30 Helpful Tips for Preparing a Visit with a Funding Agency

The questions below might be helpful to prepare for a visit with a funding agency as you pursue external funding. We hope you will have a successful visit! 

  1. Which Request for Proposals (RFP) is in focus?
  2. Do you have a previously denied proposal that you will be revising for the current RFP?
  3. What funding have you already applied for?
  4. What are the funding agency’s current funding priorities?
  5. What has the funding agency already funded for previous versions of this RFP?
  6. What is the timeline/deadline for submission of required documents (e.g., Letter of Interest (LOI), preproposal, full proposal)?
  7. Have you identified the right division and program officer(s) to visit?
  8. Have you made any contact (e.g., email, phone call) with the program officer(s)?
  9. Have you made an appointment with the program officer(s)?
  10. Who are your collaborators? Will they be on the visit with you?

  1. Are there any reports aligned with the RFP that the funding agency has highlighted?
  2. What potential ideas are a fit for the RFP?
  3. What potential ideas that are a fit for the RFP and are aligned with your research?
  4. Have you constructed a concept paper to share with the program officer?
  5. Have you spoken to the program officer to inquire about sending the concept paper in advance of the visit?
  6. What is the “on the ground impact” of your research?
  7. Are you prepared to explain your discipline/research/field?
  8. Are you confident in the aim (e.g., feasibility, exploratory, intervention, measurement) of the project?
  9. Can you translate your research language into language that speaks to the funding agency?
  10. Have you identified relevant training that could strengthen your grant writing and related skills?
  11. Does the application of the research stand out?
  12. What thinking have you given to scaffolding or expanding your research?
  13. Is the outcome of your scholarship a product that can be patented?
  14. Have you identified a business entity with which you can collaborate?
  15. What university resources are available (See boilerplate)?
  16. What are the interdisciplinary elements of your scholarship?
  17. What is your “elevator speech” for the project?
  18. What are the salient problems that are creating the most conflict in the settings or populations you are interested in?
  19. Does your school director or associate dean for research know that you are visiting the funding agency?
  20. How can you help the funding agency (e.g., be a reviewer)


  1. “Program officer” is being used generally to refer to whomever you might meet at the funding agency.
  2. “Funding agency” is being used generally to refer to all types of entities (e.g., local, state, federal, private foundations, private donors).