At our Spring 2015 Celebration of the Humanities, we discussed the past, present, and future of the humanities at Appalachian State. Council member Pollyanne Frantz, with the Office of Research, wrote prompts for our discussion on the future of the humanities. The first document (PDF) helps us envision our role in the humanities, specifically through opportunities in humanities funding, and the addendum (PDF) highlights specific programs that could be useful to us as we move forward.

Applying for Funding: A step-by-step overview


Step 1

Find a Funding Opportunity

Look for deadlines at least 3-6 months away, and allow more time for collaborative, international, or complex projects. If you need funding at a specific time, such as for a future OCSA or summer research trip, start looking for funding opportunities 12-18 months in advance. (Most sponsors only have one deadline per year, and they may take 6-9 months after the deadline to make an award.)In addition to searching for sponsors and grant programs, it can be helpful to “search in reverse” by searching records of awarded grants to see which programs/sponsors have funded projects similar to yours. See Find Out What a Sponsor Has Funded, or contact Grants Resources and Services.

See Finding Grants and Fellowships below for tips on how to locate funding opportunities.

Contact Grants Resources & Services for assistance.

Step 2

Talk to your department chair

Talk to your chair when you have identified a funding opportunity you would like to pursue, and keep him/her informed about any major changes in your project plans while you are writing the proposal. Your chair and dean must officially approve your proposal in AGrants before Sponsored Programs can submit it to the sponsor, and the approval process will move more quickly if your chair is up to date.It’s especially important to talk to your chair early in the proposal writing process if your proposed project involves time away from the classroom or a commitment of university resources (e.g., exhibit space), or if your sponsor requires matching funds or cost sharing. 

Step 3a

Develop a proposal narrative

Ideally, try to have a rough draft of your proposal narrative and budget completed one month before the sponsor’s deadline, to allow ample time to seek feedback from colleagues and mentors, gather supporting documentation such as letters of support, and prepare your final submission in AGrants.Many sponsors encourage prospective applicants to contact a program officer before applying. Program officers can usually advise about whether a project idea is a potential fit for their program, and some—including NEH program officers—will even offer feedback on draft narratives. Grants Resources & Services can help you locate, draft a letter to, or schedule a call with a program officer.

For editorial assistance with proposal narratives, contact Grants Resources & Services.

For boilerplate text (e.g., university profile) that can be used in proposals, or codes and identifiers you may need for your proposal cover sheet, see Institutional Data for Grant Forms

For sample proposals and proposal writing guides, see the Write a Proposal section of the ORSP website and contact Grants Resources & Services for assistance, since they have additional resources on file that cannot be posted online.

Step 3b

Develop a budget

Your budget should be developed concurrently with your proposal narrative, since you will have to explain your project expenses in your narrative. Ideally, try to have a draft budget completed one month before the sponsor’s deadline.

Allow extra time for budgets that involve subcontracts, consultants, or cost share/matching funds.

Cost share needs to be itemized and documented in your budget.

Most collaborations with people and organizations outside of Appalachian State are handled via subcontract or consulting agreement, and these subcontracts need to be reviewed and approved both by Sponsored Programs and by the collaborating person/institution before your proposal can be submitted.

For assistance developing proposal budgets, see the Prepare a Budget section of the ORSP website and contact Sponsored Programs for consultation services.   

For sample budgets, see Sample Budgets and Justifications on the ORSP website.

Sponsored Programs hosts hands-on “Building a Budget for Grant Applications” workshops. See the ORSP event calendar for dates and registration.

Step 4 

Submit proposal to Sponsored Programs via AGrants

Your complete, ready-to-submit proposal, including all supporting materials and required internal approvals (from your chair, dean, etc.) must be submitted to Sponsored Programs via the AGrants electronic proposal routing system at least five business days before the sponsor’s deadline. It can take 2+ business days to obtain required internal approvals.

All grant proposals and contracts for sponsored projects are submitted on behalf of the university, not in the name of individual faculty members, and they and must be reviewed and submitted by Sponsored Programs on your behalf.

Some, but not all, fellowships can be submitted by the individual faculty member; see “Note on Fellowship Application Methods”.

For instructions on how to upload your proposal into AGrants, see the ORSP AGrants page. 

For information about electronic submission systems (like and special situations (like letters of intent or pre-proposals), see the Submit a Proposal section of the ORSP website.

Step 5

Receive notice from sponsor

Sponsors vary enormously in the amount of time they take to review proposals and notify applicants. 4-6 months after the application deadline is common, but you should check your sponsor’s guidelines for more information.If your proposal is not funded on the first try, note your sponsor’s instructions about whether and how you can obtain feedback from the reviewers, and contact Grants Resources & Services to discuss revision and resubmission. Many proposals that are not funded on the first try are funded as resubmissions.See the Start and Manage Projects section of the ORSP website for information on how award accounts for sponsored projects are created and managed. When you receive your first award, Sponsored Programs and Special Funds Accounting will schedule a brief New Award Meeting with you to explain the process.


How to find other grant and fellowship opportunities

  • Subscribe to the Office of Research blog to receive e-mails about internal grants, limited submission programs, and new issues of GRC Deadlines, a monthly publication listing grant and fellowship deadlines in the next 90 days. 
  • Sign up for e-mail topic lists to receive funding opportunity announcements from Grants Resources & Services related to specific topics like “Digital Humanities” or “South Asian Studies.”
  • Browse funding guides describing funding opportunities for particular disciplines or activities (e.g, the International Teaching, Research, and Creative Activity guide).
  • Search the funding opportunity databases available through the Office of Research. For assistance with these databases or with setting up a weekly e-mail containing new funding opportunities related to your interests, contact Grants Resources & Services at
  • Complete this funding search form to request help from Grants Resources and Services in searching for funding opportunities.