If you have followed this blog for more than a week, you have heard about Grants.gov Workspace—the standard federal grants application method on Grants.gov.
For those of you federal grant managers out there, you also know how much work goes into developing and posting a funding opportunity announcement (FOA). In addition to all the programmatic and financial information and requirements, there are also the nuts-and-bolts how-to instructions to guide applicants in responding and applying for the grant.
The latest updates to the Grants.gov system bring significant improvements to Workspace to better accommodate our diverse group of applicants. Below are the essentials for this release and links to more detailed information.
Since launching Workspace in 2015, Grants.gov has continued to enhance its collaborative features for applicants. Several new features will be available when Release 16.0 is deployed on June 19, 2017.
Our first Release 16.0 preview post highlighted changes to user roles and access levels that will allow Workspace Owners to control access to budget forms and to add participants from outside organizations.
Another upcoming enhancement is the addition of the new progress bar at the top of the workspace.
Every organization is going to approach Grants.gov Workspace a little differently when applying for a federal grant. Some applicants take advantage of Grants.gov’s system-to-system functionality. Others prefer to have a single person submitting grant applications. Most applicants, though, work with a team to apply for a grant.
The following scenario illustrates how a team of three applicants might work together to apply using Workspace.
Before your organization can receive a federal grant, you must first submit the grant application (among many other things, of course). This is why the Authorized Organization Representative (AOR) role in Grants.gov is important.
The Reply All blog series addresses individual user questions that may be relevant to a wider audience.
Q: How smart is Workspace? Can it catch my mistakes?
A: Workspace is built to alert users to potential problems with their grant applications. If you miss a required field, for example, a message will list the overlooked field in a pop-up window when you click the application form’s Check for Errors button.
If you fill out the SF-424 form before working on other forms in the application package, Workspace will populate certain other fields on other forms within the package. This will both save you time and help you avoid making a typo when re-typing data on multiple forms.
However, there are certain mistakes that Workspace will not be able to catch or remedy.
In part two of our Release 15.4 preview, we are highlighting the arrival of online Workspace forms to Grants.gov.
Previously, all federal grant applications on Grants.gov comprised Adobe PDF forms – either as a single package of forms, or – in Workspace – as downloadable individual forms. Now, federal grant applicants can complete forms within their web browser on a desktop computer, laptop, or mobile device, such as a tablet.
What are the appeals of using online forms vs. PDF forms? Let’s take an applicant named Tricia at a university’s office of sponsored research, as our example.
Q: What does the Grantor Image tab do in Workspace?
Applicants who have access to the Grantor Image tab are able to preview their application package – including any attachments – just as the grant-making agency will see it when it is submitted. This service can provide peace of mind, ensuring that everything you have included in the application will be viewed optimally by the grantor.