Obtaining a Letter of Support

Many grant proposals require a letter of support from an institutional signing official, typically provided by the Vice President for Research (VPR).  For letters of institutional support towards grant applications that (1) require an official signature from the VPR, or (2) commit the Office of Research financially to an award, we are standardizing the process. In addition, this streamlined process ensures that leadership within Colleges and Centers are aware of the request, and that these relevant university offices have been involved in decisions of financial support towards the application.  

As early as possible, optimally four weeks before the due date, the PI should determine whether an institutional letter from the Office of the VPR and/or the Provost is required. Extra time may be needed if financial commitments are requested, or to answer questions about the sponsor and/or collaborators that may arise prior to receiving an official signature. 

  1. If the letter is to approve and/or endorse a submission without the need for specific financial institutional commitment: The PI, through their Associate Dean for Research (ADR) and/or Center Director, must supply the following information with the request for a letter to the VPR (send to vpr@uky.edu): 
    1. a draft of the requested letter
    2. information about the funding opportunity 
    3. abstract of the project 
    4. date the letter should be returned to the PI to be included in the application  
  2. If the letter requires a financial commitment from the Office of the VPR: While it is understood that many grant applications call for (or reviews are favorably impacted by) institutional support, the first approach should be provision of support from the units involved in the research, which is best achieved and/or coordinated by the unit ADR(s) and/or Center Directors. The ADR and/or Center Director should send an email to the VPR (vpr@uky.edu): with the following information:
    1. description of the funding opportunity, including any matching or cost-share requirements
    2. breakdown of financial commitment sources - the financial request to the VPR must be clearly described 
    3. abstract of the project
    4. date the letter should be returned to the PI to be included in the application
    5. once the financial commitments have been discussed and approved, the ADR will send a draft of the letter to the VPR. The VPR will respond by providing the final letter, copying all relevant parties for budgeting purposes.

If a letter will be requested from the Provost, provide the information above to Rachel Kikendall (rachel.kikendall@uky.edu) who will review and obtain the Provost signature. Please also copy the college dean in these communications.

In all cases, the Proposal Development Office (PDO) can assist with creating a draft letter. If the PI and/or ADR wish to provide the draft, PDO will make various types of letter templates available on their password-protected website. They will also draft or edit letter drafts for the PI and ADR, but the ADR must be the one to email the VPR.

Once the VPR receives the final version of the letter, it will be signed and returned to the PI and ADR within two business days, depending on VPR availability.

Copies of a support letter that makes financial commitments, along with the email correspondence pertaining to it, should be retained by the PI until an awarded grant is closed or until the PI knows an award will not be made.  When a proposal for which the VPR has committed resources is not funded, the VPR would like to be notified for budgetary planning purposes.


Updated 5-12-22