Federal Grant Examples
Federal grants come in all shapes and sizes. Awards can range from a few thousands of dollars with a one-year completion window to millions of dollars over several years. Here are some examples of federal grant opportunities:
Institute of Museum and Library Services – National Leadership Grants for Libraries
The Institute of Museum and Library Services will award about 20 grants that work to solve issues faced by libraries and museums in the United States. Grant awards range from $10,000 to $2,000,000 with $12 million allocated for disbursement. Public, elementary and secondary school libraries, and academic libraries located in the U.S., the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, or Palau are eligible to submit grant proposals. Libraries must make information, resources, and services available to the public. A minimum of one permanent professional librarian must be on staff. Additional information is available here.
Agency for International Development – American Schools and Hospitals Abroad Program
Non-profit organizations are eligible to apply for funding to support programs and projects located in schools and libraries in locations outside the United States. The school or library must have been founded and/or be sponsored by U.S. citizens with the mission and purpose of serving as study and demonstration centers for ideas and practices of the United States. Hospital centers that provide medical education and research outside the United States are also eligible to submit a grant proposal. Thirty-five grants will be awarded with the maximum award being $2,000,000. The estimated total amount of funding available is $23,000,000. For more information, visit here.
United States Department of Agriculture – Food and Nutrition Service – TN Training Grant
This grant supports the implementation and evaluation of education, training, and technical assistance related to nutrition. Programs must follow the USDA nutrition standards for meals and snacks offered through the federal government’s Child Nutrition Programs. Twenty grants will be awarded, ranging from $300,000 to $500,000. A total of $6,800,000 is available to distribute. Only state governments are eligible to apply. For more information, see here.
Department of Health and Human Services – Clinical Studies of Safety and Effectiveness of Orphan Products Research Project Grant (R01)
Over $14 million is available for 10 grants ranging from $250,000 to $500,000 to “support the clinical development of products for use in rare diseases or conditions where no current therapy exists or where the product being developed will be superior to the existing therapy.” Those eligible to apply for funding include: school districts, nonprofit organizations, city/town/county/state governments, public housing authorities, small businesses and other for-profit organizations, and private higher education institutions. For more information, visit here.
Department of Commerce – Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornadoes Experiment in the Southeast U.S. (VORTEX-SE)
Seventeen grants will be awarded from a total of $3,300,000 available, ranging from $75,000 to $250,000. This is a grant funding opportunity jointly offered by the NOAA OAR Office, the Weather and Air Quality Office, and the National Severe Storms Laboratory. The purpose of the grant is to seek new knowledge in regards to tornadic activity in the southeastern United States. Higher education institutions, nonprofit organizations, commercial entities, and local/state governments are eligible to apply for funding. Additional information is available here.
Applying for a Federal Grant
Once you find a funding option that you want to apply for, work with the university’s grant office or with individuals who have had successful experiences. Many times universities require proposals to be approved at several levels: by the academic department chair, the dean, by an institutional review board that may also have a human/animal subjects committee, and by the grant office, too. This entire process can take months to complete, so planning well ahead of when you want to begin or continue your project is necessary.
Also, as you work through the process, federal guidelines may change and those guidelines may impact your proposal. Sometimes the changes are minor, but sometimes they are more significant. Either way, you need to pay attention to guideline changes. Fortunately, federal government agencies make it easy in that you can subscribe to a listserv (for free) that will email you updates on a regular basis.
Finally, after you have received full approval from the university, you will submit your application online. Agencies no longer accept applications and proposals in paper; you submit the application through the grants.gov website or via the specific agency’s website. The online application itself is quite detailed and takes time to complete correctly. If incorrect information is entered or a question is not answered, the online system will not allow you to move forward to complete the application. It is recommended that you give yourself plenty of time to complete the application. It is also recommended that the application is submitted a few days in advance of the deadline, just in case the online system becomes overloaded with others submitting applications at the last minute.
Grants in the academic and research worlds are different from other types of external funding in that there are strict guidelines that regulate the entire process – from submitting the proposal to obtaining the funding to completing the project itself. Additionally, there are many hoops that you need to jump through at the university level prior to submitting the application itself.
Although this process seems daunting, with guidance and persistence, you can obtain funding. Federal government agencies are typically very responsive to applications that are not funded, giving the grant writers notes from the reviewers as to why the proposal was not funded. Use this information to improve your proposal for the next round of opportunities.