Unsolicited Federal Funding. Click the agency title to go to a particular section.
Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences (IES). The Institute of Education Sciences accepts unsolicited applications for research, evaluation, statistics, and knowledge utilization projects that would make significant contributions to the mission of the Institute. For more information click here
Department of the Interior --US Geological Survey. Through its contracting process, the USGS considers unsolicited research proposals in support of any field of study that helps fulfill its mission objectives. These fields include, but are not limited to geology, hydrology, geography, cartography, biology, and remote sensing. Awards are made to those organizations and individuals whose proposals demonstrate the potential to advance earth science research to an exceptional degree. Proposals will stand a better chance for funding if they (1) demonstrate a close relationship to the USGS's research programs, and (2) are technically meritorious. More information can be found in their Guide for Submission of Unsolicited Proposals. *****My impression is that unsolicited research is rarely funded. Consider a CESU agreement as a potential funding mechanism. Click here to find more about CESUs. *****
All electronic applications to the National Institutes of Health must be submitted in response to a Funding Opportunity Announcement. NIH (and other Health and Human Services Agencies) have developed omnibus “Parent announcements” for use by applicants who wish to submit what were formerly termed “unsolicited” applications. Responding to such an omnibus or umbrella Parent FOA ensures that the correct application package is used and enables NIH to receive the application from Grants.gov. Parent announcements are NIH-wide, but some NIH institutes may limit their participation, so check the announcement's statement of interest. Read more About Parent Announcements. Search for active Program Announcements here.
National Science Foundation. Unsolicited proposals should be submitted to disciplinary core programs. Sometimes it is difficult to tell which programs are “core.” The best way is to go to the Division web page (e.g. “Environmental Biology (DEB).” Proposal format (page limits, margins, etc.) is dictated by NSF’s Grant Proposal Guide. Proposals that are returned without review because they are not compliant with the GPG cannot be resubmitted until the next deadline date. The semi-annual deadlines for submitting unsolicited proposals to the core programs in IOS and MCB are January 12 and July 12; in DEB the deadlines are January 9 and July 9.
NASA will foster and encourage the submission of unsolicited proposals relevant to Agency mission requirements. All unsolicited proposals will receive equitable handling and review. Contact between the Proposer and NASA technical personnel is encouraged before an extensive effort is expended in preparing a detailed proposal.” Guidelines for the preparation of formal unsolicited proposals may be found by clicking here. There are no specific dates for the submission of unsolicited proposals. However, funding availability is greater during the start of the Government's fiscal year cycle beginning October 1 of each year. All proposals should be submitted at least six (6) months in advance of the desired starting date.
While the majority of U.S. Agency for International Development funding is competitively awarded through specific requests or invitations, USAID will accept unsolicited proposals. See Guidelines for Submitting Unsolicited Contract Proposals. See the USAID website for a map of countries where USAID provides assistance and more information on current priorities.