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External Funding

External Funding Resources

External funding is available from a variety of sources, including federal/state/local governments, non-profit organizations, and private industry. Securing external research funding is increasingly competitive as the number of researchers vying for those funds continues to grow. Understanding the different types of funding resources and how to find relevant opportunities is crucial.

  • Federal agencies are required to post their main solicitations in beta.SAM.gov (formerly FedBizOpps) or Grants.gov.   
  • Government Contracting Page (govspot.com)
  • Most federal agencies also have listservs or bulletins for which you can register. These usually contain notices on solicitations being issued and sometimes information on funding or other research opportunities that might not be issued in a solicitation, such as ‘visiting fellow’ openings or travel funds to attend a conference.
  • Determine which agencies are most likely to fund the research interests, become familiar with their funding cycles, announcements, and organization, and sign up for their listserv (e.g., Department of EducationNSF Custom News ServiceNSF FundingNIH Funding).

The funding solicitations for State/Local Agencies are usually found on their websites under tabs/headings like grants, RFPs, contracts, agreements, etc. They may also have listservs or bulletins and you can approach them, via email, with brief summaries to gauge interest. Examples include:

  • Oklahoma EPSCoR – Oklahoma EPSCoR’s overarching goal is to increase the state’s research competitiveness through strategic support of research instruments and facilities, research collaborations, and integrated education and research programs.
  • Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science & Technology (OCAST) – OCAST encourages and assists Oklahoma's entrepreneurs, researchers, and small businesses to create and apply innovation to create jobs and grow and diversify Oklahoma’s economy.

There exists a wide range of non-profit organizations that sponsor a broad array of research—from high-profile foundations that tackle comprehensive, international challenges to small family foundations that focus their resources on a single important issue. Many non-profits post their funding opportunities on their website and will respond to a letter of intent from a researcher if the topic is aligned with their mission. Foundation Directory Online (FDO) could also be helpful in finding funding opportunities through foundations. To access this database, talk with your college Development Officer or contact University Advancement (advancement@ou.edu).

Some companies have grant programs posted on their home page (through their foundations, directly from the company, or via flow through funding, such as an SBIR or STTR, where federal agencies are involved in SBIR/STTR solicitations). If you would like information about connecting with industry, contact Joyce Burch at jburch@ou.edu.

Many federal, state, and private funding agencies issue requests for proposals that limit the number of applications they will accept from an institution. OU has established a process to identify limited submission opportunities and internally select applicants to submit proposals in response to particular programs. You can learn more about the process and review a list of some limited submissions programs on the Office of Research Services (ORS) Limited Submissions page.

GrantForward is a database where all OU faculty, staff, and students with an ou.edu email can find customized non-profit, state, federal, and corporate funding opportunities. The Center for Faculty Excellence (CFE) offers consultations and workshops to help researchers set up their accounts and use the database to its fullest capabilities. Check the CFE website for more information about workshops and other faculty development events.

Foundations Directory Online (FDO) is a funding opportunities database that can be used to search foundation and corporate donor listings. This service is offered through University Advancement, and it allows researchers to access funding information that may not be available through other resources. Licenses for this system are limited, so contact your Development Officer or University Advancement at advancement@ou.edu for more information.

The University of Oklahoma is also working with Lewis-Burke and Associates (L-B) to help grow our federal funding for research and creative activities, utilizing L-B’s expertise in providing their clients with information on funding opportunities and analysis about federal agency and department budgets, research priorities, and policy trends. To subscribe to the OU Lewis-Burke emails and receive access to their in-depth newsletters, visit OU’s L-B page.

Additional Information

OU investigators may also receive funds from other organizations, in the form of subawards or subcontracts, for doing a portion of work related to a solicitation. As you are looking for funding opportunities, you might consider other organizations with which you would like to work. For more information about subaward/subcontracts and other types of proposals, visit the ORS Proposal Development website.

For information about internal funding sources, including the Faculty Investment Program (FIP) and the Junior Faculty Fellowship Program (JFF) provided by the OVPRP and administered through the Research Council, visit our Internal Support and Seed Funding webpage.