US Federal Government Funding Proposals

Federal Funding

Grant applications to most U.S. government departments must be completed and submitted electronically via the website. Participating federal agencies include the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Department of Defense, Department of Health and Human Services and National Science Foundation.

Since there are several U.S. federal agencies managed through, the first question is how to find a relevant funding opportunity. The website supports various search engines (by keyword, funding category, agency and eligibility), as well as offering subscriptions for notifications of new grant funding postings.

It is important to confirm that the University of Alberta (U of A), as a foreign institution, is eligible to apply for any funding opportunity in which you are interested.

Grand Eligibility - Foreign Applicants

All investigators who are applying for or participating in a research project funded by U.S. federal granting agencies or any other research funding source which has adopted the Health and Human Services 42 CVR Part 50 and 45 CFR Part 94 regulation must also comply with UAPPOL Financial Conflict of Interest for National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Other Applicable Research Funding Sources Reporting and Assessment Procedure at the time of application (PDF).

Other ways to submit to U.S. Federal Funding

In addition to submissions via, there are funding opportunities that use other methods to facilitate submission of research proposals. If you are asked for specific forms or documents to verify the U of A status, such as confirmation of exemption from US income tax, work with your Research Partner to obtain official copies for submission.

Preparing an Application

Applicants do not need to be registered with to apply, because the U of A is registered as an Institution and has a DUNS number.

Applicants need the following:

  • An eRA commons login (required for most U.S. government applications)
    • Contact your Research Partner and provide the following information:
      • name
      • email address
      • preferred login
      • phone number
    • Applicants will receive an automated response from eRA Commons once their new login has been created by the Research Partner
  • The most recent version of Adobe Reader software, in order to view and complete the application package
    • Applicants can check to verify they have the correct version of Adobe Reader at
  • Create a new Proposal on the Researcher Home Page in preparation for submitting your application to Research Administrative Services for review and approval 
    • Only an authorized organizational representative (AOR) may submit the application to, your designated Research Partner will coordinate this 

For additional resources in preparing your application visit - Applicants.

Apply Early to Guard Against Electronic Submission Errors

To successfully submit an NIH electronic grant application, you need to pass two automated systems validations: and eRA Commons.

Scenario 1: You Need to Address an Error Found During Validation

If your application does not pass the automated validations (error checking), you should immediately correct the errors identified and work with your Research Partner to resubmit the application.

Scenario 2: Your Application Passed Validations with Un-flagged Content Errors

Always use the two-day viewing window that follows eRA Commons validation to manually verify that none of your uploads are blank, missing, duplicated, or corrupted. Correct and resubmit your application on or before the due date if you find an error. This is necessary if you've already passed validations because the automated validations aren't perfect.

Please adhere to the Research Administrative Services internal deadline for electronic submission of U.S. government applications. If the application is returned with errors, corrections must be made and the application resubmitted prior to the agency deadline. Increased web traffic makes it difficult to upload applications in a timely fashion, and RAS cannot guarantee that applications received past the RAS deadline will be submitted to the funding agency on time.

If you are a co-applicant on a U.S. federally funded grant, Research Administrative Services will need the appropriate documentation in addition to the approvals from your Department and Faculty. Please see Steps Required to Apply for NIH Sub-Grants (below) for more information.

Applying for NIH Sub-Grants

If you are a co-applicant on a U.S. federally funded grant, the following pieces of documentation must be completed and submitted for signatures to the University of Alberta (U of A) co-applicants, department, faculty, and Research Facilitation Office for signatures:

1. Request for New Application/Proposal/Project via Online Approvals form

Use the Quick Reference Guide - Request for New Application/Proposal/Project via Online Approvals to complete this form. U of A co-applicants need to acknowledge online. Signature pages are created through the Researcher Home Page.

2. Intention to Enter into a Consortium Agreement

The template on the last page of the Consortium Letter of Intent should be filled out, printed on U of A letterhead, and signed by the co-applicant from the U of A. Consortium Institution signatures are not required. The Authorized Administrative Official Signature will be provided by the Research Partner.

3. NIH Face Page for University of Alberta Co-applicant

The NIH face page should be completed and circulated for signatures with the complete package. See the 398 fillable form if applicable.

U of A - University Identification Numbers are required on the face page.

4. NIH Face Page for Principal Investigator

This is required as the U of A will need to enter into a consortium agreement with the principal applicant's university and will require the information on the principal investigator's face page.

The NIH face page does not need to be signed by the principal applicant's officials, and, if the budget is not finalized, these spaces can be left blank (this page would be part of the original application).

5. Project Summary

Use this template for applications using 398 forms.

6. Sub-Award Budget Pages

Complete the sub-award budget pages, including the budget justification.

It is also necessary to include the facilities and administration costs (or indirect costs) for the U of A under section H "Indirect Costs". The U of A indirect costs are 8% of direct costs (excluding equipment). Our authority to request 8% is not as a result of an IDC rate agreement. It is as a result of a NIH notice: DHHS Notice NOT-OD-01-028, Eft 10/01.

For more information, read this DHHS notice .

The co-applicant's name, the budget period, and the U of A DUNS number should be completed at the top of the sub-award budget page.

7. Biographical Sketch for Co-applicant from the U of A

The U of A co-applicant should complete and circulate a biographical sketch. Find a biosketch template at:

8. Resource Page for the U of A Portion of the Research

Please complete a resource page. Find templates at:

9. NIH Checklist

Find the checklist template at:

Related Links

Facilities + Administrative Costs (Indirect Costs)

NIH has set a maximum allowable rate for indirect costs for non-domestic institutions. As a non-domestic institution, the U of A is permitted to charge a maximum of 8% on a Modified Total Direct Cost base, excluding equipment. More information about NIH budgets is available on the NIH website.

The U of A has an agreement with the U.S. Federal Government that governs the indirect cost rate we are allowed to charge for research grants, contracts, and other agreements funded by other agencies.

Effective April 1, 2021, the rate of 66.2% must be used for On-Campus base activities. Base includes direct salaries and wages, including vacation, holiday, sick pay and other paid absences, but excluding all other fringe benefits. All other direct costs are excluded from the calculation of indirect costs.

Effective April 1, 2021, the rate of 26.3% must be used for Off-Campus base activities. The base is calculated the same way as On-Campus base activities. Off-Campus is defined as all activities performed in facilities not owned by the institution and to which rent is directly allocated to the project. Grants or contracts will not be subject to more than one rate. If more than 50% of a project is performed off-campus, the off-campus rate will apply to the entire project. The off-campus rate does not apply to equipment over $5000.

Managing aN NIH Award

The primary communication about relevant terms and conditions for your award will be the notice of award from NIH (or agreement with the prime institution if we are a consortium partner, or sub-awardee) and the Research Administrative Services Advice Notice. Both of these documents will include details about financial and scientific management of the research funding. Please remember that NIH funding is subject to annual revision related to U.S. Congressional approvals.

Two policies highlighted on all notices of award are the NIH Public Access Policy and the Policy on Conflicts of Interest. Please follow the links to review the relevant websites and ensure compliance. If you have further questions, contact your Research Partner.

Related Links

NIH Time + Effort

NIH requires the use of Time and Effort Reporting, whereby the principal investigator certifies the time and effort of all employees who worked on the project and had salary expenses charged to it. See Circular A-21, published by the Federal Office of Management of Budget (OMB).

In an effort to ensure that our principal investigators meet audit requirements, we have developed a NIH Time and Effort Certification form that should be used to track the time and effort of all employees working on an NIH Project. The form is located in our Forms Cabinet.

Purchasing Goods + Services

You should be aware that there are two requirements of the Uniform Guidance for all U.S. Federal Awards when purchasing goods and services (which includes amounts subgranted from U.S. Federal Awards):

  1. You must obtain two quotes for all purchases over $10,000 USD, excluding purchases made from vendors on our preferred vendor list. Please ensure evidence of the quotes is attached to the Purchase Requisition in SupplyNet.
  2. U.S. Federal Awards may not be used to purchase goods or services from suspended or debarred entities/individuals that are in the exclusion listing of the System for Award Management (SAM).

Any expenditures not compliant with these (or other) requirements in the Uniform Guidance must be removed from projects funded by U.S. Federal Awards. As such, please ensure you adhere to these important requirements when making purchases.