In conjunction with SMU’s Office of Research Innovation, the Simmons School offers a variety of services that assist Simmons researchers with all stages of a funded project—from the 1st stage of identifying a funding source to the final stage of closing a project.

Project Stages

Identifying Grant Opportunities and Funding Sources

Researcher Dr. Stephanie Al Otaiba with young student.SMU’s Office of Research Innovation (ORI) can guide you through the process of finding funding. ORI maintains databases such as the SPINplus database, Foundation Director Online Professional, Duke University Funding database, and the Office of National Fellowships and Awards. ORI's research specialists are available for consultation, and research librarians with CUL, can help you identify grants that align with your particular research interests. Simmons’ Center on Research and Evaluation (CORE) also regularly sends Grants Alerts emails to keep researchers abreast of current opportunities as they arise. Please contact the Center on Research and Evaluation (CORE) ( if you would like to receive these emails or have any suggestions to expand the funding agencies highlighted in these.

CORE's Study Design Services

CORE offers a variety of valuable services to assist Simmons faculty and staff in the design and analysis of research. Their services include instrument design, data collection, data processing and management, quantitative and qualitative data analytics, and consulting on all aspects of research development.

Writing the Grant Proposal

Youthful scientists conducting experiments in a laboratoryOnce you are ready to apply for a sponsored research project, please contact Kathryn Canterbury (, Simmons Assistant Dean for Grants and Research. Both ORI and CORE offers resources to help you write the proposal. For ORI writing assistance, visit ORI’s guide to grants; for CORE’s writing assistance, visit CORE’s consulting page.

Preparing SMU's Proposal Initiation and Approval Form (PIAF)

Kathryn can help you prepare the SMU Proposal Initiation and Approval Form (PIAF), which is an internal review and approval document that is required for all proposals for external funding. Kathryn must submit the PIAF with an abstract/statement of work and budget justification to ORI at least 10 days prior to the proposal submission deadline. The form comprises 8 sections, 6 of which are completed by the PI and Kathryn, 1 of which is developed by Kathryn, and 1 of which constitutes a signatures section that is processed by ORI.

Proposal Initiation and Approval Form (PIAF)

Completed by PI with Kathryn Canterbury's assistance

Research participant jogging on a treadmill in a room for data collection

  • Section I: PI & CoPI Information
  • Section II: Proposal/Agency Information
  • Section III: Subcontract Information (if applicable)
  • Section IV: Proposal Characteristics
  • Section V: Anti-plagiarism Scan Instructions: Submit a Turnitin plagiarism report to ORI as a PDF. If you do not have access to this service through Canvas, please contact the Help Desk ( or call 8-HELP) to request enrollment in the "Office of Research Innovation" course and for assistance building the plagiarism report.
  • Section VI: Research Compliance
Completed by Kathryn

Routed via DocuSign by ORI

  • Section VIII: Signatures: As soon as all signatures are secured, each signatory receives an email with an executed copy of the form.

A flow chart showing the Signature Work Flow process: GMS->Director->PI->Dept.Chair->FO(if applicable)->College Dean->AVP for Research and Graduate Studies->All signatories recieve a fully executed copy.

Submitting the Proposal

The P.I. should work with Kathryn and ORI to submit the grant application to the agency.

Setting up the Project

  1. People gathered in a classroom engaging in learning activities A formal notification of an award from the funding agency must be received by ORI and approved by an ORI Authorized Organization Representative (AOR) before expenses are incurred on a new grant or contract. When the notification is received, ORI prepares an Award Authorization & Approval Form (AAAF), which provides an audit trail and serves as a university record-keeping document that informs the administration of earned awards with expected commitments to resources, effort, and possible cost sharing. The AAAF--including the form, award document, and SMU budget form--is routed through DocuSign. Once all signatures are secured, each signatory receives a fully executed copy along with a timeline summary of the signatures. For new awards, the executed copy contains the new assigned Grant Number (GXXXXXX), fund, and organization account numbers.

  2. Requesting Research Space: Discuss your project space needs with Kathryn, who will in turn initiate the process to secure appropriate space.

  3. Research Compliance Training: All investigators and key personnel must complete compliance training prior to initiating research at SMU. Refer to SMU’s Research Compliance site for specific training opportunities, and pay particular attention to the requirements for Human Subjects Training and Responsible Conduct of Research. Consult Kathryn for additional information or interpretation of requirements.

  4. Pre-Award Spending: If your grant-funded project is eligible for pre-award spending, Kathryn will complete the Pre-Award Approval Form and provide the requested information and a justification for the pre-award costs. ORI routes the form for signatures through DocuSign.

Grant Management & Closeout

Scientist conducting research experiments in laboratory settingOver the life of a project, Kathryn can assist with staff and consultant hiring and with the preparation and submission of miscellaneous post-award transactions, including Budget Change Requests (BCRs), invoices, travel documents, payroll, purchasing, accounts receivable, audit preparation, and closeout reporting. SMU Research Compliance uses the Mentor system to manage IRB review with human subjects. For any questions on the Mentor system reach out to Research Compliance. For issues regarding the protection and commercialization of intellectual property (IP), refer to IP and Technology Management.

For additional information about Simmons' Research Resources for Faculty and Staff, please contact:

Kathryn Canterbury
Simmons Assistant Dean for Grants & Research