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Federal and State Funding Sources

The federal government is the largest source of extramural support to universities. Lead agencies include the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Education and the Department of Agriculture.

Funding practices vary widely among agencies. Some agencies issue Broad Agency Announcements with no specific deadlines. Others announce specific programs with deadlines or target dates for the receipt of proposals. Unsolicited proposals are sometimes accepted, but usually will be noted in the announcement.

Areas of interest for a particular agency may be broad or narrow. Sometimes long lead times are provided for the preparation of a proposal, while some programs require a quick response. The key in responding to proposals is to become familiar with the agency mission and its standard practices. Each agency's web site is a good place to begin exploring. If you wish more information or clarity about an agency, please contact our office.

The desired type of initial contact with an agency also varies. An agency may require one or all of the following: letter of inquiry, letter of intent, pre-proposal or white paper, full proposal. Some competitions have two or more stages.

In short, practices of funding agencies vary greatly. Care should be taken to adhere to the sponsor's guidelines. These guidelines are often provided on agency web sites, which may include links to application guidelines or downloadable applications.

Federal and State Agencies on the WWW

Federal Register
The Federal Register is the official daily publication for rules, proposed rules, and notices of federal agencies and organizations, as well as executive orders and other Presidential documents. A searchable database is available on the World Wide Web containing the publication from 1995 through the present.

Last Edited: 2010-02-25 ac