What’s a Proposal Clearance Form (PCF) and where do I find it?
The PCF is UofL's internal proposal clearance and tracking form and must accompany proposal materials for any sponsored projects in A&S (including research, training/education, public service, and other creative activities) to be submitted for institutional approval. It is important to be sure you have the latest version of the PCF which can be found here.
How does the College of Arts & Sciences handle proposals and PCFs?
The PCF must first be fully signed and initialed at the department level. The PCF, proposal, budget, budget justification and related paperwork needs to be submitted and logged in the A&S Research Office (320 Gardiner Hall) 7 business days prior to the sponsor's deadline date. The Associate Dean of Research reviews the form for budget consistencies, effort, signatures (Principal Investigator, Co-Investigator, key personnel, department chair, etc.) and dates. If any boxes in section 17 are marked yes, the Chair's and Dean's initials are required. After reviewing, the Associate Dean of Research signs/initials the PCF and the entire proposal package is delivered to Sponsored Programs Administration or to the Office of Industry Contracts (whichever is appropriate for the project) for review, and institutional approval prior to submission to the sponsor.
Why do I need to submit a PCF?
The PCF is important to many people, for many different reasons. Initially, the PCF is a record of signatures related to the project. Chairs and Deans sign as permission for the proposal to access the resources of their unit (particularly faculty time). They certify that those resources are adequate to support the project. The PI signs to certify that the project is scientifically sound and ethical, and that you accept responsibility for the scientific conduct of the project (amongst other things). It’s also important on projects with multiple faculty members involved that there is a signature record of agreement between departments and between individuals regarding things like effort and collaboration percentages.
The PCF is also a record of certain aspects of your project, the details of which are used by many different people through the project's lifetime. It exists as a record of what was proposed, which can be important to auditors and administrators, particularly as things may change over time once a project has been awarded. The details from the PCF are used when your chartfield (spending account) is established. The PCF will often be referred back to by the financial account administrators as well.
I have an idea for a research or other type of project. What do I do now?
The next step is to develop the idea into something that can be written about and funded. You will want to identify what you want the end product to be, and then prepare a basic list of the steps it will take to get there. Then prepare a list of what resources (personnel, equipment, facilities, your time) will be needed to make those steps happen. That will give you a sense of the cost. Then you’re ready to look for funding. The A&S Research Office offers training in grant writing, both sessions that are exclusive to A&S faculty and students, and, in collaboration with the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies (SIGS), sessions for graduate students of any discipline at U of L.
How do I find funding?
There are literally dozens, even thousands, of places you can look for money to do your project. However, only a few will match your project. Using your developed idea and sense of the cost involved (discussed in a previous answer), do a keyword search on Grants.gov to see if the federal government has any funding opportunities that fit. You can also search the Internet to see if any non-government funding organizations come up. A more focused search for non-government funding can be done using keyword searches on Foundationcenter.org at the Louisville Free Public Library downtown. The librarians at LFPL can assist you. Faculty members may set up appointments with A&S Research Office staff for assistance with funding searches, including on Foundationcenter.org. When reading journal articles and newsletters involving your subject area, notice who funded the projects discussed in those that are similar in some way to your project. Those may be funders who would be interested in your project too. The A&S Research Office and the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies (SIGS) offer training in grant writing, including how to search for funding.
I want to submit a proposal. When should I contact your office?
The sooner, the better! As soon as you have identified a funding opportunity you would like to explore, contact the A&S Research Office. This allows our staff to review the program announcement, help to foresee and mitigate any potential issues that could impact your success, and to assist with budget preparation. Generally speaking, the more time you have put into your proposal, the better your chances of being funded! Our office is most effective in assisting you if we are notified about proposals one month (or more) prior to the submission deadline.
My grant application was not funded. What should I do?
Let the A&S Research Office and the Office of Sponsored Programs Administration know (a quick email will suffice) so that we can update the system, but don’t be discouraged if you are denied funding. If your funder will allow resubmission, our office is here to help! We will review with you the comments you received from the agency’s reviewers, help you incorporate them into a revised proposal, and resubmit. If the agency does not allow resubmission, we can work with you to find another potential funder, refine your application and budget for the new guidelines, and submit again. We’re here to help at any step along the way!
Does the A&S Research Office offer any courses to improve grant writing skills?
Absolutely! Check out the Events and Training section of our website for upcoming sessions. We are also in the process of establishing Brown Bag sessions which will be 1-hour topic-specific discussions related to research and creative activities. Email the A&S Research Office if you'd like to join us for the Brown Bag sessions.