Grants.gov is a website developed by the federal government to be the single portal for submitting all grant applications to the 26 federal grant-making agencies. Grants.gov lists all federal grant opportunities and provides a mechanism for applying for those opportunities. Institutions have begun to be required to submit grant applications electronically through Grants.gov; applications sent to Grants.gov are then forwarded to the respective agencies.
Because of the technical nature and volume of Grants.gov, it is recommended that you start your grant application process early, especially if you are using Grants.gov for the first time.
About these instructions:
This is an overview of the steps needed to apply for a grant opportunity in Grants.gov.
Please be aware that no registration is required for faculty to "find and apply" for funding in Grants.gov. MSU's OSP is already registered and serves as the Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR).
To apply for a grant opportunity using Grants.gov:
- Using an Internet browser, download and install Adobe Reader, version 9.0.0 and later. Click here to do a test - if you receive an error, then you will need to confirm your version of Adobe since it's probably incompatible.
- Identify and download the application package.
- Find the package through a search or by entering a specific identifying number.
- Searching: use the Search Grants tab to enter the funding opportunity or CFDA number for a grant program.
- From the list of programs found, open the page describing the opportunity and click the Apply for Grant Electronically button to access the download option Note: Each application package is specific to a particular grant program and deadline and cannot be used for other grant programs.
- Adobe forms allow you to complete the application package offline.
Use the application instructions provided with the application package to complete the application. If you do not follow all of the program application instructions, an application package that is accepted by Grants.gov may be rejected at a later date by the sponsor. Save changes to your application as you go, Grants.gov does NOT automatically save changes. The package cannot be submitted until all required fields have been completed. Please click on the Check for Errors button in the package.
- Complete and route the eTransmittal for signature. The eTransmittal must be fully signed before OSP will submit the proposal to Grants.gov. Please go to the OSP Proposal Preparation procedure for information regarding steps and timing.
- E-mail your completed application (Adobe.pdf file) to the appropriate OSP group with the RFP number, PI last name and the agency in the subject line of your e-mail.
If OSP requests changes after their review, make the necessary changes to the package, then e-mail the revised application to the OSP contact.
OSP will then submit the application to Grants.gov.
Note: Principal investigators (PIs) and departmental staff do not submit the application to Grants.gov, create Grants.gov accounts, or register in Grants.gov. OSP is registered as the Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) /Signing Official (SO) for submitting applications on behalf of the PI to Grants.gov.
For NIH applicants: the PI must be registered in the eRA Commons prior to submitting to Grants.gov. If you are not registered (or don't know if you are registered), please contact your appropriate OSP proposal team.
After submission to Grants.gov:
- Receiving e-mail notifications: OSP will receive an e-mail from Grants.gov that will confirm that the application was received and a second e-mail noting if it passed or failed data verification in Grants.gov. Subsequently, e-mails from the agency will confirm that the agency received the application and if it passed or failed data verification as applicable to the agency.
- Correcting errors (NIH submissions only): If there are errors in the NIH submission, you must correct them and e-mail the corrected application to your OSP contact so that they can resubmit it for you.
- Tracking an application: Once the application has been accepted by the agency, it no longer resides in Grants.gov. Only OSP can track the application in Grants.gov. (For NIH submission, only the PI and the SO (signing official) can track the application in the eRA Commons.)
Application Receipt Notices
After an application is submitted, your OSP contact will receive a series of four e-mails and will forward them to the PI and their Department/College Research Administrator (DCRA) if applicable. It is extremely important that the PI, the DCRA, and OSP watch for the first notice indicating that the package has been submitted before the agency deadline. Since it’s a shared responsibility, working as a team to submit the proposal, it is incumbent upon the DCRA and the PI to confirm that the proposal has been submitted BEFORE THE AGENCY DEADLINE PASSES. The other three notices are also important and all notices should be saved for your reference since at any point in this process your application could error out which could require a re-submission. The titles of the four e-mails are:
Email number 1 - Grants.gov Submission Receipt Number (indicating that a proposal has been submitted).
Email number 2 - Grants.gov Submission Validation Receipt for Application Number (note: it may take up to two (2) business days from application submission to receipt of email Number 2)
Email number 3 - Grants.gov Grantor Agency Retrieval Receipt for Application Number
Email number 4 - Grants.gov Agency Tracking Number Assignment for Application Number (depending on the agency, this notice is known to take more than two months to be received)