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External Sources of Support

Grant-seeking and proposal development are scholarly activities that can help faculty members focus on the larger context of their research, scholarship, and creative activity and encourage articulation of the importance and impact of their research and scholarship. Applying for external funding is an incentive to think about your work’s relevance within the field and to articulate your ideas to a broader audience, as well as an opportunity to bring resources to campus for the benefit of your colleagues and students.


The faculty’s extraordinary success in obtaining funding for their work from external sources is a strong indicator of the caliber of the research, scholarship, and creative activities conducted at Trinity University. The Director of Sponsored Research provides assistance to faculty and staff who are seeking external funds to support their research or programmatic ideas. Assistance may include searching for funding opportunities that fit with their ideas, preparing grant and contract applications, providing institutional documentation, and reviewing and/or editing drafts. If an award is made, the Director will negotiate the contract or subcontract, if needed.

Trinity students as well as the entire university benefit from the external funding that faculty and staff bring to campus. Many grants awarded to faculty members support undergraduate to conduct research during the summer, to work off-campus in internships and service-learning, and to travel to professional conferences. Trinity also benefits from the external funds which may include funding for administrative support and research related expenditures, incluiding cost of hiring individuals who work on grant funded opportunities, the replacement of equipment, and start-up funding for new faculty.  In addition, the receipt of external funding is one measure of a university’s contribution to discovery and knowledge creation which contribute directly to Trinity's broader reputation and national recognition. 

It is vitally important that faculty members keep other members of the Trinity community informed of their application activity. Reasons include:

  • Trinity University as a whole is affected by external awards received, because additional staff time is necessary to administer funds and do the appropriate accounting, and faculty grants affect salary and benefits calculations and annual budgeting;
  • Trinity incurs liabilities and oversight for compliance of external funds;
  • Trinity also incurs liabilities for funded projects involving students as researchers, especially international projects;
  • Funded absences affect colleagues and Trinity’s ability to offer its curriculum;
  • The Faculty and Contract Staff Handbook has clear policies regarding the solicitation and administration of external funds;
  • Some funding sources limit the number of applications from an institution, so conflicts may arise if others are unaware of faculty grant-seeking activities; and
  • Trinity keeps track of faculty applications as an indicator of faculty research/creative activities and productivity.


Listed below are people with whom faculty should discuss all external applications and from whom signatures will be required:

  • Department chair. Your chair can evaluate the project and provide formative feedback. Meet with your chair as early as possible in the application process, especially if sabbatical or course replacement is involved.

  • Dr. Peggy Sundermeyer, Director of Sponsored Projects, can provide consulting support during the proposal process and can determine whether you need to discuss your proposal with the following offices:

    • The Business Office will review the proposed budget for its financial implications and will authorize any matching funds involved.

    • Dr. David Ribble, The Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs: Budget and Research can supply final approval as the institutional authority.

    • The Vice President for Academic Affairs and/or the University President. If your proposal requires a letter of support from the University’s senior leadership, Dr. Sundermeyer can assist with procuring these.

    • Foundations Relations. Within the division of Alumni Relations and Development, the Director of Foundation Relations is a valuable resource to help faculty identify and position their proposals to be competitive.

Given the above considerations, Trinity has implemented an internal proposal approval process which should be submitted at least four (4) working days prior to the submission deadline. Engaging the support of the Director and others earlier in the process allows you to benefit from their expertise and assistance.

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