Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO)
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. We received a request a few weeks ago from an organization that was unable to submit their proposal by the proposal deadline to the Climate Program Office.
A. The standard that our office advises to apply in this case is whether there was agency mishandling of the application. That is a fairly high bar to overcome and not usually met if the applicant has failed to take the administrative steps necessary to submit through Grant.gov. GMD has a contact person responsible for dealing with Grants.gov. We suggest that you talk with them about this question. We’ll be happy to talk about this further with you, if you wish.
Q. Is the letter of intent (LOI) mandatory? Can I submit a full proposal/application, even if I never submitted a LOI.
A. The LOI process is not a mandatory process. Therefore, you are still eligible to submit a full application. If you have other questions, please feel free to contact us.
Q. As the Federal Investigator Lead PI we will submit our proposal via email to the program manager. Do our (non-federal) Co-PIs submit their identical proposal (w/their budget) to the program manager too, or do they submit their proposal via grants.gov?
A. Your non-federal Co-PIs will need to submit their proposal via grants.gov, which will include filling out all the required federal forms (which feds don't need to complete).
Q. If our lead PI proposal is accepted, how do our (non-federal) Co-PIs receive funding? Will the funds received by the federal agency via an interagency transfer include the funds for the Co-PI, or will NOAA fund them directly via a grant?
A. Your non-federal Co-PIs will receive funding directly to their institution's grant office. The funding for Feds will not include the non-Fed funding. The money for the Fed will be sent via interagency transfer as where the non-fed will receive their funding separately.
Q. For our Co-PI (federal) submission, do we submit our identical proposal (of the Lead PI) to the program manager or do we submit it through grants.gov?
A. For the Fed Co-PI, the proposal should be emailed directly to the program manager. Only non-feds submit via grants.gov.
Q. Are we able to request an exemption to the page limit, if we have multiple principal investigators? The CV pages, and current and pending support alone will take us over the limit.
A. No, you do have to observe the page limits to comply with the FFO. The rules in the FFO are legally reviewed and approved, so we have to follow them. Our recommendation for the CVs and C+P is that those materials should be (a) shortened, and (b) provided only for individuals receiving funding or who have core roles in the project. For C+P, only relevant (as opposed to all) projects should be listed. These two recommendations should help you dramatically shorten those sections. You may also be able to shorten other sections, such as the budget justification/narrative.
Q. I have three co Principle Investigators and I am wondering if that fulfills the requirement of 'For full applications with three or more Principal Investigators, the page limit is 40 pages.’ Or should I still keep my proposal to 35 pages.
A. Stick with the 35 page limit since they are Co-PIs and not PIs.
Q. Do the Results from Prior Research just cover awards from NOAA as opposed to all awards from Federal and other sources?
A. No, it can include all prior research results, not just NOAA
Q. For the Project Narrative do we upload the Project Narrative under ‘Project Narrative’ and all other non-budget docs (title page, abstract, results from prior, vitae, CPS, Figures, references, sharing plan, & diversity statement) as individual pdfs under ‘additional documents’? Or do we combine them all into one pdf called “project narrative” and upload the one pdf under ‘project narrative’?
A. Please include all the non-budget items into the “Project Narrative” as one PDF document. The “Budget Narrative” should include the budget table and the narrative.
Q. Is it acceptable to embed the figures within the narrative, instead of including them at the end?
A. Yes, it’s acceptable to embed the figures within the narrative, even if it makes the total page count a bit longer. It can be your preference if you want them at the end or within the proposal.
Q. A PI would like to offer gift cards valued between $50-$100 to incentivize local citizens to participate in data collection. Is this allowable?
A. Purchasing gift cards to use as incentives for participants is allowable, as long as it passes the reasonability test. (The UG doesn't prohibit this as an unallowable cost and doesn't require agency prior approval.) In this case it sounds like the incentives are going to increase the participation rate in their social research project, so the incentives would be contributing to the success of the project.
What kind of account is ASAP?
A. The Automated Standard Application for Payments (ASAP) is a completely electronic system that federal agencies use to quickly and securely transfer money to recipient organizations. Federal agencies enroll recipient organizations, authorize their payments, and manage their accounts. Recipient organizations then request payments from these pre-authorized accounts. Recipient organizations include state and local governments, educational and financial institutions, vendors and contractors, profit and non-profit entities and Indian tribal organizations. ASAP is free for both federal agencies and recipient organizations. The link is https://fiscal.treasury.gov/asap/. This system is managed by the Department of Treasury. Generally, this system is used by all grant awarding agencies. If you are unable to sign up for ASAP, you can accept a check by mail. However, you must have a US bank account and EIN number.
Q. Are honoraria for workshop participants allowed in the budget? Participation of community members is an important part of our proposal.
A. Yes, this is allowed.
Q. I don't have the indirect rate negotiated so I will use 10% as you say. But I also don't have fringe negotiated. As a consultant, I always have that built into my hourly rate. Embedded, not spelled out. Should I for the purposes of this application leave fringe as 0 and include that in my hourly rate or somehow divvy that up. What is the recommendation there?
A. The 10% de minimis rule of modified total direct costs (MTDC) which may be used indefinitely and no documentation is required to justify the 10% de minimis indirect cost rate. It is important to note that per §200.68, MTDC means all direct salaries and wages, applicable fringe benefits, materials and supplies, services, travel, and up to the first $25,000 of each subaward (regardless of the period of performance of the subawards under the award). MTDC excludes equipment, capital expenditures, charges for patient care, rental costs, tuition remission, scholarships and fellowships, participant support costs and the portion of each subaward in excess of $25,000. Other items may only be excluded when necessary to avoid a serious inequity in the distribution of indirect costs, and with the approval of the cognizant agency for indirect costs. In regards to the fringe benefits question, the Grants Management Division requires the recipient to separate personnel costs from fringe benefits. The recipient must show a calculation and provide adequate justification as to how the cost is represented based on their internal policy for computing these fringe benefits.
Q. What federal forms are needed for sub-awards within a proposal?
A. They will need to provide a SF424 (signed by the authorized representative) and an SF424a along with the budget.