GRANTS.GOV is the single cross-agency, web-based US government portal for accessing federal GRANT programs (not contracts). It provides 1) information on all grant opportunities and 2) a mechanism to obtain and complete the forms related to a specific opportunity and then transmit the forms to the sponsoring agency

eRA Commons

Institutions and PDs/PIs are required to register with the eRA Commons. Registered PDs/PIs can check assignment/contact information, review outcome, and other important information. 



You will first need to locate the specific application package for the grant

From the GRANTS.GOV Main Page, http://www.GRANTS.GOV/, click on the tab at the top labeled "Find Grant Opportunities."  

Select one of the search options. The easiest option is entering the CFDA (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance) number from the announcement to which you are responding. The CFDA number is unique to each program. If you don’t know the CFDA number, the best option may be the “Basic Search,” which allows the use of key words, such as “NIH Shared Instrumentation“ or “NSF IGERT.”

Click on the Opportunity Title for the program to which you want to apply. Make note of the CFDA number or solicitation number (also known as Funding Opportunity Number).  The next screen has three button options: synopsis of the funding opportunity; full announcement of the funding opportunity; and how to apply.

Clicking on full announcement of the funding opportunity will give you the entire announcement, which often contains information about completing the application package.  Name and save this file to your computer for future reference and use.

Click the how to apply button to get the selected application package for download. Download the application and its instructions by selecting the corresponding download link. Name and save these files to your computer. You do not need Internet access to read the instructions or to complete the application once you save them to your computer.

The download page on GRANTS.GOV gives you the option to enter your e-mail address for automatic notification of any changes to this opportunity. This is useful if the agency changes the deadline or any other information relating to the submission of proposals.


An application package consists of a combination of mandatory and optional documents. Mandatory fields in the documents are yellow and must be completed. 

It is critical that you read the application instructions given with each application package. We have found that, on occasion, the instructions ask for specific components of a proposal to be uploaded into a section of a form other than the section designated on the form. 

Grant Application Package cover. Please leave the Application Filing Name field blank for GRO to complete unless the instructions mandate specific information or where UST is a subordinate collaborator (subcontractor) and the prime applicant gives you specific instructions.

Complete the forms. Open each form and complete according to instructions. UST-specific information for the SF 424 R&R is shown on the SF 424 R&R sample, below. Some forms have multiple pages – check to see if there is a “Next” or “Previous” button near the top of the screen. 

After a form is completed, click on the Close button within the form. Move each completed form from the column on the left to the column on the right by highlighting the form and clicking on the right-facing arrow. Click on the Save button at the top of the Grant Application Package cover.  You must click on Save each time you add information to a form to preserve that information.  

Uploading text files into the forms. Generally, all text files must be in PDF format. 

Error checking. On the cover page of the application package, locate the button labeled Check Package for Errors. Clicking this button will display the total number of GRANTS.GOV errors, one at a time.  As you correct each error, click the button again for the next error. Correction of all errors at this stage does not mean that additional errors may not be found when the proposal is checked by the sponsoring agency.


Send the entire electronic application to the Sponsored Programs Office at as an email PDF attachment.

The Sponosred Programs Office will review the application as usual. If corrections/changes are required to attachments, the Sponsored Programs Office will notify the PI, who will need to make corrections to the original documents, upload them to the appropriate application form and re-send the complete file to the Sponsored Programs Office.

Note that ONLY the Sponsored Programs Office, as the authorized office (AOR), can submit the proposal to GRANTS.GOV. Proposals will be submitted after the Sponsored Programs Office receives chair/dean approvals and after appropriate review and corrections have been made. 


When proposals are submitted to GRANTS.GOV, several acknowledgements are generated by GRANTS.GOV:

Acknowledgment of receipt – this first message carries the GRANTS.GOV tracking number and the Application Filing Name, as well as the opportunity name and number, UST’s DUNS number, and the AOR name.

Validation by GRANTS.GOV – this message carries only the GRANTS.GOV tracking number and no other identifier.

Retrieval of the proposal by the grantor agency – this message carries only the  GRANTS.GOV tracking number and no other identifier.

Agency acknowledgement of receipt of proposal – may include instructions about viewing the proposal on the agency’s site. In many cases, the only identifier is the GRANTS.GOV tracking number.

Agency validation – varies by agency..

A number of agencies perform validation of proposals against their own business rules. Where this occurs, the agency will send a message to the Sponsored Programs Office and, in some cases, to the PI.


If a proposal fails to pass validation in GRANTS.GOV, errors must be corrected and the entire the proposal must be resubmitted before the posted deadline.

If a proposal fails to pass validation when it is received by the sponsor, errors must be corrected and the entire the proposal must be resubmitted before the posted deadline. Note that the corrected proposal must go through both the GRANTS.GOV and the sponsor validation again – before the deadline.


Though electronic, proposal submission systems are not instantaneous.  On heavy deadline days, response time to receive all notifications may take hours (sometimes the next day).  It is unwise to wait until the last minute to submit your proposal.  Any information we provide about the system is subject to change.  Please review application instructions carefully and check with the Sponsored Programs Office if you have any questions.