP will assist you with project initiation meetings, help generating your fund code, grants accounting and working alongside IRB. Learn More

Managing your award

ORSP helps guide you with financial oversight, monitoring both your progress and sub awards. Learn More

 

Award close-out

ORSP will work with you to develop a final report and financial report, and more. Learn More

Generating Ideas

Generating a research topic sometimes relies on multiple sources of inspiration. Once you have identified a topic that looks feasible, make sure you are aware of all the literature in that area. While reading and listening, keep distinct in your mind what is different between your work and others.

Tell us about your idea through our Project Idea Form.

Generating a research topic sometimes relies on multiple sources of inspiration. Doing all or a combination of the following is likely to help you develop some preliminary ideas:

  • Ideas for research topics frequently stem from personal experiences or threads that run through a person’s professional life, so consider your interests, strengths, and experiences for flashes of inspiration.
  • Ideas are frequently generated from conversations with colleagues and other professionals. It’s important to take opportunities to network, seek feedback, present at conferences, review papers, sit on panels and advisory councils, and contact national/international figures in your area of interest.
  • Look externally and read through requests for proposals from funders in your field to develop a creative spark – more information on finding funding can be found here.
  • New ideas for research can arise from existing research so consider picking up where others left off and conduct a literature review.
  • Whenever you read, evaluate, or listen, ask yourself:
    • Where did they draw the ideas from?
    • What was accomplished?
    • How does it relate to other work?
    • What would be a reasonable next step to build upon?
    • What ideas could be brought in to expand upon the topic?

Assess for Success

Once you have identified a topic that looks feasible, make sure you are aware of all the literature in that area. While reading and listening, keep distinct in your mind what is different between your work and others, and keep the following tips in mind:

  • The subject should be timely.
  • Your work should lead to a well defined set of results and demonstrate a high level of creativity.
  • You should enjoy the subject and want to spend the next several years working on it.
  • You can establish your own research niche, often the one you find yourself in after your Ph.D. is identified with your advisor(s). Think about what natural tangents you could take from that and try to put that in the content of existing research.
Generating Ideas

Generating a research topic sometimes relies on multiple sources of inspiration. Once you have identified a topic that looks feasible, make sure you are aware of all the literature in that area. While reading and listening, keep distinct in your mind what is different between your work and others.

Tell us about your idea through our Project Idea Form. Generating a research topic sometimes relies on multiple sources of inspiration. Doing all or a combination of the following is likely to help you develop some preliminary ideas:
  • Ideas for research topics frequently stem from personal experiences or threads that run through a person’s professional life, so consider your interests, strengths, and experiences for flashes of inspiration.
  • Ideas are frequently generated from conversations with colleagues and other professionals. It’s important to take opportunities to network, seek feedback, present at conferences, review papers, sit on panels and advisory councils, and contact national/international figures in your area of interest.
  • Look externally and read through requests for proposals from funders in your field to develop a creative spark – more information on finding funding can be found here.
  • New ideas for research can arise from existing research so consider picking up where others left off and conduct a literature review.
  • Whenever you read, evaluate, or listen, ask yourself:
    • Where did they draw the ideas from?
    • What was accomplished?
    • How does it relate to other work?
    • What would be a reasonable next step to build upon?
    • What ideas could be brought in to expand upon the topic?
Assess for Success Once you have identified a topic that looks feasible, make sure you are aware of all the literature in that area. While reading and listening, keep distinct in your mind what is different between your work and others, and keep the following tips in mind:
  • The subject should be timely.
  • Your work should lead to a well defined set of results and demonstrate a high level of creativity.
  • You should enjoy the subject and want to spend the next several years working on it.
  • You can establish your own research niche, often the one you find yourself in after your Ph.D. is identified with your advisor(s). Think about what natural tangents you could take from that and try to put that in the content of existing research.

Finding Funding

The following resources will assist you in identifying appropriate funding sources for your research projects and/or civic engagement programs.

Instrumentl is a comprehensive grants management and prospecting database where grant seekers can research funding opportunities that include private, corporate and government funders. Instrumentl can also help you track deadlines, set reminders, and manage awarded grants. Merrimack researchers can request an account by filling out this form. If you have any questions, please contact Kate Baron.

Pivot is a searchable database of external funding opportunities from federal, nonprofit, for profit, and international sponsors across all disciplines, whether you are looking for opportunities for research, scholarship, fellowship, or other creative pursuits. Merrimack researchers should create a user profile to set up customized searches involving their fields of interest or discipline. The profile can provide email alerts to researchers about new opportunities that match their search criteria. Use this Pivot Quick Start Guide to get started. Pivot is maintained by the McQuade Library. If you need any assistance, please contact the ORSP team or a McQuade librarian

The Fogarty International Center’s Non-NIH Funding Opportunities is a directory that includes national and international grants and fellowships in biomedical and behavioral research, providing information about additional funding opportunities available to those in the field of global health research.

Grants.gov provides a database of federal funding opportunities. Utilize the research options and filters to narrow your search focus.

Federal Agencies Who Award Grants 
Finding Funding

There are resources that provide access to the major searchable funding opportunity databases available to all faculty at Merrimack College.

Developing Your Proposal

All grant proposals and funding applications, including pre-proposals, supplemental funding requests, and grant award revisions must be processed through ORSP. Our office is committed to helping all Merrimack principal investigators prepare and submit successful proposals. We are responsible for reviewing sponsor guidelines and submission requirements, reviewing budgets and budget justifications to ensure the proposal submission is following College policy and best practice, ensuring accuracy and adherence to sponsor and university policies, reviewing format and basic content, confirming that all internal approvals are in place prior to submission, and submitting proposals.

Step 1: Initiate Proposal

Submit the Intent to Propose form, designed to quickly and easily inform ORSP staff that you are interested in submitting a grant proposal. Please submit this form as early as possible in the process.

Step 2: Complete Pre-Submission Requirements

The following steps will be conducted in collaboration with ORSP:

Carefully review the Request for Proposals (RFP), a government Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), funder solicitation, or sponsor website for formatting and submission requirements, and necessary proposal elements, which may include:

  • Narrative
  • Detailed budget
  • Logic model
  • Biosketch and Other Support page

Plan ahead for proposal elements that may require special attention, such as:

  • Subcontract documentation
  • Signed letters of support from the institution and/or partner organizations
  • Data management and sharing plans
  • Intellectual property and compliance

Determine if there is a pre-proposal requirement, often called a Letter of Inquiry (LOI), Intent to Apply, Concept Paper, etc. Typically, the purpose of a pre-proposal is to inform and catch the interest of a potential sponsor so that the sponsor then requests a formal proposal including full technical and budget information. 

Create a timeline with internal and external deadlines and roles and responsibilities clearly delineated. 

Develop your budget, which generally includes two basic categories of costs: direct costs (e.g.,  salaries, fringe benefits, consultants, equipment, materials and supplies, and travel) and facilities and administrative (F&A) costs, also known as indirect costs. Many funders will have their own templates or required budget formatting, however, you will want to initially develop your budget using the ORSP Proposal Budget Template and Budget Narrative Template. It’s important to consider the following items when developing your budget:

Write the narrative, which will typically include several of the following elements depending on the funder requirements:

  • Organizational and project descriptions
  • Research aims
  • Need statement
  • Work plan and/or timeline
  • Impact assessment and evaluation 
  • Sustainability and dissemination plans

General Instructions for Preparing & Submitting Applications to NIH and Other PHS Agencies.

Step 3: Finalize Proposal Elements

Merrimack College has a dedicated Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR), who is responsible for obtaining institutional approval, and reviewing and submitting all proposals on behalf of Merrimack College. ORSP requires a minimum of 7 business days prior to the submission due date to review and edit any proposal documentation required by the sponsor/funder, and to attain the required approvals. As such, please complete and submit the Proposal Routing Form (PRF) at least 7 days before the sponsor/funder submission deadline with the following proposal documentation:

  • Proposal narrative draft with funder/sponsor formatting applied 
  • ORSP Proposal budget spreadsheet 
  • Proposal budget justification
  • Project abstract, if required
  • Subrecipient documentation (if applicable)

For all grant submissions, the PRF will be routed internally for approval with signatures required from the PI, their Dean, Co-PIs, ORSP leadership, and the AOR. Department Chairs and Deans of Administration and Finance are copied. 

Once the PRF (with all of the respective signatures) is completed, the proposal may be submitted. The signatures on this form constitute the institutional approval needed for all proposals. Be sure to send the final science and finalized versions of all required proposal materials to ORSP for submission at least 2 to 3 business days prior to the submission deadline, whenever possible.

Developing Your Proposal

One of the primary functions of the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) is the campus-wide facilitation of proposal submission to external sponsors.

Submitting Your Proposal

At least 5 days before submission deadline:

  • For government finding proposals, the PI should enter proposal information into the online funder/sponsor portal, i.e. FastLane, grants.gov, research.gov, etc.
  • For foundation funding proposals, most applications will be submitted by the OSRP staff.

For proposals/research involving human subjects, PI will follow procedures of submitting an IRB application prior to Proposal Submission Date. 

Prior to submission of a proposal, each PI, Co-Pi, and senior personnel named in the proposal are required to review Merrimack College’s Conflict of Interest (COI) and Research Misconduct policies, and complete the COI and Responsible Conduct in Research (RCR) modules in the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) certification. This information is required in the Proposal Routing Form. 

All College and externally sponsored projects involving research with human subjects are within the jurisdiction of Merrimack College’s Institutional Review Board (IRB). It is the responsibility of all members of the Merrimack community to seek support from the IRB with their research. Proposals involving human-subject research may be required to file their IRB application prior  to proposal submission. Any exceptions to this requirement should be discussed with ORSP on a case-by-case basis. IRB approval is usually not required for proposal submission.

Submitting Your Proposal

In order to successfully submit your proposal, it is important to work with the Office of Research & Sponsored Programs to meet the requirements and deadlines for submission to all funding agencies.

Award Acceptance & Setup

Prior to the project start date, ORSP will create a new G-Fund for the award and set up a Project Initiation Meeting (PIM) with the PI and Co-PIs to discuss the following topics and answer any questions:

  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Contract terms and conditions
  • Budget and timelines
  • Reporting requirements
Award Acceptance & Set-Up

The Office of Research & Sponsored Programs provides a comprehensive review of grant awards, contracts, cooperative agreements, and Material Transfer Agreement terms and conditions working in conjunction with the Office of General Counsel.

Instrumentl is a comprehensive grants management and prospecting database where grant seekers can research funding opportunities that include private, corporate and government funders. Instrumentl can also help you track deadlines, set reminders, and manage awarded grants. Merrimack researchers can request an account by filling out this form. If you have any questions, please contact Kate Baron at baronk@merrimack.edu.

Pivot is a searchable database of external funding opportunities from federal, nonprofit, for profit, and international sponsors across all disciplines, whether you are looking for opportunities for research, scholarship, fellowship, or other creative pursuits. Merrimack researchers should create a user profile to set up customized searches involving their fields of interest or discipline. The profile can provide email alerts to researchers about new opportunities that match their search criteria. Use this Pivot Quick Start Guide to get started. Pivot is maintained by the McQuade Library. If you need any assistance, please contact the ORSP team or a McQuade librarian

The Fogarty International Center’s Non-NIH Funding Opportunities is a directory that includes national and international grants and fellowships in biomedical and behavioral research, providing information about additional funding opportunities available to those in the field of global health research.

Grants.gov provides a database of federal funding opportunities. Utilize the research options and filters to narrow your search focus.

Federal Agencies Who Award Grants 

All grant proposals and funding applications, including pre-proposals, supplemental funding requests, and grant award revisions must be processed through ORSP. We are responsible for reviewing sponsor guidelines and submission requirements, reviewing budgets and budget justifications to ensure the proposal submission is following College policy and best practice, ensuring accuracy and adherence to sponsor and university policies, reviewing format and basic content, confirming that all internal approvals are in place prior to submission, and submitting proposals.

Step 1: Initiate Proposal

Submit the Intent to Propose form, designed to quickly and easily inform ORSP staff that you are interested in submitting a grant proposal. Please submit this form as early as possible in the process.

Step 2: Complete Pre-Submission Requirements

The following steps will be conducted in collaboration with ORSP:

Carefully review the Request for Proposals (RFP), a government Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), funder solicitation, or sponsor website for formatting and submission requirements, and necessary proposal elements, which may include:

  • Narrative
  • Detailed budget
  • Logic model
  • Biosketch and Other Support page

Plan ahead for proposal elements that may require special attention, such as:

  • Subcontract documentation
  • Signed letters of support from the institution and/or partner organizations
  • Data management and sharing plans
  • Intellectual property and compliance

Determine if there is a pre-proposal requirement, often called a Letter of Inquiry (LOI), Intent to Apply, Concept Paper, etc. Typically, the purpose of a pre-proposal is to inform and catch the interest of a potential sponsor so that the sponsor then requests a formal proposal including full technical and budget information. 

Create a timeline with internal and external deadlines and roles and responsibilities clearly delineated. 

Develop your budget, which generally includes two basic categories of costs: direct costs (e.g.,  salaries, fringe benefits, consultants, equipment, materials and supplies, and travel) and facilities and administrative (F&A) costs, also known as indirect costs. Many funders will have their own templates or required budget formatting, however, you will want to initially develop your budget using the ORSP Proposal Budget Template and Budget Narrative Template. It’s important to consider the following items when developing your budget:

Write the narrative, which will typically include several of the following elements depending on the funder requirements:

  • Organizational and project descriptions
  • Research aims
  • Need statement
  • Work plan and/or timeline
  • Impact assessment and evaluation 
  • Sustainability and dissemination plans

General Instructions for Preparing & Submitting Applications to NIH and Other PHS Agencies.

Step 3: Finalize Proposal Elements

Merrimack College has a dedicated Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR), who is responsible for obtaining institutional approval, and reviewing and submitting all proposals on behalf of Merrimack College. ORSP requires a minimum of 7 business days prior to the submission due date to review and edit any proposal documentation required by the sponsor/funder, and to attain the required approvals. As such, please complete and submit the Proposal Routing Form (PRF) at least 7 days before the sponsor/funder submission deadline with the following proposal documentation:

  • Proposal narrative draft with funder/sponsor formatting applied 
  • ORSP Proposal budget spreadsheet 
  • Proposal budget justification
  • Project abstract, if required
  • Subrecipient documentation (if applicable)

For all grant submissions, the PRF will be routed internally for approval with signatures required from the PI, their Dean, Co-PIs, ORSP leadership, and the AOR. Department Chairs and Deans of Administration and Finance are copied. 

Once the PRF (with all of the respective signatures) is completed, the proposal may be submitted. The signatures on this form constitute the institutional approval needed for all proposals. Be sure to send the final science and finalized versions of all required proposal materials to ORSP for submission at least 2 to 3 business days prior to the submission deadline, whenever possible.

At least 5 days before submission deadline:

  • For government finding proposals, the PI should enter proposal information into the online funder/sponsor portal, i.e. FastLane, grants.gov, research.gov, etc.
  • For foundation funding proposals, most applications will be submitted by the OSRP staff.

For proposals/research involving human subjects, PI will follow procedures of submitting an IRB application prior to Proposal Submission Date. 

Prior to submission of a proposal, each PI, Co-Pi, and senior personnel named in the proposal are required to review Merrimack College’s Conflict of Interest (COI) and Research Misconduct policies, and complete the COI and Responsible Conduct in Research (RCR) modules in the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) certification. This information is required in the Proposal Routing Form. 

All College and externally sponsored projects involving research with human subjects are within the jurisdiction of Merrimack College’s Institutional Review Board (IRB). It is the responsibility of all members of the Merrimack community to seek support from the IRB with their research. Proposals involving human-subject research may be required to file their IRB application prior  to proposal submission. Any exceptions to this requirement should be discussed with ORSP on a case-by-case basis. IRB approval is usually not required for proposal submission.

Prior to the project start date, ORSP will create a new G-Fund for the award and set up a Project Initiation Meeting (PIM) with the PI and Co-PIs to discuss the following topics and answer any questions:

  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Contract terms and conditions
  • Budget and timelines
  • Reporting requirements

Managing Your Award

OSRP advises and assists PIs in complying with the requirements of their project sponsor, ensures that all reporting requirements are completed in a timely manner, and seven as the point of contact to the sponsor for all grant administration actives (budget modifications, change of PI, No-Cost Extensions, prior approvals, etc). The Primary Investigator has a duty to adhere to all terms and conditions of the award, a commitment to keep the technical work flowing, and an agreement to charge only those costs that are required for technical fulfillment of the project. 

Sponsored Programs Accounting (SPA) has primary responsibility for the financial reporting, invoicing amount, effort reporting, cash management requirements, and audit coordination of sponged projects. Staff accountant currently creates and sends invoices. 

Managing Your Award

The PI has primary responsibility for the management of his or her sponsored project. With this responsibility comes the obligation to plan and manage each project with care and diligence.

OSRP advises and assists PIs in complying with the requirements of their project sponsor, ensures that all reporting requirements are completed in a timely manner, and seven as the point of contact to the sponsor for all grant administration actives (budget modifications, change of PI, No-Cost Extensions, prior approvals, etc). 

Sponsored Programs Accounting (SPA) has primary responsibility for the financial reporting, invoicing amount, effort reporting, cash management requirements, and audit coordination of sponged projects. Staff accountant currently creates and sends invoices. 

Award Close-Out

OSRP will assist the PI in…

Award Close-Out

The Office of Research & Sponsored Programs initiatives all close-out activities in accordance with the grant requirements of the sponsor.

Generating Your Idea
We'll help you identify your collaborators.
Finding Funding
We'll have conversations with your program manager and show you how to navigate important tools, including Foundation Directory Online, Instrumentl and Pivot.