Applying for Research Funds

About

Welcome to the Research Support Center
Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:30am to 5:00pm

Mission Statement
To coordinate the preparation, submission and oversight management of internally and externally funded research projects, educate researcher about funding opportunities and sponsor policies, and negotiate terms for research contracts at the University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design.

Due to the effects of COVID-19 and the University’s plans to have limited in-person hours and remote work for many offices on campus this fall term, all communication with the Research Support Center will be virtual until further notice. Please consult the Fall 2020 Guidelines for more information on Weitzman School of Design’s COVID-19 response.

View Weitzman’s research portfolio and publications  

Searching for Funding

There are multiple types of funding sources.

There are two types of funding solicitations. Unsolicited applications are those that the applicant initiates from his/her own ideas and requests financial support of a sponsor for those ideas. Solicited applications are initiated from the sponsors directly that an applicant may or may not choose to “respond” to.

Search for funding for your project on the Office of the Provost website.

Search for Resources
If you’re a Weitzman faculty member looking for non-monetary resources for your project, the University Research Inventory System (RIS) allows you to pursue the following resource agreements:

  • Material Resource Transfer 
  • Data Use
  • Equipment Loan
  • Collaborative Research
  • Non-Disclosure/Confidentiality
  • Services
  • Collaborative Research

Applying for Funding

Applying for Funding
An awarding agency provides detailed instructions regarding proposal completion, and applicants must follow these instructions to the letter to ensure proper and timely consideration.  Principal Investigators, individuals responsible for the conduct of research, should be writing the scientific portion of their application while the Research Support Center works on the administrative components of the application.

If you are a Weitzman faculty member or student and are interested in applying to a funding opportunity or have been contacted with an expressed interest in working on a collaborative project, please follow the below process to apply.

Meet
Set up a meeting with Jessica DeJesus, Director of the Research Support Center, to determine the best way to apply.

Budget
Preliminary discussion with the principal investigator and the director of the Research Support Center should occur to begin to formulate and develop the budget needed to support the proposed research project. It is also important to note unallowable costs on a grant in the budget process.

Write
If you have not already drafted your proposal, after consulting with Jessica DeJesus you may proceed with composing the project proposal and budget.

Approve
Make sure that you have gained all the necessary approvals required by the Weitzman School prior to the submission of your proposal including, but not limited to, the confirmation of adequate space and technology support availability by the Director of Facilities and the Director of IT.  It is important to plan for the conduct of the project in the event of the award.

Several approvals are needed prior to final signature from the sponsoring institution. The Senior Business Administrator must approve the application, certifying that the budget and administrative information contained in the proposal is complete and accurate.The Departmental Chair must approve the application, certifying that the proposed research is within the total program and academic objectives of the department.The Dean of the submitting and administering school signs his/her approval to the application certifying that the proposed project is consistent with the total program objectives of the school.

Additional approvals are required such as the IRB, IACUC, if humans and/or animals are proposed in the application.If there are faculty participating from other departments within the same school or other schools at the institution, approvals are required from their respective administrators, chairs and deans.

Submit
Email the sponsor guidelines, full proposal, and budget to Jessica DeJesus at least 10 business days prior to the funding opportunity deadline. Every Award agency provides the required due date for submission of applications to be considered for funding, unless the application is on a rolling basis (no end date defined).Some agencies specify that the application must be received by a certain date while other agencies specify that that the application can be postmarked by a certain date.

For applications to internal Penn grants
Upon notice from the Research Support Center of your proposal entry and approval, submit your full application by the grant deadline.
For applications to external sponsors
Upon notice from the Research Support Center of your proposal entry and approval in Penn’s Electronic Research Administration system (PennERA), certify your proposal. Finally, the application is reviewed the Office of Research Services. Once the application is approved, ORS will submit the application to the sponsoring agency.

Review
Once the grant application reaches the sponsoring agency, there may be the occasional request for additional information from the sponsor prior to awarding the proposal.  Most agencies have a formal peer or merit review process while some smaller non-federal agencies provide for in-house review of applications.

Receiving Funding
Generally, research grant awards are made with little, or no negotiation.  However, there may be awards that are subject to intense negotiation prior to the issuance of the formal award.

Terms and Conditions
The award will come with specific terms and conditions of the sponsoring agency and will usually reference the expected start date and end date for the project as well as the amount awarded for the length of the project and any other provisions. In addition to the sponsoring agency’s terms and conditions, all awards are subject to policies defined by the University of Pennsylvania. Please reference the Sponsored Projects Handbook for guidance on proper handling of grant funds.

Administration
Upon receipt of the official award notification from the sponsoring agency all negotiations will be final. The University’s Office of Research Services (ORS) will establish a 26 digit account combination and will issue an account information (AIS) which captures all relevant information about the award as well as any terms and conditions and will enter the date into Ben Financial System.

Advance Accounts
In some scenarios, an advance account fund can be established by the Office of Research Services in anticipation of and prior to actual receipt of the notice of award from the sponsor. This is used to facilitate the budgeting and accounting of project related expenses. To establish an advance account, reach out to the Research Support Center for the form.

Subaccounts
There are many instances where multiple investigators are part of a primary award. In certain instances a sub-account will need to be established for those individual investigators if they are leading a free-standing project within a multi-investigator grant such as a program project grant. Creating a sub-account in those instances assists with overall efficiency in grants management.

Sub-accounts are required to be issued to The Weitzman School if:

  • Weitzman Faculty applies to a funding opportunity, through another School; or
  • Weitzman Faculty is listed as a Co-PI, Significant Contributor or Collaborator; or
  • Faculty of another school enters into an agreement, with the McHarg and Kleinman Centers.

As soon as the primary investigator is notified of the award, please notify the Research Support Center so we may update our records and assist with administering and spending grant funds.

Spending Grant Funds

Through the lifespan of a project, costs will always be incurred. Below are common expenses and information on how to charge these expenses.

  • For booking travel and obtaining reimbursements, use the Bank of America Card and/or Concur.
    For more information on the policies and procedures concerning travel and reimbursements, please visit the Fiscal Operations page and review the Travel and Reimbursements section.
  • For hiring research support staff and engaging consultants or contractors, email the Research Support Center and we will facilitate the process.
    For more information on the policies and procedures concerning personnel expenses, please visit the Payroll and Human Resources page. For consultants and contractors, please visit the Fiscal Operations page and review the Individual Service Provider (ISP) Payment section.
  • Supply purchases can be completed via Concur reimbursement, purchase order, or the University purchasing card. If you have questions or need assistance with making supply purchases, please email the Research Support Center.
    For more information on purchase orders and the purchasing card, visit the Fiscal Operations page and review the Purchase Orders and P-Card sections.

Cost Extensions
Over the course of the grant term, a primary investigator may find it necessary to extend the grant deadline due to delays or changes in the project. An extension allows previously allocated funds to be spent after the original expiration date. Check with the sponsor to see if no cost extensions are permitted. To pursue a cost extension, please complete the following forms:

Account Continuation Form
URF Extension Request Form (only for University Research Foundation grants)

Keeping track of expenses
Sponsors often set reporting requirements in their terms and conditions. Periodic, scheduled reports required by the sponsor summarize research progress to date. Technical, fiscal, and invention reports may be required. The Research Support Center provides monthly expense reports to all faculty members with grant funds. If any additional financial information is needed for reporting purposes, please contact the Research Support Center.

Additionally, receipts associated with grant expenses should be kept for auditing purposes.

Overspending
Whenever it is recognized that a fund is exceeding the awarded amount, it should be reconciled immediately by contacting the Research Support Center. If expenditures on a sponsored project exceed the authorized awarded amount after the grant close, a write-off of the overage will occur. The write-off will include any associated overhead charges with the award. An overage could just represent errors that, once addressed, would eliminate a write-off to the primary investigator’s department.

Closing Out Grant Funds

Upon the end date of a grant, all final expenses should be submitted along with the final technical or financial report required by the sponsor to complete a research project. The primary investigator can work with the Research Support Center to complete any financial reports.

Resources and References

Contact Us

General Inquiries can be emailed to pdgrants@design.upenn.edu.

Jessica DeJesus
Director, Research Support Center (RSC)
412 Duhring Wing
236 South 34th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6311
215.573.7286
dejesusj@design.upenn.edu

Tiara Campbell
Grants Coordinator
412 Duhring Wing
236 South 34th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6311
215.573.8520
tica@design.upenn.edu