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The NIFA Grant Lifecycle

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

A graphic showing the four phases of NIFA's grants lifecycle

The Four-Phase Process

Competitive grants proceed through Pre-Award, Award, Post-Award, and Close-Out phases. Each of these includes multiple steps that need to be completed for the grant cycle to be finalized.

While non-competitive grants follow similar steps to those outlined below,  they do not include a competitive review process.


This phase begins with the announcement of grant funding opportunities and involves the preparation, submission, and review of applications submitted in response to those announcements.


This phase involves making funding decisions based on merit reviews, notifying recommended applicants of their selection for a grant, and completing the administrative requirements for initiating the grant.


This phase involves setting up accounts in the financial payment system and monitoring awardees for programmatic requirements as well as compliance with applicable laws, regulations, policies, and submission of required reports.


This grant lifecycle phase involves the submission, review, and approval of all final reports as required by specific program policies and regulations.

The Grants Process

The grants process flowcharts provide an overview of the life cycle for competitive, noncompetitive, and capacity grants.

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