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The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP)

Researcher's Manual - Getting Started

  • Before beginning a search for funding opportunities, it is a good idea to have written down two or three sentences about what project you would like to have funded.
  • Identify the first database you would like to search from the Funding Databases page.
  • Log in, if necessary, and navigate to the appropriate search screen.
  • Begin with a keyword search that you believe is descriptive of the subject of your research.
  • Browse the search results (if any) to see if the database’s results match the project ideas. If the search resulted in zero or very few results, think of different ways to describe the idea or project discipline. Some databases such as COS and The Foundation Directory provide the titles of the categories to help search more effectively.
  • Narrow the search until there is a reasonable number of solicitations to look through. Generally 25-100 results is a reasonable start in the first stages of searching.
  • For each solicitation ask the following questions:
    • Am I eligible through Lehman College, the Research Foundation, or by myself to apply to this sponsor?
    • Does the project further the sponsor’s mission, purpose, or priorities as described on their website or in their materials?
    • Does this sponsor fund work in the discipline the project represents?
    • Does this sponsor fund this kind of project activity?
    • Has this sponsor funded similar projects in the past?
    • When is the due date for applications, and is it far enough away to allow time to write and edit a good proposal?
    • Does this sponsor offer enough funding to cover the costs of the project?

If the answer to any of these questions is “no," keep looking by changing the keywords or consider ways in which the scope or context of the project can change. If the solicitations are close, but not enthusiastic, save copies of them for future ideas. When solicitations where all of the questions result in enthusiastic “yes” answers, these are the sponsors to develop proposal applications for. At this point, it is a good idea to bring the results of the search to the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs to discuss how to get started and to make sure you haven’t overlooked any of the sponsor interests or requirements that may be detrimental to your application.