Proposal Services

Assisting with Proposal Development

Finding Funding


Pivot is a powerful tool that combines funding and collaboration opportunities for faculty, research staff and students across all disciplines. Pivot is pre-populated with UNTHSC faculty profiles and is free for any person affiliated with UNTHSC to register and create their profile as well. All profiles are automatically matched to current funding opportunities, both from federal sources and from various foundations.

Pivot also allows users to create customized funding searches, to receive weekly email updates based upon those searches, and to track specific opportunities. An additional benefit of PIVOT is an option to find potential collaborators from inside or outside UNTHSC by searching their profiles.

Here are instructions on creating an account and using Pivot:  Guide to using Pivot funding database.

Questions: Contact Aseret Garcia at is a federally funded central storehouse for information on more than 1,000 grant programs and approximately $400 billion in annual awards.

Grant Forward

GrantForward is a database of funding opportunities that allows you to adapt your recommendations to your specific research interests.

Federal Agencies:

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is part of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting medical research. The NIH funds investigator – initiated basic, clinical and translational research, program project grants, center grants, research training grants and other research related programs. The NIH is made up of twenty institutes and seven centers. Each institute and/or center has different research priorities and different application success rates. It is important to familiarize yourself with an institute before applying for funding.

The NIH Office of Extramural Research (OER) is a central repository for guidance on grant, contract, and funding opportunities supported the NIH.

The NIH Guide to Grants and Contracts provides weekly announcements on RFA’s (Requests for Applications), PA’s (Program Announcements) and recent notices (NO).

RFAs and PAs are the two major means by which various institutes request proposals. RFAs tend to address a narrowly defined area for which specific funds have been set aside while PAs have multiple submission dates throughout the year, and specific funds may not be reserved.

The NIH Training and Career Development (F-T and K –series Awards) fund students, fellows, and junior and senior faculty to develop their research skills.

The NIH T Series Grants: Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Institutional Research Training Series provides long term (T32) and short term (T35) predoctoral and postdoctoral research training opportunities in biomedical, behavioral and clinical research.

The NIH F Series Grants: Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Individual Research Training Series provides funds for postdoctoral training (F32) and senior fellowships (F33) as well as pre-doctoral minority students (F30) and students with disabilities (F31).

The NIH K Series Grants: At least eight different K series awards are available to support faculty members at various points in their career to become independent researchers. A Career Award Wizard will assist in deciding to which K award to apply.

The NIH Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR): The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program is a set-aside program (2.5% of an agency’s extramural budget) for domestic small businesses interested in engaging in Research/Research and Development (R/R&D) that can be commercialized.

Heath Resources Services Administration (HRSA): The Health Resources and Services Administration is an agency of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). HRSA’s six bureaus and twelve offices form this federal agency with primary responsibilities for improving access to health care services for uninsured, isolated or medically vulnerable people. Current areas of funding focus include people living with HIV/AIDS, pregnant women, mothers and children, training for health professionals, rural healthcare, organ donation and telemedicine.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
 (CDC): The Center for Disease Control is an agency of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The CDC is composed of seven national centers and has a primary responsibility of promoting health and quality of life by preventing and controlling disease, injury, and disability. Current areas of funding focus include environmental health, injury prevention, global health, health promotion, infectious diseases, public health information, health marketing, health statistics, bioterrorism preparedness and emergency response, workplace health and safety.

National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that was founded to promote progress in all fields of fundamental science and engineering, except for the medical sciences. The NSF competitively awards grants and cooperative agreements for research and education in the sciences, mathematics, and engineering.

Department of Homeland Security
 (DHS) The primary responsibilities of DHS include leveraging the nation’s scientific and technological resources to provide federal, state, and local officials with the technology and capabilities to protect the homeland. The DHS funds projects designed to counter threats to the homeland.

The Department of Defense (DOD) through the office of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) funds peer-reviewed research aimed at preventing, controlling, and curing diseases such as breast, prostate, and ovarian cancers, neurofibromatosis, military health, and other specified areas.

Department of Defense’s Defense University Research Instrumentation Program (DURIP) The purpose of the DURIP is to improve the capabilities of higher education institutions in the United States to conduct research and to educate scientists and engineers in areas important to national defense. DURIP achieves this goal by providing funds to universities for the acquisition of research instruments and equipment. Further information can be found here.

Foundations and Professional Associations

Private Foundations: Many private foundations provide funding opportunities for basic, clinical and public health research and related programs. The Foundation Center provides a wealth of information on foundations and fundraising and finding fundersThe Office of Research oversees submissions to foundations submitted in response to a specific announcement. The UNTHSC Office of Institutional Advancement oversees foundation funding pertaining to unsolicited proposals and should be contacted before an unsolicited foundation-funding proposal is submitted.

A partial list of foundations providing funding includes the following:
American Cancer Society
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Cancer Treatment Research Foundation
Komen Breast Cancer Foundation
American Psychiatric Foundation
Josiah Macy Foundation
March of Dimes
Lymphoma Research Foundation
Paralyzed Veterans of America Research Foundation
American Health Information Management Association
American Federation for Medical Research
Burroughs Wellcome Fund
Samueli Institute

Professional Associations: Many professional associations provide information on grants and funding opportunities on their web sites.

A partial list of professional associations with UNTHSC faculty as members providing funding include the following:
Alzheimer’s Association
American Diabetes Association
American Heart Association
American Osteopathic Association
American Psychiatric Association
American College of Surgeons Resident
American Lung Association
American Academy of Family Physicians

Proposal FAQs

Proposal Considerations

  1. What are RFPs, RFAs, RFQs and FOAs?

These acronyms are all ways in which an agency may announce a funding opportunity:

    • Request for Proposal (RFP)
    • Request for Application (RFA)
    • Request for Quote (RFQ)
    • Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA)
  1. Who needs to see the RFP when and why?
    • Departmental Research Administrator
    • Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP)

OSP must review the RFP before your proposal can be approved for submission to ensure that your proposal meets both sponsor and university guidelines.

Because many agencies put restrictions in RFPs that become contractual obligations if the funding is awarded, those restrictions must be reviewed for acceptability prior to proposal submission. In order to minimize risk to the university, OSP is tasked with reviewing the RFP and the proposal prior to submission to the agency. OSP also reviews contractual language if the funding is awarded in order to ensure that the terms and conditions are satisfactory and promote the overall mission of the university.

  1. How can I help avoid delays in proposal processing time?
    • Work with your OSP Pre-Award Support Specialist early in the process (30-day minimum). They can assist you with properly understanding the RFP and will create a Proposal Submission Timeline with document due dates. This may include blocking off long periods of time to sit with you to properly guide you to the different requirements, gather information for you, format the proposal so that it aligns with sponsor guidelines, and generally help you in any way with the compliance of the whole proposal package.
    • Read the solicitation closely and address any special requirement.
    • Become familiar with agency-specific rules, e.g. National Institutes of Health (NIH) salary cap and National Science Foundation (NSF) 2-month effort limitation.
    • If the proposal includes subcontracts, ensure your OSP Pre-Award Support Specialist receives subaward documents at least 10 business days before the sponsor due date.
  1. Does OSP need to see my pre-proposal or letter of intent?

Yes, if there is a budget (including projected or estimated) and/or the Administrative Official Representative signature is needed.  You must first submit a pre-proposal, or a letter of intent to OSP for review and approval, because your submission has the potential to commit the university to the work that you will be doing if you are subsequently asked to submit a full proposal.

Budget Development FAQs

  1. How do I develop a budget?

One way to begin developing your budget would be to outline what you think you will need in the way of employee time and physical resources to accomplish the project goals. This outline can form the basis for your budget narrative and also be the starting point for quantifying the project’s resource needs.

  1. Are there sample budget forms to help me get started?

While there are often agency-specific forms that you must complete, OSP has developed a budget template with many built-in calculations (e.g., standard fringe benefit rates) to help you with the process located at following link,

  1. What is a Direct Cost?

Direct costs are those costs that can be identified specifically with a particular sponsored project, an instructional activity, or any other institutional activity, or that can be directly assigned to such activities relatively easily with a high degree of accuracy.

Costs incurred for the same purpose in like circumstances must be treated consistently as either direct or F&A costs. Where an institution treats a particular type of cost as a direct cost of sponsored agreements, all costs incurred for the same purpose in like circumstances shall be treated as direct costs of all activities of the institution.

  1. What is F&A?

F&A stands for facilities and administrative cost and is also known as “overhead” or “indirect cost.” Expenses associated with the administration of sponsored projects, but which are not easily attributable to any specific project, fall into this category. Some examples are utilities associated with lab space, costs to administer human resources and payroll for project personnel, departmental support staff and office supplies.

In order to recoup a portion of these costs, the university periodically negotiates with the federal government to determine F&A rates to be used on sponsored projects. These rates are based on expenditures and space allocable to research, instruction and public service/outreach for sponsored projects.

  1. How can I determine the appropriate F&A rate to use for my proposal budget?


Date of Agreement with DHHS: 01/30/2020

Federally negotiated rates are as follows:

    • 48% of Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC) – Organized Research
    • 40% of Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC) – Instruction
    • 34% of Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC) – Other Sponsored Activities
    • 26% of Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC) – Off-Campus All Programs

Note: The university may not charge the federal award (direct or pass-through) more than the federally negotiated rates using “modified-total-direct-costs” (MTDC). If another basis (e.g., total direct costs) is used, then a comparison should be done. 

  1. How can I determine which method I should use to calculate F&A?

The default method for calculating F&A is known as modified-total-direct-cost (MTDC) and is calculated by multiplying all direct costs, excluding the following items, by the specified F&A rate:

    • Tuition/fees and student insurance
    • Single equipment purchases over $5,000 (note that component parts that will be used to build a single piece of equipment over $5,000 also fall into this category)
    • Those portions of subcontracts greater than $25,000 (the first $25,000 of each subcontract is subject to F&A)

Proposal Completion

  1. How soon before the submission deadline does OSP need to see my proposal?

The Office of Sponsored Programs encourages PIs to begin submission of draft proposal materials as soon as possible prior to the submission deadline. OSP requires the administrative components of an application, at minimum, no later than five (5) business days prior to the sponsor deadline date and the remaining components (science) of an application will be due no later than one (1) business day prior to the sponsor deadline date. See Proposal Submission Deadline policy located at the following link,

  1. Why does OSP need to see my full proposal? Don’t they just review the budget?

OSP reviews your proposal budget and can help you to resolve budget issues, but there are multiple facets to proposal review.

During the review process, OSP will also check for items such as compliance with the sponsor’s proposal guidelines; issues with animal care and use or human subjects protocols and export controls; unauthorized or unnecessary cost share being offered; anticipated program income; letter of support requirements from subcontractors or for third-party match; and any restrictions in the RFP to which the university may not be able to agree if the proposal is awarded.