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Fellowship and Grant Submission Guidelines

Please check our funding opportunities page for fellowship and other funding opportunities.

Guidelines for Postdocs Submitting Grants

All proposals submitted for external funding require the review and approval of the Sponsored Program Administration (SPA) for Vanderbilt University (VU) and the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) for Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC). SPA and OSP are responsible for providing the official signature, electronic or physical, for all proposals submitted on behalf of VU and VUMC respectively. With very few exceptions faculty members/principal investigators, or their designee, are not authorized to sign or submit any form of a request for external funding that does not also include SPA or OSP’s official approval since awards are made to the institution and not the individual.

Direct-to-individual funding mechanisms (such as NSF postdoctoral fellowships), while not submitted through SPA or OSP, require VU or VUMC to be notified of the submission. The link to submit such a notification is provided below.

Before beginning the grant writing process, postdocs should consult with the relevant departmental/program administrator to determine if their current funding source enables effort to be expended on writing and preparing grant applications. Postdocs funded 100% on a federal research grant cannot devote effort to grant writing and should work with their faculty mentor to determine if alternative funds are available during the proposal preparation period to support a percentage of their effort.

In preparing your grant application please note:

  • A postdoc may serve as the principal investigator (PI) of a grant, upon written approval of the faculty mentor and the department chair (VUMC) or the relevant dean (VU). There should be clear evidence that the postdoc has the experience and expertise to function as PI and manage the responsibilities to direct the proposed research program, direct the budgeted personnel, manage the budget, and ensure that the research is carried in compliance with all applicable University rules and regulations as well as those of the sponsoring agency.
  • A postdoc may serve as a co-PI without prior approval, as long as another Vanderbilt faculty member (typically their mentor) is the PI.  Should a postdoc leave the University, any awarded grant funds would remain at Vanderbilt unless otherwise negotiated between the PI, co-PI and funding agency.
  • If an externally funded program requires that a postdoc be listed as a principal investigator (PI) or co-PI, no specific approval is required. SPA or OSP notification of the submission is required.