Brief Guide to Developing and Submitting Research Grant Applications

The development and submission of a research grant application can, at first glance, appear to be a daunting process, especially if one has not done this previously. However, if one proceeds in an organized, stepwise fashion, the process becomes more readily manageable. The purpose of this guide is to assist you by presenting the basics of the process. Three phases will be considered: 1. Creating the Research Proposal; 2. Submitting the Grant Application; 3. Post-submission requirements. The information presented will likely not cover all possibilities and contingencies. You should consider the Office of Research as a resource and feel free to call upon us for assistance at any point in the process.

Creating the Research Proposal

Each sponsor typically has its own format for grant requests. For NIH grants, the most frequently used form is PHS 398 which can be accessed online, along with instructions for completion, at It is important that the instructions be noted and followed closely, as even seemingly small details (e.g., the font style and size used) can affect how the application will be evaluated. Attention should be paid to developing the detailed budget to assure that the funds requested will be adequate to support the proposed research and that you are using up-to-date percentages to calculate such items as fringe benefits, Facilities and Administration Costs ("Indirect Costs"), and projected annual increases in salaries and supply costs. (Current rates can be obtained from Mr. Frank Cangelosi in the Office of Grants and Contracts or on the web here.) The Office of Research can assist you in preparing the detailed budget.

Submitting the Grant Application

Once the grant application is completed, the next step is to obtain internal review and approval prior to submitting it to the funding agency or sponsor. The form needed for this is the RBHS Transmittal and Approval Form for Grants and Contracts ("GAFA" form) which can be obtained from the Research Office (Room D-741). If the research will involve human subjects or animals, approval should also be obtained prior to or contemporaneously with the internal approval. Research involving human subjects and/or the use of human materials (e.g., pathology specimens, serum samples, etc.) requires protocol review and approval by the Institutional Review Board (IRB). If the research is eligible for exempt review, this determination must be made by the IRB, and cannot be made by the investigator. IRB information and application forms can be found at (Note: The IRB staff can assist you in preparing your protocol so that it will be IRB-approvable. Please contact Carla Rodriguez, Director of the Newark Campus IRB [2-0898] Research involving animals requires protocol review and approval by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). IACUC information and application forms can be found at Approval need not be received by the time the grant is circulated for internal approval or submitted; however, by this time the IRB or IACUC application should have been submitted and, accordingly, the GAFA form should be marked "Pending" on the appropriate line(s) (8 and/or 9). In addition, you will need to complete the Investigator Financial Disclosure Form which will be included with the proposal. After you and your department chair have signed the GAFA form, the form and budget should be submitted to Mr. Frank Cangelosi in the Office of Grants and Contracts for his review and signature. Then bring one complete final copy of the proposal and signed GAFA form to the Office of Research (D-741) for review and approval by the Associate Dean for Research. In many cases, the Associate Dean will also have to sign the completed grant face page, and it is important that all information be entered correctly to expedite this. You should provide one copy of the completed proposal for the Office of Research files. In cases in which the study involves a contract (e.g., industry studies, subcontracted work, etc.), the GAFA form and grant application will also have to be reviewed by the University's legal and finance officers, and a GAFA form with these approvals forwarded to the Office of Research. In all cases, a copy of the fully signed GAFA form should also be forwarded to the Office of Grants and Contracts. When final IRB or IACUC approval is received, a copy of the approval form should be sent to the Office of Research for inclusion in the study file.
Please take into consideration the deadline for submitting the grant to the funding source when going through the above process so that there is sufficient time for the application to be reviewed and approved internally. The final application and GAFA form should be sent to the Office of Research for review at least two weeks prior to the online grant submission deadline.

Post-submission Requirements

After the grant application is submitted and reviewed, a copy of any correspondence or e-mail concerning the grant should be sent to the Office of Research to keep your file up-to-date. This may include, for example, notices concerning the outcome of peer review and the funding decision, annual renewal applications/progress reports, annual IRB renewals, etc. If a grant has not been funded on the first attempt and is being revised and resubmitted, the submission procedure should be followed once again. Note that IRB approval should be renewed during each year of the grant period.

At any point, if you have questions or would like assistance, you should not hesitate to contact the Office of Research, as it is our job to help you succeed!