Applying for a Grant

I’m interested in applying for a grant. What do I do?

NOTE: ISERP works exclusively with researchers in the social sciences departments within Arts and Sciences and SIPA at Columbia University. Researchers from other units will need to contact their home department for guidance.


  1.   The first step is to contact to set up a meeting. If you’re responding to a request for proposals, send the link or attach a copy to the email.

    Further steps to familiarize yourself with:

  2. If you’re looking for funding, but none of the upcoming deadlines are a good fit, contact us anyway and we’ll talk about your options.
  3. Review the RFP and create a list of budgetary needs. Each funder and funding opportunity is unique, so be aware of the budget requirements and restrictions.
  4. Does your project involve research abroad? If so, ask ISERP for an International Research Questionnaire to complete. If it’s a federal proposal, remember your air travel must comply with the Fly America Act and budget accordingly.
  5. Is this human subjects research? In most cases, the sponsor doesn't require IRB approval at the submission stage, but there are exceptions, so read the guidelines carefully. Human subjects research must be approved at award stage, otherwise the funds will be restricted, so make sure to complete the protocol in a timely manner. No human subjects research can be conducted without IRB approval, whether or not the project is grant-funded. Also note that IRB requires trainings, which will need to be completed prior to submitting your protocol.
  6. Occasionally a sponsor will limit the number of proposals an organization may submit in response to an RFP. In these cases ISERP will let you know what is required for the internal competition.
  7. Once we receive your proposal, ISERP will work with you to create a budget and justification and upload your materials for SPA review.
  8. Keep in mind that ISERP and SPA need time to work on your proposal and budget. We set an internal deadline before the funder’s deadline to give us ample time to edit and obtain the necessary approvals.
  9. SPA, the department chair(s), and the PI(s) must approve the proposal in RASCAL. Your conflict of interest disclosure must be up to date prior to submission (this is must be done annually, or sooner if the information included changes).
  10. In cases where the proposal is to be submitted via email, the PI should copy and SPA (ask us for the contact email).
  11. In cases where the proposal is to be submitted via government portal, SPA will submit once all required approvals have been obtained. No one outside of SPA is authorized to sign a proposal on behalf of the university.
  12. NEW STEP: Each PI will be required to confirm the primary place of performance when submitting a proposal for government funding. You will receive an email with the subject line F&A Rate Verification Request from our SPA officer and you must respond with the address of the primary place of performance where the research will be done. Failure to respond puts the submission of your proposal at risk. 


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