Apply for a Grant

NIFA supports research, education, and extension activities through three primary funding mechanisms: competitive grants, capacity grants, and non-competitive grants.

Applying for a grant is part of the pre-award phase and consists of three steps:

  1. Search for a funding opportunity
  2. Determine whether you and your organization are eligible for the funding opportunity you’ve identified
  3. Apply for a grant

Each of the three steps varies slightly based on the type of funding (i.e. competitive grant, capacity grant, non-competitive grant) for which you apply. Differences in procedures for the primary funding mechanisms are noted below the procedural steps.

Search for an opportunity

  1. Use the NIFA funding opportunities search tool to locate requests for applications (RFA) related to your organization’s area of focus (NIFA notifies an institution’s Authorized Representative (AR) for capacity grant programs when the RFAs are open and posted.)
  2. Each funding opportunity page provides links to RFAs and application forms. RFAs contain instructions for preparing and submitting applications. provides email notifications and RSS Feeds about all federal grant opportunities, including NIFA. We recommend that you use this service to keep informed of grant opportunity postings and updates.

Determine eligibility

  1. After identifying a funding opportunity you’re interested in applying for, verify that your organization is eligible to receive that type of funding (i.e. competitive grants, capacity grants, non-competitive grants)
  2. To determine eligibility, review the requirements listed in the "Eligibility" section (Part III, A) of the RFA
  • Capacity grants are intended for land-grant institutions, schools of forestry, and schools of veterinary medicine to fund research and extension activities. Visit Capacity Grants for information about capacity grant programs administered by NIFA.

Apply for grant

  1. Prior to submitting an application, confirm that your organization is registered with and the System for Award Management (SAM).
  2. Follow the application instructions and submission requirements in the RFA (Part IV).
  3. To be considered for funding, all required forms must be submitted as part of a complete application package. Your application will not be considered if all required forms are not submitted together.
  4. Submit application through
  5. issues emails to the applicant providing the submission receipt number, submission validation receipt, and Grantor Agency Retrieval notification. NIFA sends confirmation of grant application receipt.


For additional information, link to frequently asked questions about applying for a grant.