The University of Massachusetts Amherst

External Funding Support

The Institute for Social Science Research (ISSR) is the main research engine for the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. There are many steps and actors involved in preparing a successful grant application, and this page provides an overview of the support ISSR can provide for navigating the grant application process.

All SBS faculty working on grant proposals should ask to be added to ISSR's Funding Fridays Moodle, which provides substantial information and resources for every component of grant applications – from setting up a timeline, to developing a budget, identifying research questions, and clarifying broader impacts.

At the earlier idea-generating phases of a research project, there are other resources on campus that can help you to make connections and find collaborators (e.g., one of the many research centers on campus). In addition to ISSR, faculty may work with the Research Development Office or Foundation Relations. The Senior Associate Dean of Research and Faculty Development can also provide guidance on campus resources for seeking external funding.

At ISSR, Katie Smith and Carrie Morrison Penland are the staff members who can help faculty members navigate grant applications, given 6-8 weeks lead time. Details are available on the ISSR Grant Support webpage.

The Institute can support faculty as they work through their grant applications, subject to timing and staffing capacity. With the appropriate 6-8 week lead time, ISSR offers support including these elements of grant submissions:

  1. Setting realistic deadlines for proposal submissions (including advance discussions with OPAS for complex proposals).
  2. Proposal preparation assistance and management of the proposal process.
  3. Budget planning and assistance with Kuali.
  4. Pre-OPAS proposal reviews: Critical analysis of the administrative components of a proposal prior to submitting to OPAS.
  5. Proposal submission.

PIs can contact ISSR for post-award support, subject to staff capacity, such as:

  1. Working with the PI and their department’s administrative staff to develop a post-award plan, which includes award set-up, pre-establishment of grant accounts, and subcontract set-up.
  2. Work with the PI to set up a clear division of labor for post-award tasks.
  3. Help PIs assemble the package of Just-in Time modifications requested by the sponsor (budget reductions, for example).
  4. Help with rebudgeting requests.
  5. Assist with an award close-out management plan.

In addition, the institute can:

  • Answer questions about policies and procedures.
  • Facilitate communication among PIs, department staff, Office of Research Development and Engagement, Office of Pre-Award Services, Office of Post-Award Management, Controller's Office, Foundation Relations and other on-campus resources and departments.