Sponsored grants for research on campus

By Aaron Salazar

Through their research and applying for grants, faculty members of Cal Poly Pomona are helping the university live up to its “learn by doing” motto.

During the 2012-13 fiscal year, CPP and its faculty requested $37.8 million in funding. This past fiscal year, they requested $53.9 million, an increase of 43 percent.

Faculty members contact external foundations looking for grants to do their research. A grant is essentially a sponsored program for the university and its researcher.

“A sponsored program is a funded program where the dollars for the project are provided from an agency or a funding organization external to the university,” said Vicki Stepp, director of Research and Sponsored Programs. “If you do not request, you are not going to win.”

CPP’s professors do their part in requesting the funds. Faculty consult with the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, which helps them prepare their budget, navigate policy, prepare certification and acceptance forms, and finalize the proposal for submission. The grant process, start to finish, could take up to six months.

The offices or departments that the faculty member works in can award intramural grants to them, if one is available.

“Those are more like seed money, just to get them started,” said Frank Ewers, associate vice president for research. “We [Cal Poly Pomona] give maybe 30 or 40 of those a year.”

For CPP, the College of Science faculty have the most grants.

“In terms of the dollars brought in, the College of Science generally brings in the most,” said Ewers. “College of Engineering is maybe second, and College of Agriculture third.”

Many of the grants that the university receives require a “match” or cost sharing. Through the “match” or cost-sharing program, the external funders are guaranteed that the university is backing a project and invested in its success.

“Some agencies may want to show that the institution is supporting this proposal,” said Ewers. “They expect cost sharing that the university is putting some resources into it.”

PIVOT is also a valuable resource for the university. The research tool will automatically email the staff member funding opportunities matched to his or her keywords.

“The PIVOT system makes you aware of grant opportunities in your discipline,” said Ewers. “You program it yourself so that you’ll get that input.”

PIVOT also allows professors access to other researchers’ profiles, and makes the grant process quicker.

“It has resumes of researchers from across the country, so you can find out who are people within the CSU that [you] could collaborate with,” said Ewers.

The new California budget proposal could free up some extra funds as well.

“There is special money set aside for innovation and education,” said Ewers. “[CPP] just applied for a grant for about $2.5 million that was a result of the new state budget.”

Information on the recipients of the grant has not been released yet.


Sungah Choi / The Poly Post


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