Grants Hub services begin for research faculty and staff

The Grants Hub, a centralized research support unit that will provide a broad range of services to help researchers obtain and manage external funding, launched this week.

First announced in September by the Office of the Vice President for Research, the Grants Hub will work closely with researchers, departments, centers and colleges to ensure researchers have access to resources they need to pursue and manage sponsored funding at all levels.

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In its initial phase, Grants Hub services will be aimed at helping new faculty with their first grant applications and providing project management services for experienced faculty pursuing more challenging proposal opportunities. The hub also will provide basic research administration training.

Response to a need

The Grants Hub is the culmination of discussions with stakeholders across the university to address President Steven Leath's goal to expand Iowa State's research enterprise. Central support for proposal development also was a top-priority recommendation from the president's Committee on Enhancing Institutional Excellence.

"Our researchers have accomplished great things in the past, and with the wealth of talent we have here at Iowa State, I know there is tremendous ability to do even more," Leath said. "The new Grants Hub ensures that our research faculty and staff have the resources and guidance they need to navigate challenging grant solicitations, pursue funding and take their ideas to fruition."

The Grants Hub's initial design was shaped by comments offered last spring at vice president for research Sarah Nusser's listening sessions and numerous conversations with colleges on how best to support their faculty.

Collaboration is key

Grants Hub staff will collaborate with related research support units to help researchers prepare and submit proposals to external funding agencies and manage awards responsibly. The hub has been working with the Office of Sponsored Programs Administration, Sponsored Programs Accounting, Office for Responsible Research, ISU Foundation, Office for Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer, and other key units to set the stage for integrated services.

"To advance research at Iowa State, we need to support all of our faculty, across campus," Nusser said. "Faculty, center directors, department chairs and our college partners offered very good suggestions for reducing administrative burden and enhancing the scholarly productivity of ISU researchers.

"The Grants Hub is using these suggestions to extend existing campus support and increase Iowa State's capacity to seek sponsored funding and engage with new research funding opportunities," she said.

Coming soon: Help desk

The hub's help desk will be launched in the coming weeks. It will serve as a repository of resources and institutional information. Staff also will field questions related to pre- and post-award processes.

The Grants Hub is working on a post-award unit as well, and constructing an institutional database that will be valuable for proposals, such as training grants, that require extensive institution-wide information.

Discussions also are underway for the Grants Hub to institutionalize broader impacts services currently supported by SP@ISU and EPSCoR grants from the National Science Foundation. 

Faculty and staff interested in learning more about Grants Hub services may send an email to In serving campus, the research office will work closely with the colleges to ensure that researcher needs are met. By late spring, a website will be available that provides direct access to services and resources.