Laker Extramural Proposal Development Support (LEPDS)


The Center for Scholarly and Creative Excellence is pleased to announce a new grant opportunity for Grand Valley faculty. The Laker Extramural Proposal Development Support will provide small grants of up to $2,000 to help faculty make their external grant proposals and applications more competitive and fundable. It is expected that faculty who receive LEPDS funding will apply for an external grant or fellowship from a major funding agency within one year of receiving their grant.

Eligibility and Requirements: Full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty are eligible to apply for a Laker Extramural Proposal Development Support grant.

Individual faculty members have unique needs regarding the kinds of investments and professional development that will help them become better positioned to apply (or reapply) for and receive external grants and fellowships. In order to ensure that faculty are requesting the best possible form of funding for their individual needs, faculty are strongly encouraged to discuss with the Office of Sponsored Programs activities for which they plan to seek support. Below is a list of possible activities for which faculty can seek LEPDS funding:

  • Travel support to meet with possible grant collaborators (estimated support per request: $1,000)
  • Travel and registration support to attend well-regarded grant-writing workshops, ideally sponsored by funders (estimated support per request: $1,000 - $1,800).
  • Funds to hire an expert to review and critique a proposal prior to submission.
  • Funding to engage an evaluation expert to help develop a proposal’s formative and summative evaluation plan and assessment tools.
  • Funding to attend writing workshops or retreats to prepare manuscripts for submission and thereby improve one’s publication record.

Upon successful submission of a faculty member’s grant proposal to a major funding agency, the individual will receive $1,000 to be used as additional research incentive funds. Salary supplementation is not an acceptable use of incentive funds. For the purposes of this program, a major funding agency is defined as a federal, private, or corporate grant-maker that is national or international in scope and uses a peer review process to review proposals and make awards.



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To be considered for a Laker Extramural Proposal Development Support grant, the following materials should be emailed to Robert Smart, Vice Provost for Research Administration, [email protected]

  1. A summary (2,000 words or less) of (a) your research or scholarly project; (b) the proposed proposal development or improvement activity, timeline, and associated costs (not to exceed $2,000), and; (c) how this grant will enhance your professional development and promote future grant activity.
  2. A brief description of the external grant or fellowship program for which you plan to develop a proposal, its deadline, and your estimated budget amount.
  3. A one-sentence statement of willingness to share what you learn with other faculty members.
  4. A copy of your current CV.

Deadline: Proposals will be accepted and awards will be made on an ongoing basis throughout the year contingent upon the availability of funds. LEPDS funds are made available through a portion of recovered indirect costs on federal grants received by the University. Continued support is contingent upon receipt of additional awards with indirect costs.

Evaluation and Selection Process: Funding will be determined through a competitive process conducted by a three-person committee consisting of the Vice Provost for Research Administration, the Director of Sponsored Programs, a representative from the applicant’s Dean’s Office. Proposals will be judged on the completeness of the application, the quality of the research or scholarly project and perceived value of the work, the likelihood that the applicant will complete and submit an external proposal in the timeline provided, and the faculty member’s record of scholarship.


  1. CUR Dialogues

“CUR Dialogues is designed to bring faculty and administrators to the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area to interact with federal agency program officers and other grant funders. Attendees will also have the chance to engage in several networking opportunities.”

  • Typically a 3-day workshop in mid- to late February
  • The CUR Dialogues typically includes half-day grant development and writing workshop
  1. CUR Proposal Writing Institute
  • Four-day institute to bring draft proposal to nearly completed stage
  • Typically held during the summer
  • For people who have identified a funding source/program and have begun writing a draft proposal (draft submitted one week before Institute)
  • Also possible to explore hosting a CUR Proposal Writing Workshop on our campus
  1. National Science Foundation Grants Conferences
    • These typically have ½-day grant writing workshops.
    • Also have break-out sessions in wide range of program areas (biological sciences, geosciences, CAREER, etc.)
    • Generally held twice a year
  2. Live seminars or recorded webinars by Academic Research Funding Strategies, LLC
    • “Competing for Funding from the National Science Foundation” – 3 hours
    • “Competing for Funding from the National Institutes of Health” – 3 hours
    • “How to Write Successful Grants for Instrumentation” – 2 hours
    • “How to Write Successful Proposals for NSF CAREER, DoD Young Investigator and Other Grants for Early-Career Researchers” – 3 hours
  3. NIH Regional Seminars
    • “Each year, the Office of Extramural Research (OER) sponsors the NIH Regional Seminars on Program Funding and Grants Administration. These seminars are intended to help demystify the application and review process, clarify Federal regulations and policies, and highlight current areas of special interest or concern. …The seminars are appropriate for grants administrators, researchers new to NIH, and graduate students.”
    • Always include ½ day workshops on best practices and nuts and bolts of putting together NIH applications



  1. Serve as a grant reviewer for a major funder, such as the NEH, ACLS, or NSF. Please note that, contrary to popular opinion, previous experience as a grantee is NOT required to be a reviewer.

Ask another faculty member or expert in the field who has been successful in securing research grants to serve as a mentor during the external grant application process or read your grant proposal and provide comments and suggestions. Be sure to discuss with your potential collaborator your expectations for their role.

Page last modified April 5, 2021