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Grants and Fellowships for Graduate Students and Postdocs

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Application Procedures

Graduate students are encouraged to seek external funding sources whenever possible. Internal funding sources are the University's standard teaching assistantships, research assistantships, CBI Fellowships, or any of the University competitive awards such as the Grad Scholars Award, the Graduate Fellows Award, or the Graduate Dissertation Award (available through the Grad Office) External funding sources are outside of the department or University's standard sources. External funding may come from other organizations, i.e. NIH, NSF, DOD, EPA, AHA, USDA, NASA, Fight for Sight and Sigma Xi, etc. just to name a few. These agencies provide the students with stipend, supply and/or travel funds, while the University generally provides their tuition scholarship (some fellowships include tuition as well). It is crucial that any outside awards be administered through the University's Research Office so that you can maintain your status as a "UD Funded Graduate Student" in the UD system, therefore the following guidelines have been prepared to help you with this process.

The submission process at UD is a two-part process. First the proposal must be entered and submitted through the UD system (Peoplesoft) to obtain approval from the Research Office. Only then can the proposal be submitted to the outside agency, which is the second part of the process. The university requires receipt of the proposal in Peoplesoft three business days prior to the agency deadline; therefore, you must allow time for your department administrator to enter your proposal and route it to the appropriate approvers (department chair, dean's office, and Research Office) to meet this deadline. You simply cannot submit your proposal the day it is due.

For Biological Sciences the department grant administrator is Lori May, in 118E Wolf Hall (x8759). If she is unavailable, then please contact Traci Parman.

  1. Notify the department administrator in advance (one month or more) anytime you have plans to submit an application for a grant or fellowship. Not only can she advise you on interpreting the procedures, but she can help you make sure all University procedures are met. In addition, there are steps that must be done in advance to have you set up in the proposal system, so you MUST start early.
  2. Provide your administrator with agency guidelines, Public Announcement #, Solicitation #, FOA (Funding Opportunity Announcement), or link to agency's web site as soon as possible so that she can determine if any special requirements will need to be met. In a few cases, the University will not require that the application go through their office, so we need to determine that first.
    • If you are a student from one department and are working with a mentor from another department, you should contact the administrator in your mentor's department for assistance. The submission will need to involve approval from both departments.
  3. You will need to complete a PI Eligibility Form with your current CV/Resume in advance, which requires approval from the Dean's Office and the Research Office. The request form must be initiated approximately three weeks in advance in order to complete this process in time for submission. Your title, period of award, and a brief abstract or description of your research will be needed for this step. This form must be submitted for each new application every time there is a new project.
  4. A Conflict of Interest webform must be submitted and approved annually by the department chair, the Dean's Office, and the Research Office. This form (UD Web Forms) also must be completed in advance so that all of the necessary signatures can be received in time for submission. Note: On any web form you must go to the bottom of each page to click on "Next Step" and then "Submit for Approval". If you exit without going through each page, the form will not be submitted.
  5. Enter "Keywords" into your demographic data on the university web site (UD Web Forms). If the Keywords have been entered correctly, UD is able to request a query on specific keywords to obtain data for surveys and other purposes. The university has linked this step to the proposal system, preventing a proposal from being submitted without this step.
    • Directions: Go to the UD home page, click on staff, and then click on webforms. Log in and go to the "Blanks" tab, and then open the HR Employee Demographic Data form. From here the system is pretty user-friendly and will prompt you to the next step. Keep in mind that you must click on "Next Step" at the bottom of the screen for every screen (there are about 11 screens), until you get to Keywords, enter your keywords, and then continue with "Next Step" for the remaining screens. When you're through every screen, you will be prompted to select a supervisor's name from a drop-down box, you can add your advisor as an approver or just copy, you should add your administrator's email for a copy, and then you can click on "Finish & Submit". If you don't get to that final step, you have not processed the request. Without your keywords processed, we cannot submit your proposal into the UD system.
  6. Proposals requiring submission via (will state this in your agency instructions) will require the use of Cayuse, a program used as a tool to upload documents into If this is required, you will need to set up a profile in Cayuse and set up your administrator as a delegate and the research office contact as your approver. Check with your administrator for instructions for completing this task. She cannot begin to build your proposal package without this step, and this step cannot be completed unless you have been processed as an eligible Principal Investigator. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO PREPARE YOUR PACKAGE DIRECTLY IN GRANTS.GOV. These proposals will require that the University Administrator (Research Office) submit the proposal from their end, therefore you have to follow these instructions.
  7. Provide your administrator with budget details and/or a budget justification, no matter how basic, so that this information can be included in the UD Grant System. It is best to provide this information as early as possible.
  8. Provide your administrator with an Abstract and/or SOW (Statement of Work) to be included in the UD grant system, unless the full proposal required by the agency is only a page or so in length, in which case the proposal may be included in the UD record in lieu of the abstract.
  9. Certifications – please provide current certifications for any special handling that is used for your project, i.e. human subjects, animals, radioactive material, recumbent DNA, etc.
  10. Provide administrator with any misc. documents required by agency, i.e. Biosketches, specific statements, transcripts, Research Ethics Plan, etc. Always best to get these items completed and out of the way as early as possible so that they do not delay the final editing of your main research text.
  11. Provide administrator with your final research proposal and any other required documents at least five business days prior to the application deadline. Proposals will be processed on a first come, first served basis, so don't delay and risk missing your deadline. You should allow for possible vacations and sick days as well. You don't want to wait until the last day and then discover that your department administrator is out of the office or already committed to another proposal. Be sure to allow time for revisions and corrections!
  12. Your administrator will submit your proposal (via webform). It will be routed for electronic approval through your email, your advisor, the department chair, and the Dean's Office before reaching the Research Office. When it appears in your email, you must open the link, review the document and approve it before it will go on to your advisor, so watch your email! The Research Office requires that the final proposal reach their office 3 business days prior to the agency deadline, (NOT counting weekends or holidays,) therefore the process must be initiated well in advance of the 3 business-day deadline. The proposal must be submitted and go through the approval process to arrive in the Research Office 3 business days before the agency deadline!
  13. Final approval (another webform notice in your email) must be received from the Research Office before any proposals can be submitted to the originating agency. Even if the agency instructions indicate that you should submit on-line, you MUST receive approval from the Research Office prior to submission. Basically you are not allowed to commit the University to any contractual conditions without their approval. They review all documents to make sure we are in compliance and that the agency does not have any unusual clauses in their paperwork that would contradict with University guidelines. In cases where Cayuse is used, the Research Office should be designated as being responsible for submitting on your behalf. You will receive a notice where you are recommended to select this option. They will make sure the proposal is submitted, without error messages, by the deadline as long as all materials have been submitted in a timely fashion. You don't want to wait until the 11th hour to submit and then receive an error message that prevents you from submitting on time. Let the experts handle it.
  14. Transferring option: If you do not plan to be at the University of Delaware for the entire award period, you should check in advance to see if the award is transferable. Don't spend the time and energy preparing a proposal that you may not be able to complete if you know you will not be here for the duration of the award unless you know for sure that it is transferable.

Bottom Line

Special comments: All financial awards earned by students need to be processed through the University for several reasons (even if this is not a requirement of the funding agency):

  1. UD will not award tuition scholarships unless you maintain your status as a university funded graduate student (This is particularly true for students based off campus: if your fellowship application is processed through another institution instead of UD, you may not be eligible for your tuition scholarship from UD if the grant is awarded);
  2. UD provides discounted health insurance rates for university funded graduate students which is not available if you are not paid through the University, and
  3. research supply money should flow through the University because you are not able to order some supplies on personal credit cards (i.e. reagents).

Exceptions: there are always exceptions to every rule, but it is your responsibility to CHECK FIRST allowing plenty of time for approval processing if needed before you submit your application to the agency.

One more note: be available and check your email regularly whenever you have a proposal in process. Your webform notices will be received in your email and several will require your approval before they can go further. You can't drop off your materials or email your materials and then disappear. You must be available to answer questions and approve webforms in order to avoid delaying your proposal. You also should find out if your advisor will be available so he can approve the webform notices also. If he is out of the country and will not have access to email, he can make other arrangements IF we know ahead of time.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to ask!

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Grants and Fellowships for Graduate Students and Postdocs
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Grants and Fellowships for Graduate Students and Postdocs
  • Department of Biological Sciences
  • 105 The Grn, Room 118 Wolf Hall
  • Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • University of Delaware
  • Phone: 302-831-6977