We are an intermediary between Principal Investigators (PIs) in the College of Liberal Arts, the Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP), and the University Development Office (UDO). We help PIs navigate UT Austin's internal grant and fundraising regulations by identifying what application procedures apply to different projects and helping PIs meet those requirements. We are also a resource for general information on seeking external funding and can help Liberal Arts faculty, graduate students, departments, centers, and institutes search for funding opportunities and create compelling grant applications.
The PI is ultimately responsible for all proposal content, including the budget and budget justification, for adhering to Grants Office and OSP submission timelines, and should be available to discuss modifications throughout the submission process. The Office of Research Grants Staff will meet with PIs to discuss the project budget, and will provide feedback on appropriate budget formats and UT Austin and sponsor regulations.
There is no one-stop-shop for grant opportunities; the best strategy is to consult multiple resources on an ongoing basis. To start, we suggest subscribing to the Office of Research's weekly grants digest, and consulting our webpages targeted to faculty and graduate students.
Occasionally, sponsors limit the number of submissions they will accept from a single institution. Applications for these programs are announced in the College of Liberal Arts by the Office of Research, and will be vetted by both the Dean of Liberal Arts and the UT Austin VP of Research before they are submitted to the sponsor. For list of current limited submissions, visit http://www.utexas.edu/research/about/limited.
When a PI is awarded a grant for research or some other activity on the UT Austin campus, a binding agreement is created not between the PI and the sponsor, but between UT Austin and the sponsor. The Office of Sponsored Projects reviews grant applications in order to legally protect the University. They pay close attention to grant budgets, in particular, to ensure that enough funding is requested to complete the proposed scope of work, and to ensure that all UT Austin and sponsor budget regulations are followed.
The vast majority of grants received by UT faculty and academic units will go through OSP. Please ask yourself the following questions about your project:
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, it is likely your project will need to be approved by OSP.
Grants that are paid directly to the PI, such as fellowships and prizes, and unrestricted gifts do not need to go through OSP. Gifts may need to be processed by the University Development Office (UDO), please see FAQ on UDO below for more info.
Proposals submitted outside the Office of Research timeline are subject to limited review. If such a proposal is awarded, the Office of Sponsored Projects reserves the right to revise the budget before the funds are accepted and may refuse those funds if the budget does not conform to UT Austin regulations.
We work in collaboration with you to prepare these materials to assure that budget categories and rules are applied correctly. A one-on-one meeting with one of our staff members is the most efficient way to accomplish this.
A budget justification typically describes, in a narrative format, the manner in which one's budget is calculated. This includes effort for the key personnel (in months or % time), their qualifications, what responsibilities they will have for the project, as well as any supplies, materials, equipment, consultant fees, and travel proposed in the grant. Typically, the more detailed the budget justification (e.g., line-by-line expense breakdowns), the stronger the proposal's budget.
Indirect cost, also called overhead, administrative cost, or F&A, is an estimate of the expenses associated with conducting research or other activities on the UT Austin campus. Indirect costs pay for buildings and maintenance, administrative support staff, electricity, water and other utilities, libraries, IT support and a slew of other services from which all members of the UT Austin community benefit.
OSP periodically negotiates an indirect cost rate with the federal government that will be used for most grant applications. Currently, this rate is 54%. This will increase to 54.5% for projects with start dates on or after September 1, 2013. Depending on your grant sponsor's indirect cost policy and the nature of your work, some proposals may be eligible for a different rate. The most common alternate categories are training or conference grants, and off-campus research. IDC waivers or reductions are extremely rare, and will generally only be awarded if the sponsor provides written documentation of an IDC cap or exclusion. For more information, please contact Kathy Thatcher.
When a portion of your project's budget will be paid by someone other than the sponsor to which you are applying, this is called cost-sharing. Cost-sharing can involve in-kind or cash contributions, and may include your contributed effort. Written approval is required for all cost-sharing at the time you plan to submit your proposal to the Office of Sponsored Projects.
"Fringe" refers to the benefits (health and life insurance, retirement, etc.) paid to all UT Austin employees, including faculty, staff and student workers. Although fringe rates may vary slightly from person to person, we typically estimate fringe at 30% for faculty, staff, and graduate TAs and GRAs, and 10% for part-time workers and undergraduates.
Yes. It is UT Austin policy that if you have graduate research assistants in your grant's budget, then you must provide for their tuition. UT Austin's tuition rates are updated annually. Current rates can be found here.
What is a foundation, and how do I get funding from one?
A foundation is a non-governmental, non-profit organization established for the principal purpose of making grants. Foundations can range in size from large organizations with highly structured giving programs like the Ford Foundation to small family foundations that serve as vehicles for individually-motivated giving. Your approach to any foundation will vary greatly based on their size, interests, and application procedures. Please contact ma to discuss any foundation solicitations you are considering.
What is the University Development Office (UDO)?
The UDO is the fundraising arm of the university, and is made up of individuals specializing in major gifts from individuals, annual giving campaigns, planned giving (estate planning), as well as corporate and foundation relations. The UDO carefully coordinates fundraising efforts across the university to ensure donors are not overwhelmed by too many funding requests at the same time. If you are interested in approaching a foundation or a corporation for funding, please contact Melanie Morgan to secure permission from UDO. If you are interested in approaching an individual, please contact the Liberal Arts Development Office.
What kinds of solicitations do not need to be reviewed by the University Development Office (UDO)?
All contact with foundations, corporations, and individuals should first be cleared with the UDO unless you are responding to an open Request for Proposals (RFP).
Can I apply to a sponsor that only gives to non-profit or 501(c)(3) organizations?
Yes. UT is a tax-exempt organization, but does not hold 501(c)(3) IRS non-profit status. The Office of Research can provide documentation of UT's tax exempt status should you need it; most funders will accept this in lieu of 501(c)(3) documentation. In rare cases when funders can only make grants to 501(c)(3) organizations for legal reasons, we can arrange for your funds to be routed through the UT Foundation, an arm of the university that does hold this status.
Do graduate student grant proposals need to be approved by the Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP)?
Most graduate student grants are awarded directly to the student and will not need to be routed through OSP. Grants that do need to be approved by OSP include: federal grants like NSF dissertation grants (DDRIGs), anything that requires "institutional signature" on any proposal documents, or anything that indicates the university will be administering grant funds. If you have any questions, please contact Melanie Morgan.
As a graduate student, do I need to include indirect cost (IDC) on my proposal budget?
If your proposal is routed through OSP, you will need to include indirect costs unless your sponsor explicitly forbids it. Please check with grants office staff if you have any questions.
What kinds of funding are available for international students?
While many funding agencies restrict their giving to U.S. citizens and permanent residents, a number also fund international students. Generally, the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grants (DDRIGs) accept international applicants, unless the NSF directorate to which you are applying specifies otherwise. The Harvard University Graduate Guide to Grants, which lists a number of travel, writing, and research grants, allows you to search by citizenship requirements.