Division of Academic Affairs
FAQs Answered in Plain English for Faculty Grant Applicants
Please contact Dr. Gil Harootunian, Executive Director, University Initiatives, for clarification or additional questions related to pursuing grants. Dr. Harootunian is the POC for grants initiatives in the Provost’s Office to streamline communication and ensure timely attention to your requests.
Phone number: 559.278.4850
Major grants are eligible for enhanced support through the Office of University Initiatives. A “major grant” generally is one for $1 million or more. The first things you should do are contact the Dean of your College to request college-level support and next contact the Provost to request institutional-level support.
Sponsors can require or prohibit cost share or permit voluntary cost share.
- Required. If cost share is required, a project will be ineligible without it.
- Voluntary. All cost share, whether required or voluntary, is subject to audit, so balance the need for cost share against the auditing burden post-award.
- Prohibited. Some sponsors, particularly the National Science Foundation, prohibit cost share. One key reason is to level the playing field (wealthier institutions can easily out-compete others by offering significant cost share).
- What happens when time and resources are being committed to a project whose sponsor prohibits voluntary cost share? The National Science Foundation prohibits voluntary cost share, but you can detail all time and resources committed in the “Facilities, Equipment, and Resources” supplemental document as long as you do not assign dollar value to the time and resources.
- What are eligible costs for cost share? Sponsors will stipulate eligible costs to count toward cost share, such as waived indirect costs.
- What is it? “External” evaluation is just that: external. Evaluators should not be associated with the university in any manner so they provide the highest level of objectivity and credibility when evaluating a university project.
- What does it do? External evaluation measures project effectiveness. Is the project meeting goals and objectives, on time, and, in general, being implemented as represented in proposal?
- How is it different from the work of an internal researcher? Sometimes funding agencies also require an internal researcher. The internal researcher measures learning associated with the program’s components, such as which are most effective with first generation students, which develop efficacy among at-risk students, which encourage a growth mindset among all stakeholders, and so on.
- What does it cost? A good range would 5%-8% of total project costs. The exact percentage depends on the demands of the project, for example a single institution vs. multi-institutional project. A streamlined method to handle budgeting of costs is to offer the 5%- 8% as an “all- inclusive flat fee” to the external evaluator, who can then break out the costs (e.g., time, travel) within that lump sum.
- Should I use an expert individual or an established evaluation center? An expert individual will often provide a good amount of individual attention to the project at a more cost effective rate. Individual experts may contract with the Fresno State Financial Foundation as independent consultants, streamlining post-award administration. An established evaluation center often has higher costs that include the overhead of the center in addition to evaluation activities.
California State University, Fresno!