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This advice comes from Sara Starr, Director of Funding & Research Development at The Ohio State University Office of Research.

What to think about/do before contacting the office:

  • Have a specific funding opportunity that you plan to write a proposal for.
  • Read the guidelines thoroughly and prepare a list of questions you have concerning those guidelines.
  • Talk to the sponsor to get a sense if they consider this to be a fundable project.
  • Prepare a brief, 3-page or less, description/outline of the project so you can be prepared to talk about how the project fits with the guidelines.

What to bring with you to the office:

  • A copy of the guidelines. When you set up your appointment, if possible, send a copy of the guidelines ahead of time to help the research office prepare for the meeting.
  • A list of the guideline questions you prepared for clarification.
  • A draft budget that shows how much money you are anticipating needing for this project.

Tips on what type of help you can expect:

  • The research office should be able to help clarify any questions you have concerning the guidelines. They may also call the sponsor for you or help you formulate questions to ask the sponsor yourself.
  • Research offices frequently have templates for budgets and will prepare (or help you prepare) the budget for your proposal.
  • They may help you keep track of your proposal progress so that you won't miss the sponsor deadline.

Things you might not know about the research office:

  • They are there to help in the administration of research so they are the experts in this area.
  • They are there to help and protect you by ensuring that you are following all of the policies necessary to receive the funds you need to do your research.
  • The more time you give them from the time you contact them until the deadline the more they are going to be able to do to assist you.

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About the author: Sarah holds a B.S. in Library Science from Virginia Wesleyan University, and currently acts as Director of Funding & Research Development at The Ohio State University Office of Research.