First, it is vital to identify needs and a focus.
- What is the topic?
- Why is the research/project important and what makes it unique and significant?
- What are the research questions that the Principal Investigator (PI) is trying to answer?
- What relevance do the research questions have?
- What are the research methods?
Other factors that may influence the search for research opportunities include potential collaborations (e.g., Duke faculty, other Duke divisions, outside institutions), and whether there is an intended product, technological invention, or goal from the research that may need some form of commercialization and economic development, or securing of intellectual property rights.
Once these questions are answered, the PI can begin looking for prospective grants and funding agencies.
Whether the proposal receives funding will rely in large part on whether the purpose and goals closely match the priorities of granting agencies. There are many sources of information, both here at Duke and beyond, about granting agencies and grant programs that can help identify a funding source that meets the research goals. While searching for the perfect research opportunity, keep in mind that submitting grant proposals at Duke is a team effort, and it is important to determine which opportunities the PI is eligible for, and those that best line-up with Duke and sponsor deadlines and submission cycles. Notify a Grants and Contracts Administrator (GCA) of intent to submit a proposal, as it is crucial to allow time to develop the best possible proposal.