Frequently Asked Questions

You can download our Website User Guide for general instructions on how to use the site.

To go to a specific section of this page, please use the following links:

General Questions about the Funding Opportunities Website
Questions about Subscription and Delegation features
Questions Regarding RFP Proposal Submission
General Questions Regarding Foundation or Corporate Funding


General Questions about the Funding Opportunities Website

Q: Who can access the website?

The Funding Opportunities website is open to all members of the Caltech community. When accessing the site off campus, you will be prompted to log in with Access ID credentials.

Q: What opportunities are included in this database?

The Funding Opportunities website includes calls for proposals (i.e., requests for proposals [RFPs]) released by foundations, public charities, associations, societies, and corporations. In some cases, these are widely released to universities nationally or internationally. In other cases, Caltech is among a subset of universities invited to submit proposals. The website also includes internal Caltech opportunities and Federal opportunities with limited submissions (i.e., those in which the institution is limited in the number of proposals it may submit).

Q: What about other Federal opportunities?

Non-limited Federal opportunities may be accessed from the external resources links on the home page of this site.

Q: How can I browse the database?

You may search by keyword or filter by a variety of categories. The default for the table of opportunities is to display all opportunities (including those that have closed) by order of the date posted. The table may be sorted by several different fields. Hovering over a given opportunity title will display its description. Clicking on a given opportunity title will take you to the detailed opportunity memo, which may also be downloaded as a PDF. Multiple opportunities may be downloaded as csv files or bulk PDF files.

Q: The database filters are too broad for me. Is there any way to search with more precision?

Yes. The keyword search feature allows you to search the title, description, and research areas of interest fields of the opportunity memos. For example, if you are looking for opportunities focused on specific themes (e.g., "climate" or "quantum") you may use the keyword search either on its own, or in combination with filters to narrow results. The keyword search accepts partial words (e.g., “chem” will yield results with either “chemical” or “chemistry” in one of the searchable fields; likewise, “neuro” will yield results with “neurodegenerative”, “neuroscience”, “neurobiology", etc.). Exact short phrases (e.g., “theoretical physics” or “computer science”) may also be entered.

Questions about Subscription and Delegation features 

Q: Is it possible to subscribe to receive information about new opportunities?

Yes. This website has a subscription feature that can be accessed from the Search or My Subscriptions tabs. Any number of subscriptions can be created by a user, each with its own set of pre-defined and/or keyword filters. Subscribers can choose to receive new opportunity notices for each opportunity (i.e., Individual) or via Weekly Digest. Users may also select delegates who are permitted to create or modify subscriptions on their behalf.

Q: How can I make subscriptions more tailored?

As when browsing the database, use the keyword field to help tailor subscriptions to your needs.

Q: How do I create a subscription?

From the Search page: Select your desired filters and/or keyword then click the "Subscribe to this Search" button. You may then name the subscription, select if you would like to receive emails for each opportunity (i.e., Individual) or via a Weekly Digest, and update the email address - only caltech.edu email addresses may receive subscriptions. The email field will be pre-loaded with the email address associated with your access.caltech account. You may enter an alias if you prefer, or if you are creating a subscription for someone else, enter their address.

From the My Subscriptions page: Click the "Create New Subscription" button, then proceed as described above.

Q: How can I subscribe to receive all opportunities?

To receive all opportunities, remove all filters and keywords and click "Subscribe to this Search".

Q: Can I subscribe a group email to receive subscription emails?

Yes, a group email can be entered as the email address when setting up a subscription. In advance, identify the subscription owner. Each group subscription can have up to one owner (the person who confirms the subscription) and one delegate (the person who sets up the subscription) – these are the only two individuals who will be able to alter the subscription on behalf of the group. While all group members will receive the confirmation email, only the group owner should confirm the subscription. Once confirmed, subscription emails will be sent to the group email.

Q: How do I delegate someone to create a subscription for me?

A delegate can create a subscription on your behalf by selecting your desired filters and/or keyword. After clicking "Subscribe to this Search", the delegate can designate you as the subscriber by entering your email in the email field. The confirmation email will be sent to the email provided. You will have the opportunity to approve, edit, or deny the subscription.  If this is the first time this delegate has created a subscription for you, or if you have previously denied this delegate, you will also be asked to approve or deny the delegate for this subscription.

Q: What happens if I deny a delegate?

Denying a delegate applies only to aspecific subscription - the denied delegate will not be able to make changes to or delete the subscription on your behalf. They may still make additional subscriptions. If you deny a delegate, you will need to approve or deny their delegate status each time they create a subscription for you.

Q: Can I remove a delegate from a subscription?

Yes, from the My Subscriptions page, you can remove a delegate from a subscription by clicking on their name in the delegate column. You will then need to confirm their removal. The delegate will no longer be able to modify or delete the subscription on your behalf.

Q: Can I approve a previously denied delegate?

Yes, from the My Delegations page, click on the delegate's name/email. You can then choose to change their approval status.


Questions Regarding Proposal Submission

Q: What does “Cognizant Office” mean in the opportunity memos?

The cognizant office is the administrative unit at Caltech that must be notified if you are planning to submit to a particular opportunity. Details on submission procedures are contained within each memo, including which administrative unit can help prepare a submission and administer an award should it be received. In some cases one unit is available to help prepare a submission (e.g., the Office of Foundation Relations), while another (the Office of Sponsored Research) will administer an award.

Q:  What are limited submissions?

Limited submissions are those in which the funder has restricted the number of submissions that may be made from a given institution. Limited submissions typically include internal deadlines for pre-proposals. Please contact the cognizant office in the opportunity memo of interest with any questions.

Q: What internal forms are required for submitting proposals?

All full proposals to non-federal funders require the Division Approval Form (DAF) and the Minimum Overhead Review & Approval (MORA) Form.

Q: What is Caltech’s indirect cost policy?

The policy document on Fiscal Year 2022 F&A Rate and Other Rates may be found here. In general, the minimum overhead on non-federal funds is 20% of total costs for awards of less than $350K per year and increases depending on annual gross funding up to 30% of total costs for awards of $500K or more per year.

Q: What if the funding agency does not permit overhead/indirect costs in budgets or permits them at a rate lower or higher than what Caltech requires?

In general, Caltech requires that the maximum permitted overhead be requested from the funding agency. If the funder permits less than what Caltech requires, the PI must pre-identify the source(s) that will be used to fulfill the minimum overhead requirement that cannot be collected from the sponsor. Please see the MORA form and instructions for further details.

Q: Who is eligible to submit proposals?

Per chapter 7 section 18 of the Caltech Faculty Handbook, “Faculty members of professorial rank and senior research faculty, under conditions described in Chapter 4, may serve as principal investigators on sponsored research projects. Members of the Beckman Institute, members of the professional staff, or, on rare occasions, other faculty or staff members or postdoctoral scholars, may serve as principal investigators under special circumstances with the approval of their Division Chair and the Vice Provost.” Please consult the Faculty Handbook, the PI Eligibility Memo or your Division Office for more details.

Q: For Postdoctoral Fellowships, what are the tax implications?

The U.S. federal government and state governments collect taxes on U.S. income, which includes fellowships. Taxes are automatically and regularly deducted from your paycheck.  In January or February each year, Caltech provides every employee with an itemized statement of taxable income for the prior calendar year (i.e. W2, 1099, 1042S or 592B).  Individuals use that statement to prepare and file both Federal and State taxes. Typically, the deadline for filing tax returns is April 15. For more information regarding taxes please consult the Postdoctoral Scholars Office or Caltech Human Resources.

Q: Who can help me prepare proposal submissions?

Please review the specific details on the opportunity memo of interest. In general, the Office of Foundation Relations is available to assist investigators in preparing proposal submissions to private foundations. This includes assistance in crafting, framing, and editing the narrative, reviewing the budget and budget justification, and liaising with the funding agency if there are detailed questions. The Office of Technology Transfer and Corporate Partnerships is available to assist with proposals to corporations.


Other Questions

Q: What about foundations or corporations that do not release calls for proposals?

For questions about foundations and foundation grantmaking please review the Office of Foundation Relations website, or contact the office. For corporations, please review the Office of Technology Transfer and Corporate Partnerships website or contact the office.

Q: What if a foundation or corporation invites me to submit a proposal?

Congratulations! For foundations, please contact the Office of Foundation Relations and for corporations, please contact the Office of Technology Transfer and Corporate Partnerships. We are here to assist with proposal submissions, including those invited by the funder. All Caltech policies and procedures for RFP opportunities are also applicable in the case of invited proposals.

Q: I’ve noticed a foundation or corporation has released a public call for proposals, but it is not featured on this website. What should I do?

Please let us know so that we may include it on this site. We are also here to assist with the proposal submission process as would be helpful. Proposal submission is dictated by funder guidelines and Caltech policies and procedures.

Q: How does the Office of Foundation Relations (OFR) interface with the Office of Sponsored Research (OSR)? Is OFR a part of Caltech’s Research Administration unit?

OFR is a unit of Advancement and Alumni Relations, but works closely with OSR on administration of grants from private funders. More information on Advancement and Caltech’s Break Through Campaign may be found here.