If you find yourself struggling to know where to begin exploring your research options, or simply in need of a little RSCA inspiration, take a look at these ‘top tips’ from the Research Development team. 

Find External Funding

Funding a specific research, scholarship, and creative activity (RSCA) project or line of work, and indeed securing continuous RSCA funding throughout your career requires strategic planning, consistent monitoring for opportunities, and careful targeting of the right funding opportunities. With this in mind, Research Development manages all aspects of finding funding.

The following grant databases can assist you on your quest for external state/federal funding. 

Register for an ORCID iD

We encourage all faculty researchers to register with ORCID, which provides a persistent digital identifier (ORCID iD) that distinguishes you from every other researcher. You can connect your iD with your professional information — affiliations, grants, publications, and more. You can use your iD to share your information with other systems, ensuring you get recognition for all your contributions, saving you time and hassle, and reducing the risk of errors. Register for an ORCID ID here, and if you have any troubles come to one of our Managing Online Scholarly Identity and Using Pivot workshops where we will help you with any issues you have signing up, discuss managing your scholarly identity online, as well as show you how to find funding for your RSCA activities.

Create your RSCA Agenda 

Work with your RD specialist to formulate a strategic plan for proposal submissions on a 5-10 year timescale. This will save you time and energy in the long run, whilst allowing you the opportunity to take advantage of any additional opportunities that may come along, safe in the knowledge that you have a solid, efficient plan, to fund your RSCA.

Use the Questions for Success

How do you know if a given request for proposals (RFP) is a good fit with your RSCA? Ask yourself these four questions:

  • Does the RSCA you want to/can do truly fit the RFP?
  • Are you prepared with adequate preliminary works to be credible and competitive?
  • Do you have enough time to prepare a polished proposal?
  • Does it fit into your long-term RSCA strategic objectives?

If you answered no to one or more of these questions you may want to find another RFP or wait for the next round. If unsure, contact Research Development!

Attend a Webinar

Most funding agencies conduct numerous webinars, either specifically for a funding opportunity or more generally for a program, division or department. Make sure to look for webinars relevant to your funding opportunity or agency of choice - they provide a wealth of useful information, as well as opportunities for Q&A.

Notify the Research Foundation

Research Development is here to help you strategically plan for, and then complete your proposal before it goes to the Research Foundation (RF) for submission! In addition to working with RD much in advance of a submission, as soon as you know you will be submitting a given proposal, you must also alert RF’s Office of Sponsored Programs, so an assigned Proposal Development Specialist can plan time to ensure that your submission and routing happens on time and the experience is smooth. Within 3-4 weeks of the due date, RF will begin actively working on your proposal. Your designated Proposal Development Specialist will offer guidance on how to prepare the budget, review the proposal submission timeline, provide needed compliance information, and will alert you to critical milestones involved in the required internal routing and approval process.

Be a Grant Reviewer

One of the best ways to learn about how agencies and programs review grants and what a fundable grant looks like is to volunteer to become a proposal reviewer. It is also a great way to get to know a program officer, and to learn deeply about a particular funding program to which you might apply in the future. Many funding agencies rely on faculty and scholars to review and advise them on proposals that should be funded. Most provide information online about how to become a reviewer. Visit the Research Development web page for details on how to become a reviewer for your favorite funding agency. The National Institutes of Health in particular, has a program designed for early career reviewers.

Identify Supplemental Funding 

Do you already have funding through a federal agency? If so, you may be able to increase your original award amount through a non-competitive request for “supplemental funding” to address unforeseen increased costs, or conduct extra but related “priority” research areas as designated by your funder—particularly NIH and NSF. See the details on RD’s Supplemental Funding web page.

Secure RAPID Funding

The Office of Research is happy to provide a new internal “SJSU RAPID” award for RSCA projects that are time sensitive. Please be aware that NSF also has a Rapid Response Research (RAPID) proposal mechanism that is used when there is a severe urgency with regard to availability of or access to, data, facilities or specialized equipment, including quick-response research on natural or anthropogenic events and similar unanticipated occurrences. To apply for up to $200k for one year see the NSF Proposal & Award Policies and Procedures Guide ( PAPPG) [pdf], page II-36.