Welcome to the Office of Grants & Sponsored Research (OGSR) at Mercyhurst University. This office helps to secure grants and contracts from foundations, corporations, and government agencies for Mercyhurst University, its administration, departments, and its institutes. We help obtain funding for institutional priorities including capital improvements, research equipment and technology, curricular and faculty development, individual faculty and departmental research projects, academic programs, student development programs, student scholarships, institutional improvement, and community based programs.
This site provides basic information about the grant-seeking process: how to identify funding sources, how to prepare proposals and applications and manage grants and contracts that have been awarded.
We are here to offer assistance and discuss strategies for funding your project and will:
We will help an awardee set up financial accounts for funded projects and monitor them through closeout, insuring compliance with award budgets, schedules, billings, scope(s) of work and any policies dictated with the awarding agency
OSGR will help oversee the administration of funded projects, serving as a liaison between you (the Principal Investigator or Project Director), the university’s finance office and the external funding agency.
OGSR is responsible for the university’s federal access including: passwords, log-in and authorization for use of electronic grant submission sites Grants.gov and NSF Fastlane, as well as maintaining certifications and registrations necessary to obtain Federal Grants and Contracts through the System for Award Management (SAM).
Foundation Grants and Awards
Private foundations and corporations represent a source of funding for the university. Most foundations require that your proposal be written to meet their strategic funding priorities and satisfy their specific proposal process. Unsolicited proposals to private foundations are rarely funded. Generally, a successful proposal requires an ongoing relationship between the University and the foundation or corporation and is accompanied by a letter of support from the President of the University.
All grants and awards sought from private or corporate foundations and private individuals must be submitted by the Office of Institutional Advancement. Inquiries and individual requests should be made with the Director of External Affairs & Government Relations firstname.lastname@example.org
There are more than 250,000 private foundations in the United States. There are several ways to identify sources of foundation funding. If you have identified a foundation or corporation as a potential source of funding, please call the Advancement department ext. 2102. Mercyhurst subscribes to a database of active foundations in the United States. We will research the foundation, its history, and its relationship (if any) with Mercyhurst University for you, and help develop a strategy for approaching the organization. The lists below are current foundation that Mercyhurst University has strong relationships with and in many cases active grants.
Please contact OGSR before contacting private or corporate foundations or private individuals. We will give you background information on the funder, their contact information, and a list of grants they have awarded Mercyhurst in the past. Several local funders prefer “one annual proposal” from Mercyhurst with a menu of different projects they can select to support. We will help you navigate their personal preferences.
There are various websites and print resources to help you craft a proposal. Please contact our office for help with any or all of the elements your application requires. We will be happy to help you in any way that we can. Here is a brief list of grant writing (both federal and foundation) sites you can peruse for guidance in building a successful application:
U.S. federal and state governments support a number of agencies that award grants for different purposes. Public agencies generate large numbers of proposals and have a wide variety of guidelines, formats and required institutional information. Policies and proposals can vary widely between agencies. Information about grants available, application guidelines and deadlines can be found at each agency’s website.
We recommend that faculty subscribe to local, state and federal newsletters that announce agency Requests For Proposals (RFP) germane to your field of study. Because the government rarely provides much time between announcement and deadline please share any RFP with OGSR as soon as you become aware of the opportunity. We will review the entire RFP document for eligibility and other requirements. Once your Dean or Department Chair gives you the go-ahead we will work with you to organize all the materials required for submission.
Ownership of the proposal is with the Principal Investigator or Project Director and while you will be the author of the narrative, we will assist with budgets, boilerplate materials, signatures, letters of support, etc. as required by the RFP. If research is involved using human subjects we will work with the IRB so your proposal is compliant.
Federal grants must be submitted via the Grants.gov website and the federal government mandates that one person per institution is authorized to submit proposals. Sheila Coon is Mercyhurst’s authorized grants.gov representative. Please make an appointment to meet with her regarding your project as early as possible.
Federal grants in most cases are highly competitive and Mercyhurst will submit proposals no later than ONE-WEEK prior to the published deadline. Federal agencies will NOT ACCEPT any proposals submitted after the deadline and if your proposal is not ready we don’t want you to expend untold hours racing to the finish line only to have your project rejected.
Begin by reflecting about your research interests as well as the purpose of your project. There are many things to consider in the beginning/planning stage. How might this project further the mission of our university? What agencies will you consider approaching with this project? Will your research involve undergraduate/graduate research and contributions? What are your general budget requirements?
In order to help you organize your research and funding plan, we have developed a Research Request Form for you complete and let our office know what your interests and needs are. We will use this form to research potential funding opportunities that might support your project. Print the form, complete, scan, and return to OGSR by email or inter-campus mail. Please don't hesitate to let us know your research ideas, even at an early stage, so that we may begin to research for funding opportunities as soon as possible. Feel free to call us so to set up an appointment to discuss your research ideas.
We encourage you to discuss your research ideas with us whether they are your individual or departmental projects. We can be the most helpful to you in this process if you include our office at the earliest stages of your project development. It is important to let us know as soon as possible of your plans so that we can build your project needs into our schedule and give it the proper attention it deserves.
Early in the process you will want to discuss your project with your Department Chair and/or the Dean of your school, particularly if there is a commitment of university resources (in-cash and in-kind) that will be required to complete the proposed project (i.e.: time of faculty and staff, matching funds, use of students and facilities).
All proposed grants and contracts typically must go through an approval process. OGSR will coordinate the approval arrangements. This process may require: (depending on the nature of the project and amount of the award) the endorsement of the University President; Chief of Staff; Vice President for Academic Affairs; Dean of the relevant school; Institute Directors and the OGSR.
You should also be aware that you must receive approval from the Institutional Review Board (IRB) if you are applying for funding any research activity that involves “Human subjects”.
Most grant applications will require the endorsement and signature of a University official, which we will obtain for you. All legal forms showing the University’s designation as a higher-education institution, as well as reporting our approved financial status and Health and Human Services approved “Indirect rates” are on file in our office and we will gather the necessary documents for your application.
No Grant or award should be accepted by an individual on behalf of the University without prior approval. Nearly all awards are grants to the University and most require the electronic endorsement of the Authorized Organization Representative (AOR) or signature endorsement of a University official.
The more assistance you need, the further in advance we need to know about your project. If you are submitting a proposal to a State or Federal agency, please contact us immediately. We are here to help with Grants.gov steps such as: verifying Mercyhurst’s eligibility, checking your proposal for guideline compliance, completing the necessary forms, making the necessary copies and gathering signatures (federal and state agencies will not consider applications that do not conform exactly to their guidelines). In addition, many federal agencies require you to follow special electronic submission procedures, oftentimes requiring accounts and log-in information which our office already has obtained, and we will submit these applications for you. However, these electronic submission programs can be overwhelmed at deadline times, so you need to submit your application to us NO LATER THAN ONE WEEK PRIOR TO the deadline to ensure that the submittal is transmitted and accepted on time.
NOTE: All submissions to Grants.gov go through the OSGR office and must be ready for review and to be submitted no later than one-full week prior to the published deadline.
We have had grant requests not accepted because they were filed 2 minutes too late and many hours of work and research was wasted when the deadline was missed.
As you begin to draft a proposal it will be helpful to consider the following questions:
Each funding source will have its own proposal format and instructions, so it is very important to read the application instructions/guidelines before beginning work on a proposal. The instructions and format can vary from agency to agency, and some will be very simple and others will have very specific guidelines.
Most funders request the following proposal components:
Remember, the program officer from the funding source or agency is often the best source of information about the details each application may require. We strongly recommend telephoning the program officer to ask questions early on, so he/she can provide more details about how to best present your case in the proposal. Establishing a relationship with your program officer gives him/her an idea about your proposal well before the agency receives it and it is prepared for review.
In your proposal narrative, you should have a section detailing the resources needed to implement your project. This will provide you with the basis for your budget. In general, ask for what you need, and explain why you need it. Be specific. Quantify everything you can. You may be required to include a budget narrative that explains how you came up with each line item in your budget.
In this process you may need information that is beyond your frame of reference in regards to salaries, consulting fees, sub-contractor payments, fringes and federally approved indirect rates as dictated by the University and the Grantor Agency. OGSR will provide templates with these calculations for you and work with you to develop your budget. We are available to help make it easy.
Some grants require matching funds from the university and/or another donor. This requirement is not necessarily an impediment to your research, but you will need to discuss this request with our office and with the other officers at the university before we formulate this part of the budget and you obtain approval for your project.
It is important to note that the budget structure and elements vary between Foundations, Private Contracts and Federal or State Grants. Each budget is drafted according to the specifications in each RFP and is unique to each research project. The VP for OAA/Chief of Staff and President need to review and approve all university resources - both in-kind and financial match.
All grants and awards from Private or Corporate Foundations and Private Individuals must be deposited with the Office for Institutional Advancement. We will set up an account for your project with the finance office. All revenue and expenses will flow in and out of the project account and records will be clear and available for all required reporting. Once the grant check is processed through Advancement, the Project Account number and the check will be delivered to the Finance Department where it will be deposited in your new account.
IMPORTANT REMINDER: Mercyhurst University legal documents including grant or contract awards can only be signed by three official signatories: the President, the VP for Finance and Treasurer, and the Controller.
State and Federal grants typically operate on a “reimbursement” basis. Mercyhurst begins the project with Mercyhurst money and then submits invoices to the agency for reimbursement. The same process to establish an account is followed, but you are responsible to submit expenses for the project to the Finance department to pay. Then on the schedule the grantor determines; Invoices are prepared by OSGR and presented to the agency for an Electronic Fund Transfer – into your account to pay for those expenses. We will walk you through this process and assist in generating Invoices.
The Office of Grants & Sponsored Research (OGSR) will oversee the technical fulfillment of university grants and contracts. Awards are made to the university or institute, not individuals. OGSR will serve as the liaison between the Principal Investigator, Project Director, Institute Administrator, the University’s Finance Office and the funding agency.
Mercyhurst University offers mini-grants for faculty and student development in areas related to research and teaching. These grants are available for all full-time faculty and students and are used to support a specific project, continuing education and academic development, or for small supply/equipment funding. In addition, the Office of Academic Affairs (OAA), together with the Faculty Research Committee, administers funds for faculty research and travel. The following is a sample of our internal funding opportunities. For more information about these internal funds, please contact the OAA or the current chair of the Faculty Research Committee.
If you have specific questions or if you would like more information,
Phone: (814) 824-2102