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Applying for a Grant Opportunity through Grants.gov
Download the Grants.gov application Quick Reference Guide

Grants.gov is a Web site 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 both the University and its faculty and staff are transitioning to the use 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. SPA is already registered and serves as the Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR).

To apply for a grant opportunity using Grants.gov

  1. Using the Internet Explorer browser, download and install Adobe Acrobat, version 8.1.4 or higher, available at http://www.grants.gov/help/download_software.jsp


  2. Identify and download the application package.

    1. Find the package through a search or by entering a specific identifying number.

      • Searching: use http://www.grants.gov/search or the Find Grant Opportunities tab in the upper right-hand corner of the Grants.gov site to access the search option.

      • Entering a known number: use http://www.grants.gov/Apply or the Apply for Grants tab in the upper right-hand corner of the Grants.gov site to enter the funding opportunity or CFDA number for a grant program.

    2. 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.


  3. Adobe forms allow you to complete the application package offline.
  4. 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.

    Detailed instructions are available at www.grants.gov/CompleteApplication.

  5. Complete and route the Proposal Routing Form (PRF) for signature.
  6. The PRF must be fully signed before proceeding to step 5.

  7. E-mail your completed application (Adobe .pdf file) to proposal@umn.edu with the PRF number, PI last name and the agency in the subject line of your e-mail.

  8. If SPA requests changes after their review, make the necessary changes to the package provided to you by the GA, then e-mail the revised application to your Grant Administrator.
  9. SPA 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. SPA 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), use the instructions at www.ospa.umn.edu/electronictools/niheraPIs.html.

    After submission to Grants.gov:

    • Receiving e-mail notifications: SPA 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 there 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 SPA so that SPA can resubmit it for you. Send revisions to proposal@umn.edu with the PRF number, PI last name, and revision #.
    • Tracking an application: Once the application has been accepted by the agency, it no longer resides in Grants.gov. Only SPA 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.)

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