The Research Foundation (RF) is a private, not-for-profit educational corporation chartered by the State of New York in 1963. The City University of New York (CUNY) is the nation's largest urban public university. The RF supports CUNY faculty and staff in identifying and obtaining external support (pre-award) from government and private sponsors and is responsible for the administration of all such funded programs (post-award).  According to the most recently published Annual Report, 2014, awards exceeded $394 million. Program areas include, but are not limited to, research in the natural and social sciences, training, curriculum planning, assessment, job placement, program evaluation, media production, and software development.

Special responsibilities include management of a planned giving program; liaison with governmental agencies and foundations; negotiation of agreements; facility construction and renovation; protection and commercialization of intellectual property; and compliance with applicable standards in research involving human subjects, animal care, environmental and radiological safety, and conflicts of interest.

Although the RF works closely with CUNY, it is governed by its own Board of Directors, issues its own independently audited financial statements, operates its own payroll system and fringe benefits plan, and purchases a wide variety of goods and services in accordance with its own rules and regulations.

The RF was created because the distinctive environment of sponsored programs demands flexibility and the capacity to respond quickly to a wide variety of conditions and changing sponsor requirements.  Approximately 12,000 full- and part-time staff are employed by the RF annually and can be found in the laboratories, theaters, studios, libraries, and offices of CUNY's 24 colleges and professional schools, as well as at numerous off-campus sites.

In addition to supporting CUNY, RF provides direct administrative services to other not-for-profit organizations through GrantsPlus. The RF and GrantsPlus combine skilled and attentive staff with cutting edge technology to deliver high-quality services to its clients.

The RF owns and operates out of its headquarters in New York City's Times Square.