Seeking External Sources of Support

Grant-seeking and proposal development are scholarly activities that can help faculty members focus on the larger context of their research and creative activity, and encourage articulation of its importance and impact. Applying for external funding is an incentive to think about your work’s relevance within the field and an opportunity to bring resources to campus for the benefit of your colleagues and students.

Search for Funding Opportunities

The Director of Sponsored Programs provides assistance to faculty and staff who are seeking external funds to support their research or programmatic ideas:

  • Searching for funding opportunities that fit your ideas;
  • Preparing grant and contract applications;
  • Providing institutional documentation;
  • Reviewing and/or editing proposal drafts; and
  • If successful, negotiating the contract or subcontract.


Share the News

It is extremely important that faculty members keep other members of the Trinity community informed of their application activity because:

  • Trinity as a whole is affected by external awards received because additional staff time is required to administer funds and provide appropriate accounting services.
  • Faculty grants affect salary and benefits calculations and the annual budgeting process.
  • Trinity incurs liabilities and oversight for compliance related to external funds.
  • Funded absences affect colleagues and Trinity’s ability to offer its curriculum.
  • The Faculty and Contract Staff Handbook has clear policies regarding the solicitation and administration of external funds.
  • Some funding sources limit the number of applications from a single institution, so conflicts may arise if others are unaware of your intent to seek a grant.
  • Trinity tracks faculty applications as an indicator of faculty research and creative activity productivity.

There are people with whom faculty should discuss all external applications before a proposal is submitted and from whom signatures will be required:

Your Department Chair

Your chair can evaluate the project and provide formative feedback. Set up a meeting early in the application process, especially if a sabbatical or course replacement may be involved.

The Director of Sponsored Programs

Dr. Peggy Sundermeyer provides expert consulting support during the application process and determines if you need to involve:

  • Business Office
  • AVPAA for Budget and Research
  • Vice President for Academic Affairs
  • University President
  • Director of Foundation Relations


The Funding Landscape

There are a wide variety of funding sources available, from government agencies to private foundations. Some funders restrict awards to specific academic disciplines or geographic others, while others have more broadly defined criteria for grants. Many funders enforce limits on the number of proposals an institution may submit in a given year. Nearly all are highly competitive.

Because of the complex and highly competitive nature of applying for external funding, Trinity has developed online resources to help faculty navigate the funding landscape. The Office of Sponsored Projects offers consultations and workshops throughout each year to help faculty identify potential funders and develop competitive proposals.

Grant seekers are encouraged to check the Opportunities Calendar to learn about upcoming deadlines and workshops.

Fellowship & Grant Opportunities Calendar


Institutional Information 

If your proposal requires you to provide contextual information about Trinity University, our students, and other pieces of institutional data, you can consult:

  • The Trinity University Factbooks, which provide multiple years of statistical, graphical, and tabular information about student enrollment, admissions, academic majors and minors, financial aid, faculty demographics, and other topics.
  • The Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness also collects additional data that may be useful to grantseekers, including survey data and common data sets.

Search the Data Den


Forms and Compliance

Proposal Authorization Form

Per the guidelines established in the Faculty Handbook, employees must obtain institutional approval prior to submitting any proposals or applications for external funding by completing an approval form (found below).

Proposal Authorization Form

Budget Template

If the external funding source does not provide a required budget template, you may use a generic budget spreadsheet to plan your funding requirements.

Budget Planning Template

Conflict of Interest

On an annual basis, faculty members who have active grants must complete an Annual Disclosure Form to address possible conflicts of interest. Faculty who answer “yes” to any of the questions related to business interests (Questions 4 - 9) will be asked to complete Part B of the disclosure as well.

Annual Disclosure Form

Research with Human Subjects

All research projects involving human subjects must be approved by the Institutional Review Board. Questions can be referred to interim IRB Chair, Dr. Bill Ellison (Psychology).

Research with Animal Subjects

All research projects involving animals must be approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). Questions can be referred to the committee chair, Dr. Troy Murphy (Biology).

Research in an Undergraduate Institution Eligibility

If your proposal requires certification that Trinity qualifies as a “Research in an Undergraduate Institution” (RUI) site, you can download the necessary letter.

Certification of RUI Eligibility