Federal Grants

Federal grants are available for a variety of purposes.  From medical research to workforce development, federal grant money can be used to improve our society.  Individuals and organizations are eligible to apply for federal government grant money.

Most federal grant opportunities are published in the Federal Register which is available in paper and electronic forms.  The Register is available during the business week with the exception of days the federal government is closed.  Federal grant money is typically available on a competitive basis.  Some federal departments enter into cooperative agreements as well as award grants.

Both opportunities are published in the Register as Notices of Funding Availability (NOFAs).  Notices detail eligibility requirements, the total amount of funds being awarded, and the allowable maximum request amount.  In addition, submission requirements are listed in the notice.  These include how to submit the request, where to submit it, and what the request should include.

The majority of federal agencies and departments require submission through the federal government’s online grant management portal which is Grants.gov.  To submit a grant request through the portal, you must be a registered portal user.  To become a registered user, you must first be approved by the federal government as a contractor.  This process must be completed through the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) system.

Federal grant money generally comes with strict management and reporting requirements.  Depending on the grant program, you may be required to work closely with federal program officers who will help you with implementing your project.  Several departments have regional offices that allow federal employees to actively engage with community organizations that receive federal grant funds.  They can provide significant assistance with the administration of a federal grant.

Individuals can apply for federal government grant money through programs such as Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs and agencies such as the National Science Foundation (NSF).  Both award grants to individuals to conduct research activities in specific areas such as energy and information technology.  NSF offers grants to academic leaders pursing Ph.D. level degrees who are involved in research projects specific to their field of study.

Federal grant money does not have to be paid back as long as you meet the conditions of the grant award.  You will need to account for how the grant money was spent.  A final report detailing the project implementation process and outcomes will be required for all grants awarded by the federal government.