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, as well as for social scientists across campus. The institute provides assistance for navigating the grant application process. These services are described below. If you are at the earlier idea-generating phase of a research project, there are other resources on campus that can help you to identify possible sponsors and develop affinity groups (e.g., Research Development OfficeFoundation Relations, or one of the many research centers in SBS). The Senior Associate Dean of Research and Faculty Development can also provide guidance on availing yourself of the strong campus resources for seeking external funding.

Karen Mason is happy to help you navigate grant applications. Contact either of them to discuss your thoughts about a grant proposal. They can point you to many resources for finding funding or connect you to other scholars thinking about similar projects. Please see the SBS Grant Proposal Submission Process for information about the distribution of indirect costs. 

  1. The institute provides scanning of grant listservs to help faculty narrow down solicitations that reflect faculty research interests
  2. The institute is spearheading the compilation of a Faculty Research Specialization Database (DataVerse) that centralizes social scientists' research specialties to identify appropriate grant opportunities and to be used as a source for assembling collaborative research projects.

The Institute will provide as much support as you need to get your from the conceptual stage to getting the proposal to the sponsor by the deadline. The staff's familiarity with the resources available and funding source preferences can help you find the best match for your goals and needs. The institute offers

  1. Proposal preparation assistance and management of the proposal process
  2. Budget planning and assistance with GAMS
  3. Referrals to the Office of Research Development for help with proposal writing (narrative) portions of the proposal
  4. Electronic proposal submission
  5. Advanced discussions with OGCA for complex proposals
  6. Pre-OGCA proposal reviews: Critical analysis of the administrative components of a proposal prior to submitting to OGCA.

Once you get the grant, the institute will:

  1. Facilitate award set-ups
  2. Facilitate pre-establishment of grant accounts
  3. Facilitate subcontract set-up
  4. Help PIs assemble the package of Just-in Time modifications requested by the sponsor (budget reductions, for example)
  5. Work with College leadership to help PIs get off to the right start in developing research management plans.

Then, while you are running the grant, the Institute for Social Science Research will:

  1. Meet regularly with PIs to review spending activity to ensure that it reflects the scope of the research and is compliant with all University, sponsor, and federal rules and regulations
  2. Handle rebudgeting requests
  3. Offer subcontract management assistance
  4. Offer award portfolio management by monitoring and tracking award information to ensure that all critical reports and milestones are met in a timely fashion and notifying faculty of upcoming award requirements
  5. Help PIs comply with Effort Certification process
  6. Provide a close-out management plan to make certain that all financial and administrative requirements are met in a timely fashion.

In addition, the institute can:

  • Answer questions about policies and procedures
  • Facilitate communication among PIs, department staff, Office of Research Development, Office of Grants and Contracts, Controller's Office, and other on-campus resources and departments
  • Provide or link to tools and resources for faculty and staff
  • Provide one-on-one training for campus-provided tools such as GAMS, Jordan On-Line, Summit, etc.