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Grants are non-repayable funds or products disbursed or given by one party (grant makers), often a government department, corporation, foundation or trust, to a recipient, often (but not always) a nonprofit entity, educational institution, business or an individual. In order to receive a grant, some form of "Grant Writing" often referred to as either a proposal or an application is required.

Most grants are made to fund a specific project and require some level of compliance and reporting. The grant writing process involves an applicant submitting a proposal (or submission) to a potential funder, either on the applicant's own initiative or in response to a Request for Proposal from the funder. Other grants can be given to individuals, such as victims of natural disasters or individuals who seek to open a small business. Sometimes grant makers require grant seekers to have some form of tax-exempt status, be a registered nonprofit organization or a local government.

For example, tiered funding for a freeway are very large grants negotiated at government policy level. However smaller grants may be provided by a government agency (e.g. municipal government).

Project-related funding involving business, communities, and individuals is often arranged by application either in writing or online.

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  • ✪ NIH Grants Process: The Big Picture
  • ✪ Pell Grants - Find Pell Grant Money for College
  • ✪ FAFSA Application for Grants - How to Get Approved


We developed this video to help you understand and navigate the National Institutes of Health's grants process. The video will address why you should familiarize yourself with the structure of NIH how to find a funding opportunity and prepare yourself to apply the roles of the various NIH staff with whom you may interact and take you through the grants process from peer review to award and beyond If you are interested in grant funding, you would be well served to take the time to understand the mission of the NIH and that of each of the NIH Institutes and Centers. It can help as you look for funding opportunities, and seek contacts with whom to discuss your ideas. The mission of NIH as a whole is to seek fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and the application of that knowledge to enhance health lengthen life, and reduce illness and disability. 27 different Institutes and Centers make up the NIH 24 of which offer grant opportunities and fund grant awards. While the vast majority of grants processes and policies apply to all NIH Institutes and Centers, there is some variability in grant policies and funding strategies from one institute to the next. Each IC is separately funded by congress. They have their own mission, scientific priorities, budget and funding strategies. At NIH once size definitely does not fit all! So do your homework, get on the web and learn more about the institutes in your scientific area of interest. Although it's certainly beneficial, you do not need to know one institute from another in order to start the process and find a funding opportunity. It is important to note that in order to submit a grant application to NIH you must respond to an active funding opportunity advertises funding opportunities centrally in the Federal portal for finding grant opportunities across the Federal government as well as the NIH's Guide for Grants and Contracts. And each funding opportunity lists the NIH Institute and centers that will accept applications submitted in response to that opportunity NIH uses various types of funding opportunities for different purposes. Program announcements (Pa's) highlight an area of focus of the institute or institutes that are issuing the announcement. They are generally open for three years and follow a standard due date schedule with three due dates a year. Requests for applications (also referred to as RFAs) are a bit different. They tend to be more focused with a more narrowly defined scope. They generally have only a single due date instead of the recurring due dates found in program announcements. There is money specifically set aside for requests for applications and the text of the funding opportunity will tell you how much money is set aside and often how many awards NIH expects to make. The vast majority of what NIH funds is unsolicited research. An investigator may have a great idea and they may not find a regular PA or RFA that fits. No worries. We love new ideas. You just need to find what we call a "parent announcement" to apply to. A parent announcement is a type of program announcement that accepts applications for virtually any topic that spans the breadth of the NIH mission. NIH issues parent announcements for our most common types of grant programs. NIH offers a variety of types of grant programs. Take your time to determine which type of program meets your needs whether it be research project, small business programs , training and career development, or large research centers. How do you know what type of program is right for you? Certainly talk to colleagues and talk to your NIH program official. You can also do your homework and learn about types of grant programs on the NIH website at As a novice start in the "About Grants" section of the website. There, you will find a link for "Types of Grants". This links takes you to a page that allows you to search or browse based on your needs Lets make sure we are ready to get this road trip started. You or someone you work with has an important research idea that has high impact. You may have already found a funding opportunity specific to your interest, or identified a generic parent announcement to which to apply. Or maybe not. Either way, you should contact NIH staff to talk about your idea and how it aligns with the mission and priorities of the Institute. When writing your proposal, you obviously want to make it as strong as possible. Highlight the impact of the project, and directly address the 5 following scored review criteria: significance investigators innovation approach and environment All NIH funding opportunity announcements include a section that provides information on review. It provides details of exactly what information NIH needs from you and how to assemble the application. It is crucial that you carefully read the funding opportunity announcement as well as the application instructions in order to develop a responsive application. You can download the application forms and instructions from the funding opportunity announcement. One thing specified in the funding opportunity is the requirement for grant applications to be submitted electronically. To be eligible to apply, each applicant institution must obtain a Dun and Bradstreet number, and have a current registration in multiple Federal systems including the System for Award Management, and NIH's eRA Commons. Principal investigators on NIH grant applications need to have an eRA Commons account that is affiliated with the applicant organization in order to apply. Investigators should work with their office of sponsored research or equivalent to ensure all required registrations are complete it could take up to 8 weeks to complete required registrations, so start the process as soon as you think you may be submitting an application to NIH Funding opportunity announcements also include NIH staff contacts. Let's take a look at the NIH extramural team so you can understand who you should contact and when. Each institute and center at NIH that issues grants has grants management program, and review staff. Let's look a bit more closely at the roles of these people in the grants process Program officials are responsible for the scientific, programmatic and technical aspects of a grant. Program officials officials identify areas of science in which more research is needed and communicate this information through funding opportunity announcements, workshops, and conferences. Program staff discusses research concepts with applicants, they try to listen to the review of grant applications that fall within their portfolio, they make funding recommendations, and they monitor progress once the grant is awarded. Program officials serve as point of contact for guidance to investigators pre and post award The scientific review officer is responsible for the scientific and technical review of the grant application. Scientific review officers assures applications conform with application requirements, they convene panels of scientists from all over the world with expertise required for evaluation of scientific and technical merit. An essential part of the job of a scientific review officer is to manage potential conflicts of interest and ensure the fair and unbiased evaluation of the grant application. After the review, they compile the summary of the evaluation. The scientific review officer is the point of contact for applicants post submission, pre-review. The grants management officer is responsible for the business management of the grant award. They ensure the application complies with administrative requirements and they negotiate the actual grant award. The grants management officer is a point of contact for grants administration policies both pre and post-award. Now that we have gone over staff contacts, let's look at the grants process The investigator initiates the research idea. NIH makes grant awards to institutions. It is the university, or small business, or other type of institution who actually submits the application to NIH Once submitted, the application routes to NIH's Center for Scientific Review, where the Division of Receipt and Referral assigns the application to the Institute or Center as well as to the scientific review group (also known as the study section). NIH has a dual level of peer review. The study section is the first level. . Peer scientists come together to review the application for scientific merit, score the application, and provide written critique. Once NIH receives the impact score from the peer review, the institute or center to which the application was assigned evaluates that application against its programmatic priorities Institute and Center advisory council , sometimes called advisory boards, review the application and recommend funding action to the NIH. Ultimately, the funding decision rests with the director of each NIH institute and center The institute makes the grant award to the applicant organization, which allocates the funds to the principal investigator who ultimately performs the research. it's been a long road . Its about 9 months since you submitted the application, and you are ready to receive your award. Before that can happen, all preaward issues must be resolved. Budgets need to be negotiated, certification on education on human subjects need to be completed, animal and human subject protection issues need to be resolved, and other support needs to be documented How can you track your application throughout the submission and review process and later from award through closeout? NIH uses an electronic system called the eRA Commons to provide applicant organizations and principal investigators with information throughout the grants process. Once submitted, your application image will appear here, as will status of your application, which includes institute and review assignments, NIH staff contacts, scores and summary statements (for the PI), the Notice of Award, links to tools for reporting and more. The eRA Commons will quickly become an important part your interactions with NIH So NIH grants the award. Read the notice of award. It is a legally binding document that provides you with essential information including the amount of award, information on grant payment, and the terms and conditions of the grant award. The organization accepts the terms and conditions of award when they first draw down funds. The NIH Grants Policy Statement defines the terms and conditions of all grant awards If you are new to NIH and have received funding, it will be very important that you familiarize yourself with this document as it explicitly defines roles and responsibilities. The NIH Grants Policy Statement also details reporting requirements for the award. Annual progress reports, federal financial reporting, invention reporting, audits, and closeout reporting are all addressed in this document What happens if your not funded? Its time to step back and regroup. Take a few deep breaths. Read the summary statement. Read the summary statement again. Talk to your program official. They try to attend the review meetings and can often tell you more about the sentiments of the reviewers. Discuss with your program official whether you were scored well enough that you should revise your application and resubmit it, or whether you should look at submitting a different research idea. In this video we have only given you a high level overview of the NIH grants process. We have lots of information available to help you through the process. Where can you find it? Bookmark www.grants.nih .Gov And remember, there are lots of people at NIH who can provide you help along the way. Funding opportunities have program review and grants management contacts listed. You can find specific NIH staff by searching institute websites for organizational charts or contact lists. You could even search, NIH's database for funded research projects for grants in your scientific area. The tool will provide the name for the program official for that grant. And lastly, if you already have a name of an NIH staff member, you can always use the staff directory at need help during the grants process we welcome you to call one of the help desk if you need assistance any point in the process contact information can be found by going to Grants.NIH.Gov/support support or by clicking on the Contact Us link at the bottom of the office of Extramural Research's website at best of luck to you in your travels with NIH


United States

In the United States, grants are $1 public and private trusts and foundations. According to the Foundation Center[1] these trusts and foundations number in excess of 88,000 and disperse in excess of $40 billion every year. Trusts and Foundations are a little more complex to research and can be found through subscription-based directories.[citation needed]

Most often, education grants are issued by the government to students attending post-secondary education institutions. In certain cases, a part of a government loan is issued as a grant, particularly pertaining to promising students seeking financial support for continuing their educations.[2]

Grant compliance and reporting requirements vary depending upon the type of grant and funding agency. In the case of research grants involving human or animal subjects, additional involvement with the Institutional Review Boards (IRB) and/or Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) is required.

  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) : NASA receives and evaluates both solicited and unsolicited grant proposals. The NASA Shared Services Center (NSSC) currently awards all new grants for NASA HQ, GSFC, NMO, Stennis and Dyrden. Awards are made in accordance with the NASA Grants and Cooperative Agreement Handbook[3]
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH)
    • The Center for Scientific Review (CSR) is the focal point at NIH for the conduct of initial peer review of grant and fellowship applications. It implements ways to conduct referral and review.
    • The Office of Extramural Research (OER) provides guidance to institutes in research and training programs conducted through extramural (grant, contract, cooperative agreement) programs.
  • National Science Foundation (NSF)
    • Most NSF grants go to individuals or small groups of investigators who carry out research at their home campuses. Other grants provide funding for mid-scale research centers, instruments and facilities that serve researchers from many institutions. Still others fund national-scale facilities that are shared by the research community as a whole.
    • The NSF receives about 40,000 proposals each year, and funds about 10,000 of them. Those funded are typically the projects that are ranked highest in a merit review process. These reviews are carried out by panels of independent scientists, engineers and educators who are experts in the relevant fields of study, and who are selected by the NSF with particular attention to avoiding conflicts of interest. (For example, the reviewers cannot work at the NSF itself, nor for the institution that employs the proposing researchers.) All proposal evaluations are confidential (the proposing researchers may see them, but they do not see the names of the reviewers).

European Union

The European Commission of the EU provides financing through numerous specific calls for project proposals. These may be within Framework Programmes. Although there are many 7 year programmes that are renewed that provide money for various purposes. These may be structural funds, Youth programmes and Education programmes. There are also occasional one off grants to deal with unforeseen aspects or special projects and themes. Most of these are administered through what are called National Agencies, but some are administered directly through the EU Commission in Brussels. Due to the complexity of the funding mechanisms involved and especially the high competitiveness of the grant application processes (14%) professional Grant Consulting firms are gaining importance in the grant writing process.[4]

Another funding body in Europe is the Council of Europe. This is separate from the EU. Similarly there are calls and various projects that are funded by this Council.


Grant-giving organizations in Ireland include the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology and Science Foundation Ireland for research grants.


Denmark has an educational universal grant system, SU (Statens Uddannelsesstøtte, the State Education Fund). It is available to all students from 18 years of age and all age groups currently taking courses. There are two systems of SU.[5]

  • Youth Education (Ungdomsuddannelse), available to all students in pre-university education (upper secondary education).
  • Higher Education (Videregående Uddannelse), available to all students in post-secondary (higher education). This system is a coupon grant valid for 5 years and 10 months from beginning higher education.

In addition to the government grant scheme, more than 35.000 grants in Denmark exists, which is the second largest number of foundations in Europe by country. These foundations are estimated to possess 400 DKK billion ($60bn) in accessible funds.


In Poland there exist two major grant organisations, both founded by the government:

Foundation for Polish Science also offers different kinds of scientific grants for distinguished scholars, both Polish citizens and foreigners.

United Kingdom

Grants are made available in the United Kingdom for a variety of business, charitable and research purposes. The biggest grant distributors are government departments and agencies which offer grants to third party organisations (often a charitable organisation) to carry out statutory work on their behalf.

Other major grant distributors in the United Kingdom are the National Lottery, charitable trusts and corporate foundations (through Corporate Social Responsibility policies). For example, Google contributes to the grants process through its Google Grants programme, where any charitable organization can benefit financially from free AdWords advertising if they share Google's social responsibility outcomes.

Grants are time limited (usually between one and three years) and are offered to implement existing government policies, to pilot new ways of doing things or to secure agreed outcomes. A grant will usually only be given for a specific project or use and will not usually be given for projects that have already begun.[6]

Over the years the discipline of writing grant bids has developed into a specialised activity. Many organisations employ fundraising professionals to carry out this work. In the United Kingdom the fundraising profession is governed by The Institute of Fundraising. The grant writing process generally includes search, proposal and accounting for competitive grant funds. Traditional search methods - for example referring to the Charities Aid Foundation Directory of Grant Making Trusts - are quickly becoming replaced by online fundraising tools.

See also


  1. ^ "Foundation Center". Foundation Center. 2012-11-16. Retrieved 2013-01-09.
  2. ^ "Government Grants for College". School Grants Guide. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
  3. ^ "NASA Grants and Cooperative Agreement Handbook". NASA. Retrieved 17 September 2015.
  4. ^ "Horizon 2020 statistics - Horizon 2020 - European Commission". Horizon 2020. Retrieved 2016-10-22.
  5. ^ "Danish Education Support Agency". Statens Uddannelsesstøtte. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
  6. ^ "Small business finance". 2011-10-03. Retrieved 2013-01-09.

External links

This page was last edited on 31 January 2019, at 11:58
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