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External Funding

Notre Dame of Maryland University encourages faculty members to seek grants for projects that help advance the University's mission, strategic plan, and research and scholarship.

Guide to External Funding

The Office of Corporate, Foundation, and Government Relations (CFGR) is committed to helping faculty members meet their academic, capital and research goals by maximizing grant funding from external sources. The following assistance is available: 

  • Identifying potential funders;
  • Advising on strategy;
  • Assisting with project development;
  • Editing draft proposals;
  • Drafting institutional letters of support;
  • Providing required NDMU documents; and
  • Facilitating internal approval process.

Below is a step-by-step guide to NDMU’s grant process. Please click on links for details on roles and responsibilities of grant team members and the grant proposal development form. 

Step 1: Initiating Contact with the Office of CFGR

Notre Dame faculty and staff seeking funds from a corporation, foundation or government agency must contact Joan Wisner-Carlson prior to applying to an external funder. Please complete the grant proposal development form at least 30 days before the proposal deadline. The form must be approved by the dean of the sponsoring school, as well as the chair of the department in which the proposed project will be carried out. 

Step 2: Obtaining Senior Staff Approval to Apply for External Funding

The grant proposal development form will be reviewed by the Director of the Office of Corporate, Foundation, and Government Relations (CFGR Director) in consultation with the Vice Presidents of Academic Affairs and Institutional Advancement. The review ensures that the project is consistent with NDMU policies and with the availability of University resources, and that competing proposals are not submitted to the same funder. Faculty will be notified within three business days of the form’s submission of whether they have approval to move forward with a proposal. Joan is available to meet with faculty to consult on funding prospects, proposal development and related matters during business hours, as well as in the evenings, to accommodate teaching schedules.

Step 3: Developing the Project Proposal

The Principal Investigator/Project Director (PI/PD) is the lead faculty member responsible for the project and for writing a proposal. Before beginning to write, the PI/PD should read and thoroughly understand the request for proposals (RFP) and proposal guidelines. Be concise, avoid jargon, and back up assertions with facts/data/literature review. State measurable outcomes for the project, and be prepared to report on them. Be realistic with a project timeline and milestones.

The CFGR Director is available to consult throughout the grant writing process, and to edit the proposal draft to ensure the strongest possible submission. Draft proposal narratives must be received by the Office of Corporate, Foundation and Government Relations at least 10 days prior to the proposal deadline to ensure adequate time for edits and revisions. She will work with the PI/PD in consultation with the dean of the school in which the project will be carried out to produce a final draft of the proposal to vet with NDMU leaders.

The Controller/Director of Financial Services is available to consult with the PI on creating a project budget. Confirm that all costs included are allowable, accurate and add up. Clarify any project costs the institution will bear, and research the percentage allowed for indirect costs by the prospective grantor. Verify salaries and fringe benefits rates.

Step 4: Vetting the Project Proposal with NDMU Leaders

The PI/PD will complete the Grant Proposal Routing Form and provide to the CFGR Director, who will circulate the final draft of the grant proposal to the designated University leaders including the vice presidents for Academic Affairs, Finance & Administration and Institutional Advancement. In response to questions about the draft proposal, the PI will make modifications, if needed, and forward a complete copy of the final proposal at least 24 hours prior to the submission deadline. The PI bears the ultimate responsibility for meeting a funding agency's deadline.

For proposed projects with budgets that are more than $10,000, the CFGR Director will forward the routing form and final draft to the president's office for final approval. For project budgets that are $10,000 or less and do not require institutional resources (i.e. matching funds), Deans will be responsible for approval. Deans must notify the CFGR Director of the grant proposal prior to its submission and send her an electronic copy on the date of its submission. Their signature on the routing sheet and/or approval indicated in an email to the CFGR Director certifies that the University is able to carry out the proposed project and is in compliance with, and will adhere to, applicable regulations.

NDMU reserves the right to decline a grant award received for any proposal that did not go through the internal review process outlined above prior to its submission.

Step 5: Accepting the Grant Award

Upon receipt of a grant award, the PI sends a scanned copy of the award notice and all attachments to the CFGR Director. She distributes copies of the award letter to the vice presidents of Academic Affairs, Finance & Administration and Institutional Advancement with CCs to the relevant dean, the Associate Vice President of Institutional Advancement, and to the directors of Financial Services and Advancement Services.

Only the President, Vice President of Academic Affairs or Vice President of Finance and Administration can officially accept an award on behalf of the university. The CFGR Director reviews the terms and conditions of the award, discussing concerns with funders, before recommending that the grant be accepted or declined.

Step 6: Fulfilling Post-Award Responsibilities

The PI has the primary responsibility for managing a grant award on behalf of NDMU. S/he directs the research or other academic and programmatic goals of the project, fulfilling all proposed activities, and reporting to the funder. The PI also must ensure that the project is conducted according to University administrative and academic policy, the terms and conditions of the grant award and funding agency, and applicable state and federal law.

With the PI, the CFGR Director convenes and facilitates a Grant Team Orientation Meeting within 10 days of the award’s receipt that includes PI, other relevant faculty, and CFGR Director and Controller. The purpose of the meeting is to review and discuss award management including:

  • Terms and conditions of the grant;
  • Reporting requirements and deadlines;
  • Project Timeline and milestones;
  • Allowable and non-allowable expenditures;
  • Evaluation and sustainability plan;
  • Timing of hiring and purchases; and
  • Facilities/IT requirements.

The Controller establishes a grant account for the project within the Datatel accounting system and notifies the PI and CFGR director of the account number. (At that time, PI will be offered training from Business Office staff on how to access the account via Datatel WebAdvisor.) The Controller also coordinates and completes the drawdown and reimbursement of state and federal funds in a timely manner and ensures that all grant expenditures are properly recorded in Datatel in conjunction with the PI. S/he is responsible for completing the funder’s interim and final financial reports by the required deadline.

In addition, the Controller consults with the PI on updating project budgets, comparing project budgets with up-to-date expenditures and balance, in order to monthly assess and report on financial health of the project. S/he is responsible for alerting grant team members to significant variances in grant expenditures and the project budget. 

The Deans are responsible for reporting on each active grant sponsored by their school to the Vice President of Academic Affairs at the Dean’s Council Meetings in September, December, March, and June. The PI/PD provides a brief quarterly report on the status of achieving the financial and project goals to the Dean at least five days prior to each meeting.