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Grants Modernization Initiative

NIFA is embarking on a Grants Modernization Initiative to transform our grants management systems, processes, and policies.

Two of our critical grants management systems, CREEMS and ezFedGrants, are nearing the end of their lifecycle and require replacement. NIFA will chose a new grants management solution from these Federally managed technology providers. 

This Grants Modernization Initiative is a key priority for NIFA, and our goal is to keep you informed and engaged. Ultimately, this initiative will transform how we do business so that it is more seamless for staff and customers, improves our ability to track and report outcomes, and helps achieve the agency mission more efficiently and effectively.   

NIFA’s Grants Modernization Initiative Overview 

The Office of Management and Budget has designated specific agencies to stand up Quality Service Management Offices (QSMOs) for select mission support functions. QSMOs are federally managed marketplaces for technology and service solutions. The two Federal agencies that serve as QSMOs for Grants Management are Health and Human Services (HHS) and the National Institute of Health (NIH). Each of these agencies offers their own grants management solution, either GrantSolutions (from HHS) or eRA (from NIH). The Grants Modernization Initiative intends to select from among these QSMO grants management solutions to modernize and streamline operations and ensure a cohesive customer experience.   

The Grants Modernization Initiative will be completed in phases. The first phase of this project is to research and assess eRA and GrantSolutions and determine broad suitability for NIFA’s various business activities. The second phase will consist of a fit/gap analysis to inform selection, final development, and implementation of the new system. NIFA will launch several teams to ensure the initiative is informed by agency-wide expertise and involvement.  

NIFA’s Business Evaluation Team 

To support the QSMO approach, NIFA has established a Business Evaluation Team (BET) that will review, analyze, and recommend a QSMO solution as NIFA’s new grants management system service provider. The BET is a group of subject matter experts from across the Agency who represent each component of NIFA's Grants Management Lifecycle. The primary work of the BET is to integrate diverse expertise and perspectives, consider NIFA’s business practices and stakeholder needs, and conduct an analysis of potential solutions. The BET will make a recommendation of a QSMO solution as NIFA’s new grants management system service provider. 

What are Your Thoughts on NIFA’s Grants Modernization Initiative?

As part of NIFA’s Grants Modernization Initiative, we are examining NIFA’s current external facing grants management system capabilities and exploring two new grants management solutions – eRA and GrantSolutions. As part of our process, we are considering a number of factors, such as 1) what advantages our current systems have in meeting our customers’ needs; 2) what are the “gaps” in our current systems’ capabilities; 3) how familiar our external stakeholders are with the eRA (Commons) and GrantSolutions systems; and 4) what grants management features are most important to our customers’ experience.  

We welcome your feedback on NIFA’s Grants Modernization Initiative. If you have any comments, questions or concerns about NIFA’s current grants managements systems or the grants management systems NIFA is considering adopting in the future (eRA or GrantSolutions), please send them to NIFAGrantsMod@usda.gov

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To reach the Grants Modernization Initiative team: NIFAGrantsMod@usda.gov

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