Grants.gov Apply Requirements
August 2, 2005
SUBJECT: Grants.gov Apply Requirements
FROM: Howard F. Corcoran, Director Howard F. Corcoran
Office of Grants and Debarment
TO: Senior Resource Officials
At the November 2004 Grants Management Council (GMC) meeting in Jacksonville, Florida, the Office of Grants and Debarment (OGD) briefed the GMC on the Grants.gov Apply initiative, including requirements established by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for Fiscal Years (FY) 2005 and 2006. The purpose of this memorandum is to inform you of the Agency's progress in meeting FY 2005 requirements and the steps we will need to take for FY 2006 and FY 2007.
Grants.gov and Grants.gov Apply
Grants.gov, originally called the E-Grants Initiative, was a mandate of the President's FY 2002 Management Agenda, which directed agencies to " allow applicants for Federal Grants to apply for and ultimately manage grant funds online through a common web site, simplifying grants management and eliminating redundancies."
Grants.gov implements the requirement in the Federal Financial Assistance Management Improvement Act, Public Law 106-107, to develop a simple, unified source to electronically find, apply, and manage grant opportunities. Grants.gov is the central Federal electronic portal envisioned by the Act. EPA's support and adoption of Grants.gov will be a major factor in maintaining the Agency's "green" rating under the President's Balanced Scorecard.
Grants.gov Apply allows an applicant to download a proposal/application package from Grants.gov and complete the package offline based on agency instructions. The proposal/application package of forms generally includes a standard set of core data elements based on the updated version of the SF-424. After an applicant completes the required proposal/application package of forms, they can be submitted electronically to Grants.gov, which transmits the proposal/application to the funding agency.
OGD has constructed a Grants.gov Application Database (EAPPLY) that receives the proposal/application data and stores it for program retrieval or review. As proposals/applications are selected for funding, the data will migrate to the associated Integrated Grants Management System database for eventual award.
FY 2005 Requirements
For FY 2005, EPA is required to provide the option of Grants.gov Apply electronic submission in at least 25% of its competitive grant announcements posted on Grants.gov Find. It must also receive a minimum of 300 proposals/applications electronically through Grants.gov Apply. The Agency has already met both of these requirements. I would like to thank those participating in Headquarters and Regional offices that made this possible.
FY 2006 Requirements
EPA typically solicits proposals/applications for competitive grant opportunities through issuance of announcements called Requests For Initial Proposals (RFIP) or Requests For Applications/Proposals (RFA/RFP). Some announcements may require multiple submissions of proposal/application materials. Under the announcement, EPA generally allows applicants to submit proposal/application materials by hard copy and also by e-mail attachment.
For FY 2006, OMB is requiring agencies to provide applicants for competitive grant opportunities the option of Grants.gov Apply electronic submission. This means that in addition to other submission methods (e.g., hard copy or e-mail attachment), competitive grant announcements that are synopsized on Grants.gov on or after October 1, 2005 must include instructions allowing applicants to submit proposal/application materials electronically through Grants.Gov Apply.
Submission instructions for Grants.gov Apply must also identify the required proposal/application forms and data that must be submitted, which may vary depending on the nature of the announcement (e.g., whether it is a RFIP or RFA) or the type of assistance program. Sample instructions, which can be tailored as appropriate, are provided in Attachment A.
In the past, a number of EPA offices may have developed and used formal electronic proposal/application "systems" that allowed applicants to respond electronically to competitive announcements. However, with the Agency's migration to Grants.gov Apply, and effective October 1, 2005, these systems may no longer be used.
To facilitate use of Grants.gov Apply and the posting of announcement synopses on Grants.gov, OGD, after discussions with your staff, has developed a competitive grant announcement synopsis database and form, which we expect to be operational by October or November of 2005. Once implemented, program offices will electronically complete a synopsis form and transmit it to the Grants Competition Advocate's Office so the synopsis can be posted on Grants.gov. The synopsis database and form will also provide contact points for notification and editorship of incoming electronic proposal/application packages from Grants.gov Apply.
Effective October 1, 2006, Grants.gov Apply will be the sole means available for submitting proposal/application materials electronically in response to EPA competitive grant announcements, and announcements must include appropriate instructions. Program offices that currently allow for submission by e-mail attachment should therefore begin planning now for a complete and orderly transition to Grants.gov Apply. OGD will issue further guidance on this issue in the future.
Thank you for your support of this important E-Government initiative. Dennis Finney, the lead for Grants.gov implementation in OGD, is available to assist your staff on Grants.gov instruction language for competitive announcements and the EAPPLY database. He can be reached at (202) 564-5318. Questions about the synopsis database and form should be directed to Bruce Binder, the Grants Competition Advocate, at (202) 564-4935.