To enhance the ability of NAU researchers and scholars to compete successfully for major ($100K+ per year in direct costs) extramural research grants.


  • To support the generation of preliminary data that can be used to develop competitive research proposals, especially (but not exclusively) to the NIH;
  • To support planning activities that help to build and solidify interdisciplinary and inter-institutional collaborations for sponsored research opportunities; and,
  • To support the acquisition of advanced, state-of-the-art research equipment that will help NAU researchers incorporate the most advanced processes and techniques into their sponsored project proposals.

Types of Funding

Planning Grants

Planning grants are up to 6 months in duration in amounts up to $25,000. The primary focus of planning grants is on preparatory work for interdisciplinary and inter-institutional collaborations.

Examples of planning grant funding uses include:

  • secondary analysis of existing data from an interdisciplinary perspective to generate study hypotheses;
  • preparation of joint publications from an interdisciplinary team to strengthen their competitiveness for NIH funding; or
  • support for the logistics of preparing a center grant or program project application, including convening a pre-proposal advisory board.

A planning grant must lead directly to:

  • the submission of one or more extramural funding applications (on which NAU is the prime applicant) each requesting $100,000 or more in total direct costs and full indirect recovery; or,
  • the submission of a Preliminary Studies grant application

Preliminary Studies Grants

Preliminary studies grants focus specifically on activities such as conducting preliminary research to inform study design, demonstrating feasibility of research protocols, pilot testing novel methodologies, or initiating and establishing new interdisciplinary research collaborations. Preliminary studies grants can be up to one year in duration and up to $100,000 may be requested.

Examples of preliminary studies grant funding activities:

  • proof of principle/concept studies for new methodologies
  • feasibility studies
  • measurement validation studies
  • pilot intervention studies to inform sample size and power estimation
  • development of new technologies that address a societal need
  • new methods for structuring or analyzing data sets

A preliminary studies grant must lead directly to:

  • the submission of one or more extramural funding applications (on which NAU is the prime applicant) each requesting $500,000 or more in total direct costs. Full indirect recovery is required.

Equipment Acquisition Grants -New!-

Equipment acquisition grants provide researchers the opportunity to obtain advanced, state-of-the-art equipment that will enhance competitiveness for obtaining extramural funding.  Equipment acquisition grants can be up to 6 months in duration and up to $50,000 can be requested.

An equipment acquisition grant must lead directly to:

  • The submission of one or more extramural funding applications where NAU is receiving $250,000 or more in total direct costs.  Full indirect recovery on such applications is required.


NAU “regular” employees who are eligible to serve as Principal Investigators/Project Directors on extramural grants are eligible to apply for PGP grants.

When to apply

Important Dates:




Letters of Intent Due

November 1

May 1

Invitations to submit full proposals

December 1

June 1

Full Proposals Due

February 1

August 1

Award Notification

March 15

September 15

Award Activation/Project Start Date

April 1

October 1

Project End Date

March 31

September 30

How to apply

Letters of Intent

Letters of Intent may not exceed 3 pages (12 point type and 1 inch margins) and must provide the information described below: 

  1. Names and unit affiliations of PI, CoPIs, and any other key personnel (including those from other institutions, if applicable).
  2. Type of grant (i.e., Planning, Equipment Acquisition or Preliminary Studies)
  3. Working title or broad area of investigation
  4. Funding Amount Requested (estimate if exact amount is not yet known)
  5. Brief summary of the request (e.g., “This proposal requests funding to support travel and planning activities associated with the development of a collaborative proposal under the NSF Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology Program.  Etc.”).  Describe the activities that will be funded with the PGP grant and explain how they will contribute to the development of the deliverable proposal(s).
  6. Brief summary of the project(s) that will be the subject of the deliverable proposal(s) (e.g., “Northern Arizona University and the University of Michigan will collaborate on the development of a proposal to establish a Center for Applied Research in Security Innovation through the NSF’s CREST Program. Etc.”) What is the significance of this project to the scientific/scholarly discipline(s)?  What are its overarching goals? What is the potential impact of the project?  If more than one extramural proposal will be delivered, provide this information for each unique project.
  7. Briefly describe the nature of the sponsor’s program(s) to which extramural projects described in No. 6 above (e.g., NSF CREST Program).  How does the project(s) align with the program’s overall goals?  If the proposal will be submitted as an unsolicited proposal, how does the project(s) align with the sponsor’s overall funding goals? 
  8. Briefly describe how the PGP funds will be used and how they will support the PGP activities. 
  9. Other Information:  Any other information which the applicant would like considered.

Letters of Intent must be submitted electronically to ovp-research@nau.edu 

Full Proposals

Information on the specific format and content of full proposals will be provided to applicants who are invited to submit full proposals.  Generally speaking, however, full proposals will follow standard formats (i.e., abstract, narrative, budget and justification and CVs) and narratives will usually be limited to 7 pages or less.

Questions?  Contact Lesley Cephas at ext. 3-8288 or Lesley.cephas@nau.edu.

Office of the Vice President for Research
Northern Arizona University
P.O. Box 4087
Flagstaff, AZ 86011-4087
(928) 523-8288 VOICE
(928) 523-1075 FAX