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The Award Phase

During this phase, meritorious applications are recommended for funding, applicants are notified, and awards are finalized after processing the required documents.

The award, post-award and close-out phases apply only to those applications that will be funded.

The award phase is divided into two steps:

  • Response, where potential awardees are notified about the award. 
  • Processing, where NIFA reviews, approves, and sends award documents to potential awardees who then become awardees.
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When a funding recommendation is finalized, the national program leader managing the program notifies each potential awardee. This is an informal notification.

The potential awardee is also notified via email by, and the subject line indicates the purpose of the email. 

In response to this notification, the potential awardee must submit a Project Initiation Form through REEport (Research, Extension, and Education online project reporting tool, accessible via the NIFA Reporting Portal).

Submitting a Project Initiation Form is required to begin award processing at NIFA.

The process of notification and response varies depending on the institution type.

Land-grant Universities

If the institution is a Land-grant University, this is a two-step process with all the emails coming from

  • An email is sent to the REEport Site Administrator at the potential awardee’s institution to assign the appropriate management unit in REEport. Simultaneously, another email is sent to the potential awardee to inform them that their institution has been asked to perform this assignment. 
  • Once the institution had made the appropriate assignment, a second email is sent to the potential awardee and authorized organizational representative (AOR) to complete and submit the Project Initiation Form in REEport. 

Non-Land-grant Institutions

For all other institutions, it is a one-step process and REEport assignment is automatic. The potential awardee and AOR will receive an email to complete and submit the Project Initiation Form in REEport. 

The Project Initiation Form requires a description of objectives and expected outcomes of the funded work, in both technical and non-technical terms. Technical data submitted in the Project Initiation Form is made publicly available in the NIFA Data Gateway and is used by NIFA to track research, Extension and education activities.

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In this stage, the NIFA program team checks the documents submitted in the application and might ask potential awardees to provide updated information, where applicable.

These documents are important for award processing and must be submitted by potential awardees in a timely manner. The NIFA program team will advance the completed application packet to NIFA’s Awards Management Division to conduct the final administrative review of the applications recommended to receive an award.

Here, applications are checked to ensure that requirements identified in the Request for Applications (RFA) are met and that all forms included in the application package are accurate. These steps are necessary before the official award notification, or Notice of Award, is sent, after which awardees may draw down funds and begin work on their research, Extension, or education activities.

Notice of Award

After the application is processed by the NIFA grants team, the potential awardees will receive an award notification email from NIFA with an Award Face Sheet as an attachment. This marks when applicants become awardees (or grantees). 

NIFA awards are made to the awardee’s institution. NIFA refers to the primary applicant as the Project Director, and the organization where the primary applicant works is called the Recipient Organization. The Award Face Sheet is the legal document issued to the Recipient Organization that indicates an award has been made and that funds may be requested from the Automated Standard Application for Payments (ASAP). 

The Award Face Sheet:

  • provides critical information about administering and complying with the terms of the grant
  • may include important conditions that may need to be met before some or all the funds are released
  • lists program and administrative points of contact at NIFA

Grantees must read the award notification email and the Award Face Sheet, and become familiar with all the terms and conditions, as well as the program and administrative contacts for any questions.

The Automated Standard Application for Payments (ASAP) is a secure, web-based electronic payment and information system that allows organizations to receive federal funds, at no charge to federal agencies and their recipients, from pre-authorized accounts.

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