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Grants.gov FAQ

Below you will find answers to the most common questions about the electronic submission process through Grants.gov. You may also want to check out the online User Guide provided by Grants.gov, their Glossary of Terms or the official Grants.gov FAQ. If you have additional questions about Grants.gov, or would like to offer feedback about this site, please contact Reem Younis at x5618.

Basic Instructions
Common Questions in the Application Process
Flow Chart Overview of Submission Process
PI Checklist & Troubleshooting

Grants.gov: Basic Instructions

Ideally, you first locate the federal funding opportunity you are interested in by doing a COS search. Make a note of the CFDA number. Then go to http://www.grants.gov

1. Download Application Viewer
Click the Get Started tab at the top of the page. Click the link for Download PureEdge viewer. Verify that your somputer meets the system requirments. Download PureEdge and Upgrade. Install PureEdge and upgrade.

2. Downloading Application Package
Click the Find Grant Opportunity tab at the top of the screen. Search for the program announcement (use the CFDA number here). Click on Download Application Instructions. Print these out -- very important!! Click on Download Application Package. Save the application packet to your desktop, not in a file or you will have trouble opening it.

3. Completing the Application Package
Once you have saved the packet on your computer you are ready to go. Complete all the necessary forms and attach all the necessary documents (please note that attachments must be in PDF rather than Word). Save these forms periodically as you work on them, and give the system time to save each form completely. If you are not careful, you may lose data. As you complete each form, use the arrow button to move it to the Mandatory Completed Documents for Submission box. Save the application after moving each form. If you want to make any changes to a form that has been moved to Mandatory Documents you can do this, but only after first moving it back to the left.

4. Submit the Application Package
After the application is complete, save it one last time. It is now ready to be emailed (to Reem Younis at ryounis@siue.edu) or hand-delivered in electronic form to the ORP. ORP staff will review your packet, perform a system check, and submit it with the required electronic signature. ORP will also save and print the confirmation number for future tracking of the packet using the Grants.gov tracking number found on the confirmation page.

Common Questions in the Application Process

How do I find a grant opportunity in Grants.gov?
We encourage you to do your initial search for grant opportunities in COS (www.cos.com). Once you have located a funding opportunity you can find it in Grants.gov by clicking the Find Grant Opportunity link on the left-hand side of the page and typing in the CFDA number (preferred method) or keyword.

What is the CFDA number?
CFDA stands for the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance. You will see this number appear with the program announcement.

What is the DUNS number?
This stands for "Data Universal Numbering System." It is a 9-digit number assigned to a business, including universities. SIUE:s DUNS number is 006331342.

How do I register to submit a grant application?
Trick question. Institutions register, not individuals. SIUE has already registered on your behalf. You should not and do not need to register in any way. Your application will, however, need to be authorized by the Office of Research and Projects (ORP) before you can submit it through Grants.gov.

How do I apply for a grant?
Click on the Download Application Instructions and print them out. Install PureEdge, then select the Download Application Package.

What is Pure-Edge?
PureEdge is a form-based form software that you must first install in order to download your application packet. IBM has acquired PureEdge and now calls the product IBM Workplace Forms.

As I am putting together my application, is it easy for other people to go in and read it? What if I want feedback from a colleague on my proposal narrative?
You need to keep in mind that the PureEdge packet is stored on your computer and not on a server. That means that you need to be in charge of the master version of your application. One of the mistakes that people make is to create and distribute multiple versions of their application as they send various portions of it around for review, inadvertently using the "wrong" version of their application when it is time to submit it. A simple way to avoid this is to circulate individual portions of the proposal as regular word files before you have created your PureEdge file. Only enter/attach them (as PDF files) to your PureEdge package when you are satisfied that they do not need additional work. You may, of course, go in and enter minor revisions until the packet is submitted through ORP.

If I apply for an NSF grant through Grants.gov do I still need and NSF ID number?
Yes. If you do not already have one you may register for one through the ORP. Contact Reem Younis or Christa Johnson. This is also true for other federal agencies. Please check with the federal agency in question.

I've already created a budget in an Excel spreadsheet. Is there a simple way of transferring this information into PureEdge?
Not at this time. The information must be keyed in by hand.

What about my proposal narrative? Does that need to be keyed in by hand?
No, that can be added as an attachment. All attachments need to be PDF files, including support letters.

I have received some letters of support that are hard copies not in an electronic format. What do I do with these?
They should be scanned as PDF documents and uploaded as attachments.

I'm a MAC user. Will this impact my submission process in any way?
Yes. MAC users have encountered problems with the PureEdge application. Do not use the Virtual PC option for MACs. Grants.gov, in conjunction with NIH, has created a CITRIX server solution for MAC OSX users. The University of Wisconsin has created a single preconfigured package for MAC OSX users to access this solution Please go to the following University of Wisconsin-Madison site and follow the instructions to submit your application: http://apple.doit.wisc.edu/grants.gov

What do I do when I am ready to submit my application?
When you are ready to submit, you email the completed PureEdge packet to Reem Younis (ryounis@siue.edu) at the Office of Research and Projects. You may also hand-deliver the packet on a CD or external memory drive. Please note that you are advised to submit your completed proposal to the ORP TWO DAYS before the agency deadline!

I have received a warning/error message from Grants.gov. What do I do now?
Contact the ORP. ORP staff will work with you to ensure that the problem is identified and corrected, so that the system accepts your application. Please make sure you have reviewed the submission checklist and that you feel satisfied that all the information you have entered is up-to-date. In certain cases even an accepted submission generates a warning. In this case it is up to the PI to review the proposal and make sure that it is acceptable to proceed.

What happens after I have successfully submitted my application?
Grants.gov will validate your application and send an email notification to ORP. The grantor organization will also validate the application in turn, and notify ORP. If you have applied with NSF or NIH you can track the status of your application through your own account in the respective agency system.

Flowchart: The Submission Process [IMAGE: pdf]

Use this link to access a flowchart of the submission process, adapted from the NIH website.

Checklist before submission

1. Again, carefully review the submission requirements for the specific funding opportunity you are applying to. Have you missed anything?
2. Make sure you are using the latest version of PureEdge.
3. Make sure you have all the signatures required on the internal grant routing form.
4. Do you need any additional clearance or approvals?
5. Have you completed all of the portions of the packet?
6. If applicable, make sure your NIH Commons profile is up-to-date. Errors are often generated due to mismatched information.

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