The Sponsored Research Office (SRO) provides services and resources to faculty and staff seeking external funding to support research, scholarship, creative endeavors, and program development.


We are ready to assist in connecting you with internal and external sources of funding and provide guidance about proposal development.


Walsh-Ellett Hall–312


Bishop's Common 104-A 

If you are planning to submit any proposal for external funding, please complete the Institutional Approval Form in order to initiate the process of securing the institutional approvals required prior to proposal submission. 

Internal Funding Opportunities

Faculty Research Grants

The University Research Grants Committee coordinates the Faculty Research Grants program and offers two competitions annually.

Alderson-Tillinghast Faculty Development Grant

Coordinated by the Provost’s Office, the Alderson-Tillinghast Faculty Development Grants support chair holders and has an annual competition.

McCrickard College Faculty Development Grant

Coordinated by the Provost's Office, the McCrickard College Faculty Development Grants support projects with characteristics such as extended project scope and timeline.

Center for Teaching Grants

The Center for Teaching offers four grant programs: Mini-Grants, Innovative Teaching Grants, Department and Program Enhancement Grants, and Back to School Grants. Find the guidelines for all four programs below.

Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship

The Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship provides support for students working with faculty mentors.

External Opportunities

Locating and evaluating funding opportunities that represent a good fit for what you want to do can be accomplished through several mechanisms.

If you would like to have a funding opportunity search conducted for you, complete this form. Please complete separate forms for multiple searches.

If you want to conduct searches on your own, check out the SPINPlus database, a comprehensive resource for funding opportunities from federal and state agencies and foundations for faculty, staff, and students:

  • On campus access: The database is accessible here as well as through duPont Library's A-Z database listing (InfoEd SPIN) or by subject (Grants)
  • Off campus access: Complete this profile request form, which will enable you to log in and conduct (and save) searches from anywhere outside Sewanee’s IP address range. Establishing a profile also allows you to create funding alerts that you can choose to receive on a daily or weekly basis.
  • Find helpful training videos here, or contact Pollyanne for assistance.

Sewanee is a member of several consortia and other organizations which offer a variety of funding mechanisms for faculty, staff, and students. Visit these sites to learn more about available funding opportunities: 

Proposal Development and Submission

Developing competitive proposals is an iterative process, particularly when writing a persuasive proposal narrative and creating a budget sufficient to carry out the work you want to do. Fortunately, resources abound to help you navigate through the process.

Proposal writing resources

Proposal writing has a style of its own distinctly different from other writing styles. Fortunately, freely available numerous resources exist that describe techniques for writing persuasive proposals. Additionally, sponsors’ program guidelines also provide specific instructions for applicants.  Check out these selected resources designed to help you craft a compelling proposal narrative. 

  • New Faculty Guide to Competing for Research Funding–Authors Mike Cronan and Lucy Deckard provide a comprehensive overview of the proposal development process, including several chapters specifically focused on writing.
  • Writing Proposals for ACLS Fellowship Competitions–Author Christina M. Gillis offers guidance for developing proposals for the various American Council of Learned Societies’ (ACLS) programs. It serves as a useful resource to assist applicants preparing proposals for submission to the ACLS.
  • On the Art of Writing Proposals–Authors Adam Pzreworski and Frank Salomon propose multiple strategies for organizing research proposals for submission to the Social Science Research Council.
  • GrantSpace by Candid offers a free collection of sample documents like letters of inquiry, proposal budgets, and proposal narratives. It often can be helpful (and enlightening!) to see how others have developed various proposal components.

The United States Government passed the Plain Writing Act of 2010, which requires federal agencies to be more clear in written communications.  Proposals should be clear too! You can download the guidelines here, or read specific sections here. See also helpful examples of ambiguous wording made more explicit and wordiness made spare. These examples can help you make every word count in your proposal, which is particularly important given frequent sponsor-imposed page limits.

Budget Resources

Your proposal budget reflects in numbers what you’ve described using words in your proposal. These two proposal components must be closely aligned. Common budget categories include the following:


If your proposal will involve additional space allocation or alterations to existing spaces, it’s important to communicate these proposed needs to Facilities Management in order accurately determine the associated costs as well as to seek institutional approval. 

If your project involves land use on the Domain for education, research, or management, a plan must first be submitted to the Office of Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability for review and approval. You can either complete the Domain research proposal form for proposed activities on the Domain or submit your proposal via email to for review and approval.  For more information about what projects are required to be submitted for approval via the form, please visit the OESS website or email your questions to

Cost sharing and matching funds

Unless specifically required by the sponsor, voluntarily offering cost sharing either as in-kind or matching funds is discouraged. If the sponsor’s program guidelines state in writing that cost sharing is required, contact Pollyanne or Hilary for assistance.

Indirect Costs

The University’s indirect cost rate is 49% of Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC) for on-campus grants and 28% for off-campus grants. Indirect costs are determined by applying our negotiated F&A Rate to a proposal's direct cost base, which includes all salaries and wages, fringe benefits, materials, supplies, services, travel and each subaward up to the first $25,000. Our MTDC base excludes items such as equipment (>$5000), capital expenditures, charges for patient care, student tuition remission, rental costs of off-site facilities, scholarships, and fellowships as well as the portion of each subaward in excess of $25,000. Recovered indirect costs are distributed according to the Grants Overhead Policy.


The University’s Responsible and Ethical Conduct of Research Training (RECR) plan is intended to comply with the federal regulations concerning the appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research. The plan includes RECR training resources and the RECR training certification form.

The University’s Financial Conflict of Interest policy is intended to comply with the federal regulations concerning objectivity in research and applies to all Investigators employed by the University of the South who intend to pursue research funding from the U.S. Public Health Service, which encompasses the National Institutes of Health, or the National Science Foundation. 

Proposal Potpourri

If you haven’t yet found what you’re looking for, this section may have what you need. 

Data Management Plans: Many sponsors require applicants to include a data management plan describing how data will be handled during and after a research project ends.  The DMPTool is a comprehensive resource provided by the California Curation Center of the California Digital Library. It offers over 36,000 examples of data management plans and includes sponsor-specific templates designed to facilitate the development of robust plans. 

SciENcv–The Science Experts Network Curriculum Vitae (SciENcv) is a relatively new electronic system designed to help you create and maintain your professional profile (biosketch) in a format acceptable to many sponsors, including the National Institutes of Health, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Science Foundation. It’s free to use and you maintain control over what data is included in your biosketch. 

ORCID–ORCID is an international resource providing digital identifiers (ORCID iDs) that uniquely identify researchers without revealing personally identifiable information. The service is free, and the ORCID iD is designed to be valid throughout your career. Read more about ORCID iD here, including instructions for creating your personal ORCID iD.

What to Say-and Not Say-to Program Officers–Michael J. Spires describes effective communication strategies for applicants to use when communicating with grant program officers.