AGEP Workshop for American Indian & Indigenous Students in Science

February 4, 2012, Grant Writing Workshop, with Dr. Yolanda Treviño and Dr. Brian Gilley

The prezi file (a PowerPoint alternative, free for educators) from my presentation is below. You can progress through the slides in order, but you can also zoom in and out and click to any location in the material. The links and webpages should be active–please let me know if you have any trouble accessing the information you want.

IU graduate students are always welcome to make an appointment at the GGC for help identifying additional funding opportunities–individual, tailored searches are our specialty! but we really like to have a meaty conversation with you about your project in order to create effective searches.

For graduate coursework, there are some grant opportunities in the databases (which I will send to you via Pivot). But the most typical ways of funding coursework at IUB are through IU internal fellowships (the Wells Graduate Fellowship is due in November, for example, and all doctoral and MFA students are eligible to apply for this $33,000 award) and through assistantships. To make sure you know about these opportunities, follow up on all of the suggestions in the Prezi below: know the resources in your department/school/college, graduate school, OVPIA, area centers, etc.; make sure you’re on the right e-mail lists; sign up for the RSS feed for Grad Grantline News here at the GGC.

A few thoughts about NSF awards: the highly competetive DDIG, DDRIG, GRPF, and REG awards are available in multiple disciplines. Students in research-based Master’s programs and PhD programs are eligible for the multi-year GRFP award. If you apply for one of these, be sure to review not only the formal solicitation and the pages about that award, but also the general program pages for that discipline/section. One of NSF’s priorities is to fund research that is clearly connected to its broader goals, so being able to articulate the Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts of your project/studies is crucial. The broader impacts should be concrete–they are not merely rhetorical or hypothetical outcomes of your work; they are specific, audience-based activities that are integrated into your research design and/or dissemination plans. If your project does not include activities that address any of these NSF goals, look over the examples in the Broader Impacts document and consider adding an additional, practical component to meet that requirement in a way that supports your own research and professional goals. Be creative!

About federal grants: Graduate student awards from certain government agencies (but not all) are routed through the university, so you must submit your application through a particular office on your campus (and just to make things more fun, there can be different offices for handling different federal awards). Often these awards have earlier campus deadlines and additional local requirements, so be sure you map out that process well in advance of the deadline advertised by the funding agency. The people who work in university research administration typically assist experienced faculty applicants on large, complicated grant applications, so they are not always good at orienting first-time grad student applicants to the process, but they should be able to tell you the technical requirements and processes for a given award. The good news is that graduate student applications are nearly always much simpler–we don’t have to sort out salaries, overhead, indirect costs, etc., or go through letters of inquiry and full applications in different stages. For those of you at Indiana University planning to apply for NSF, NIH, or other federal awards, we have outlined the first step you should take to initiate the process with the Office of Research Administration. Don’t hesitate to contact ORA directly if you have a question about an application that gets routed through their office (or if you’re not sure whether an award must be routed through their office). ORA sometimes holds workshops for students planning to apply in the near future, but they are infrequent and the timing may not match up with your particular deadline/funding schedule.

Many (most?) graduate student awards are not routed through ORA or whatever your school’s sponsored research office is called: you apply directly to the funding organization.

Keep in mind that graduate students can apply for external funding even if they have departmental or university support, and you can apply for multiple awards at the same time. You may not be able to accept multiple awards simultaneously, or you may have to negotiate partial funds from one agency if you receive awards with overlapping budget provisions, so it’s like getting 1.5 awards instead of 2–still great! But it’s helpful to have options, and universities love external funding. It’s also a very good idea to have an independent research agenda even if your work is part of a lab or a professor’s project. Graduate student applications should be used to get what YOU need, not to get supplies or funds for your lab (even if there is some mutual benefit).

One strategy we didn’t talk about for Pivot and IRIS is searching for personal affiliations or characteristics. Once you feel like you’ve identified the best-known or major funding options for your field, and the internal awards at your university, you can look for more specialized awards. Try looking up things like your hometown, county, or state; your high school and undergraduate college; your religious affiliation; your tribe(s) or multitribal organizations; fraternal or professional organizations; honor societies or clubs (even ones you were in as an undergrad); names of companies/industries where you or your relatives have worked or that support students from a particular place; particular disabilities; any personal characteristics you haven’t looked for yet (single mother, non-traditional or returning student, first-generation college graduate, career changer, etc–I’ve even heard of an award for ginger-haired students!); anything else you can think of. These tend to be smaller awards, and there is no guarantee that you’ll find something that fits, but it’s worth finding out what local/personal opportunities might be out there for you.

Finally, I have saved a broad Pivot search for STEM funding, and another one for minority graduate student opportunities, that I will forward to you from within Pivot. The e-mail will probably be from RefWorks or COS. When you follow the link to the search results, be sure to save the query in your own Pivot account so you can modify the search to suit your needs and track any relevant results.

You’re welcome to contact me at the GGC ( with any questions. It was a pleasure being part of the AGEP workshop, and I wish you all the best of luck!

GradGrants Consultant
PhD Candidate, Folklore & Ethnomusicology
Indiana University
This is the official search engine/database for grants from 26 federal grant-making agencies. These awards *should* also be in the Pivot and IRIS databases, but browsing through the agencies and categories of awards could be fruitful.

COS Pivot Search Field Descriptions.
This document lists all of the fields in the COS Pivot database–everything you need to know to get the most out of your searches

Access Pivot here.


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