Grants.Gov Information

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Office of Sponsored Programs

Grants.gov Quickstart:

    1. Make sure you have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer.  ALL TC Computers and most browsers have it preinstalled.  The older PureEdge software has been phased out and no longer needs to be installed.
    2. Find and Download an Application Package via a Keyword Search on Grants.gov: http://www.grants.gov/applicants/find_grant_opportunities.jspOR by following the link within a funding announcement. Save the application to your computer.
    3. Review the application package carefully.  The new forms often require new, substantive content that can be time consuming.  Discovering this new content late in the application process can throw off your timetable. 
    4. Fill out each form within the package listed under “Required Documents.”  You only need to fill out fields highlighted in YELLOW.
    5. Most of the institutional information you need to fill out the forms can be found under “Institutional Information” on this website.  Your SPA can help you prepare forms, convert documents to PDF format, and develop your budget provided you contact them at least 2 weeks prior to your deadline. 
    6. Unlike other online grant proposal systems you may have used in the past, a GRANTS.GOV application is stored on your computer rather than on a website.  That means not just anyone can go on and edit the proposal.  Emailing the proposal back and forth can cause confusion over which version is the most recent one, so we recommend that a single point of contact be established to gather information from collaborators and assemble the proposal.
    7. Grants.gov proposals are due at no later than 5 pm, sponsors will occasionally state 4:30 as the deadline time.  In order to meet that deadline and correct any errors that the system may detect after submission, OSP needs to have an approved budget and completed routing sheet, along with your complete proposal, including the project narrative and all appendices ready for submission by12 noon the day prior to the due date.  This means that we will need to have the pieces required for routing the proposal at least three days before the sponsor due date for routing.

      As always, in order to route the proposal we need the following:

        • Completed routing sheet signed by PI and Dept. Chair/Center Director
        • Proposal Abstract/Summary
        • Budget
        • Budget Narrative

Completion of the routing sheet and budget review typically takes 2-3 days once it reaches OSP. OSP cannot submit proposals via Grants.gov that do not meet these internal deadlines.

Preparing a GRANTS.GOV Application

Download the application package and the instructions as soon as you have identified a competition you are interested in.  Most agencies have used the switch to Grants.gov to update/change/expand their forms, so the new format of the proposals often comes with a considerable amount of new content or new formatting of the familiar content.  Review the application package at least once early on to get a sense of the work ahead of you and to ask questions. 


An application package consists of fillable forms with institutional information, budget information and short text passages; the research plan, cv’s references, letters of support and other longer text sections are then attached to the application as PDF files.  The forms in the Application Packages are based on the 424/524 series of federal forms, which have been standard at USED, non-NIH agencies within the DHHS and many others, so they should be familiar to many of you. The TC budget template already has a page that formats budgets to the 524 forms.  The new NIH application forms are a hybrid of the 424 and PHS 398 forms. Not every field in a Grants.gov application needs to be completed.  Required fields are highlighted in yellow.  There is also a check proposal for errors function that will direct you to fields you may have missed or where data has been entered incorrectly.

Paul Kran, TC Box 151, kran@tc.edu should always be added as the institutional contact and the person to contact with matters pertaining to the proposal. 
Once completed, the application package should be emailed to OSP for submission.

:
***IMPORTANT*** ALL APPLICATIONS THROUGH GRANTS.GOV must be submitted by the DATE and TIME deadline specified in the RFP..  Only OSP can submit a proposal.  We cannot guarantee that any proposal received and approved for submission after 12 noon on the day before the due date will be submitted on time or without errors. 

Grants.gov Submission Timeline 

  • Please note: OSP’s routing process will remain the same.  We need the routing form, abstract, budget, and budget justification (hard copies signed by the PI and Dept. Chair) at least 2-3 days before the submission deadline to meet internal approval requirements. 

If you have subcontractors, please include the following:

  1. Statement of Work
    2. Budget and budget justification 
    3. Endorsement Letter from an authorized official at the subawardee's 
    institution

See the other sections of the OSP Web for descriptions of other Pre-Proposal services available to applicants. 

Human Subjects Section in Grants.gov and IES Electronic Submissions

A new feature of proposals submitted through grants.gov and the IES System is a section on the face page that requests detailed information about the involvement of human subjects in the research. PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS NOT A REQUIREMENT FOR IRB APPROVALPRIOR TO SUBMISSION. Rather, investigators just need to provide a brief overview for all exempt and non-exempt research that touches upon the following issues:

  • A basic description of the subject population
  • Estimated Sample Size
  • Recruitment sites (can be general types of sites)
  • Anticipated method of recruitment
  • Basic provisions for obtaining informed consent
  • Anticipated confidentiality protections
  • Anticipated means to minimize obvious risks
  • Provisions for obtaining consent of collaborating institutions and/or parents as appropriate.

Please note that all of the above can be extremely general and leaves you free to make changes as warranted once the project is funded.

NIH Specific Issues in GRANTS.GOV Submission

Applying to NIH through Grants.gov is more complicated than applications to other agencies.  Here are some major differences NIH applicants should be aware of:

  • You must be registered with a user name in the NIH Commons in order to apply.  Your Sponsored Program Administrator (SPA) can verify your user status and register you.
  • The PI’s Commons User ID must be entered onto the Senior/Key Person Form in the field credential/agency login.  THIS FIELD IS NOT HIGHLIGHTED IN YELLOW Hopefully that will be fixed for future competitions.
  • There are now distinct application packages for each of the standard NIH funding mechanisms, (R01, R03, K award, etc).  You can find them all here.
  • If you respond to an RFA, follow the link within the RFA (also known in grants.gov lingo as a Funding Opportunity Announcement or FOA) to find the forms specific to the announcement.
  • NIH still requires each collaborating/subcontracting to submit a separate detailed budget on NIH Budget forms.  These forms are embedded within each individual application package and require the additional step of extracting the forms from the package and emailing them to your collaborator.
  • A signed face page from each subcontractor is no longer a required component of the proposalsubmission.  However, a signed face sheet or letter of commitment from an authorized institutional official agreeing to participate in the project and carry out all programmatic, fiscal and regulatory requirements must be received and retained by OSP during the internal approval process.  PIs will want to include such a letter as an appendix to the proposal in any case.
  • In the absence of a physical letter, we will accept an email from an institutional official with a subcontract budget and justification attached.
  • Indirect Costs are no longer included on a checklist page.  Each subcontractor will include an indirect cost line within its budget.  On projects where TC is the lead, our budget will include a line for indirect costs from each of our collaborators in addition to the line for our own IDC. 

Avoiding problems at submission time:

  • Grants.gov is, at least theoretically, completely integrated with the NIH Commons.  Information in a Grants.gov application is checked against information on file in the Commons at submission.  Discrepancies between the data in each system can lead to errors, most of which, unfortunately, cannot be foreseen prior to submission.
  • Once we submit a proposal, we receive a series of emails, first from Grants.gov confirming the proposal was submitted and a second confirming it meets grants.gov submission standards and has been forward to the agency for retrieval.  Then we receive a confirmation that the agency has retrieved the proposal and finally an email that either gives us an agency tracking number or informs us of errors in the submission.
  • Commons error messages contain either ERRORS, which must be corrected immediately before the proposal can be reviewed, or WARNINGS, which indicate minor discrepancies between the application and our institutional or PI profiles in the Commons.  WARNINGS do not need to be corrected prior to review, but may require clarification during the review or award stage.
  • ERRORS that are not corrected prior to the deadline date and time will result in a LATE submission.  This is the main reason we need to be firm on the “12noon day before funder’s deadline” internal deadline. Proposals with errors corrected after 5 pm on the deadline date may still be accepted, but we will need to add a letter explaining why the proposal is late.

Grants.gov Additional Assistance