Applicant Questions

Applicant Questions

1. Given that this will be a 12 month project, will the successful applicant be a full-time fellow, which will require US citizenship?

2. Can I include a co-PI on the project and if so, does that person need to be a US citizen?

3. We are planning to submit a proposal for the theories of change research project. We are a non-US academic institution.  How do we find out whether or not our institution is eligible to apply?

4. Does a successful application have to include one academic (as Principal Investigator) PLUS one scholar/practitioner? Would one academic as Principal Investigator, without a scholar/practitioner, be sufficient?

5. What date do you anticipate having a decision from USAID regarding the grant recipient/awardee?

6. I understand that the grant period is for 12 months. Are there particular target dates USAID is aiming for, in terms of placing this 12-month period? In other words: What is the earliest date this 12-month period can begin? What is the latest date this 12-month period can end?

7. Is there any way I could speak to one of you for 15-20 minutes, perhaps tomorrow, via telephone? There are a few more details about the project I’d like to know, and it would be easier for me to learn about them over the phone.

8. We are preparing all the documentation to apply for the Theories of Change Research Project. We were wondering if there is any chance you could make available for us some of the projects that were awarded grants on previous calls or years.

9. We are a civil society organization based in [XXX]. Currently we have restrictions as an NGO to transfer funds to other organizations outside [XXXXX]. Our question then is, if we partner with an international organization and succeed in obtaining this grant, would USAID be able to do this on our behalf? Many thanks!

10. I am writing to request clarification of the allowable indirect cost rate, if any, that could be included in project budgets for the above RFA.  Specifically, the clause below from p. 12:   “Indirect rates that have not been approved by a USG agency in a NICRA may not be charged to this award. All costs charged to the project should be directly related to the project’s implementation. For additional information, see http://transition.usaid.gov/business/business_opportunities/cib/pdf/cib92_17.pdf. The potential applicant, XXXXXX, has a federally negotiated indirect cost rate agreement (FY14).  Sponsored research of the kind solicited in the RFA would normally be subject to an XX% indirect cost rate for applications to federal funders. Please advise as to whether this full rate or another tier of our NICRA may be included.

11. Our university has an agreement with the U.S. government (DHHS) for an indirect cost rate of XX%. Is it possible to charge indirect costs to this grant?

12. Can you verify that one grant is expected to be awarded as a result of this RFA?

13. Are modest honorariums are allowed in the budget for participants in the 2 Academic Think sessions?

14. We are preparing a proposal for the Backsliding TOC research project, and we noticed a request for cost-sharing on pp 8-9 of the RFA.  Does the IIE have specific guidelines for limiting F&A (indirect) costs as a form of cost-sharing? My university will need to approve any F&A percentage that is less than the standard USG XX%.

15. Should the Technical Application be crafted in the order given in Part III.A (Title Page, Capability Statement, Technical Plan, Theoretical Underpinnings, Works Cited), or in the order listed in Part IV.A (Theoretical Underpinnings, Capability, Technical Plan)?  Does it matter?

16.Also, is USAID’s practice of compensation for staff compensation for academic researchers analogous to the NSF’s insofar as PI’s should allocate compensation in 9ths of standard academic salaries?

17. Can you please confirm whether the maximum $120,000 fixed obligation grant includes the cost of organizing the academic think sessions?  On p. 5 of the proposal, it says that “All participants’ travel, accommodations, and per diem will be covered under the grant”, and I was wondering whether this means we need to cost it out?

18. I am part of a Civil Society Organization that is planning on applying for the Theories of Change Research Project. I am addressing you because we have a doubt about the information we need to provide in order to apply: Apart from attaching the CVs and stating (in the Title Page) who the partners will be, do we need to provide any extra information about any partner researcher or organization that will be carrying out the project?

19. Considering that this opportunity is issued under the USAID’s Democracy Fellows and Grants Program (DFG), is there any CFDA number that is affiliated with the current solicitation?

20. Am I right to think that I should put the entire application in one single document, attach it to an e-mail and send it to dem.grants@iie.org? Also, if this is correct, is it acceptable for me to e-mail the application in multiple attachments or does it have to be one file?

21. I see that the Title Page does not ask for DUNS number, where does our organizational DUNS number go in the application?


Q1. Given that this will be a 12 month project, will the successful applicant be a full-time fellow, which will require US citizenship?

A: This opportunity under the DFG program is for a grant, not a fellowship, and there is no citizenship requirement. The successful applicant for this grant will be a US or non-US college, university, research institution, or think tank—not an individual, and scholars must apply through their affiliated institution. Please refer to the eligibility criteria on page 2 of the RFA for more information.

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Q2. Can I include a co-PI on the project and if so, does that person need to be a US citizen?

A: Yes, you may include a co-PI: applicants should propose the personnel necessary for effective completion of the proposed research. Applicants should be aware that cost is a factor in the evaluation and the proposed level of effort for all personnel must be justified in the proposal.On citizenship, please see Question 1. There is no citizenship requirement for personnel proposed in the grant—including PIs and co-PIs. Non-US citizens may be engaged either as staff, consultants, or via a subcontract, depending on the applicant’s institutional policies and the scope of the proposed research. All personnel must be eligible for assistance under USG laws (see page 2 of the RFA).

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Q3. We are planning to submit a proposal for the theories of change research project. We are a non-US academic institution.  How do we find out whether or not our institution is eligible to apply?

A: Yes, all non-US universities, research institutions, think tanks, or other non-profits are eligible to apply, as long as they are not specifically prohibited from receiving USG funds because of Mandatory Standard Provision 5: Preventing Terrorist Financing or other related regulations.

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Q4. Does a successful application have to include one academic (as Principal Investigator) PLUS one scholar/practitioner? Would one academic as Principal Investigator, without a scholar/practitioner, be sufficient?

A: USAID has not prescribed a staffing structure for a set number of PIs and has not mandated inclusion of a scholar/practitioner. Applicants should propose the personnel they deem necessary and demonstrate how those personnel provide the right technical expertise to complete the deliverables. Applicants' capability will be scored, in part, on capability to collaborate with the donor/practitioner world (see page 8 of the RFA).

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Q5. What date do you anticipate having a decision from USAID regarding the grant recipient/awardee?

A: IIE anticipates notifying applicants by late January 2014 whether their application has been selected for funding. At that time, the apparently successful applicant will be provided templates to complete a full grant package (see page 6 of the RFA).

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Q6. I understand that the grant period is for 12 months. Are there particular target dates USAID is aiming for, in terms of placing this 12-month period? In other words: What is the earliest date this 12-month period can begin? What is the latest date this 12-month period can end?

A: The grant period is for a maximum of 12 months and that it can begin as early as the award is made. See Question 5 for an estimated timeframe for decisions. Applicants should propose their preferred timeline in Annex 2.

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Q7. Is there any way I could speak to one of you for 15-20 minutes, perhaps tomorrow, via telephone? There are a few more details about the project I’d like to know, and it would be easier for me to learn about them over the phone.

A: IIE cannot speak individually with applicants; however, all questions submitted to dem.grants@iie.org will be answered, and the answers will be posted online, without attribution, so that all applicants may benefit equally.

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Q8. We are preparing all the documentation to apply for the Theories of Change Research Project. We were wondering if there is any chance you could make available for us some of the projects that were awarded grants on previous calls or years.

A: The Theories of Change Research Project is a new initiative of USAID’s DRG Center, as are the Research and Innovation Grants part of the DFG Program, managed by IIE. Currently, IIE has awarded grants to three institutions, under the DFG Program, for Counter-Trafficking in Persons Campus Challenge Research Grants.

More information on C-TIP grants 

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Q9. We are a civil society organization based in [XXX]. Currently we have restrictions as an NGO to transfer funds to other organizations outside [XXXXX]. Our question then is, if we partner with an international organization and succeed in obtaining this grant, would USAID be able to do this on our behalf? Many thanks! 

A: Unfortunately, no: all payments to subcontractors must be handled by the grantee. IIE cannot make payments to the grantee’s subcontractors, on behalf of the grantee.

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Q10. I am writing to request clarification of the allowable indirect cost rate, if any, that could be included in project budgets for the above RFA.  Specifically, the clause below from p. 12:   “Indirect rates that have not been approved by a USG agency in a NICRA may not be charged to this award. All costs charged to the project should be directly related to the project’s implementation. For additional information, see http://transition.usaid.gov/business/business_opportunities/cib/pdf/cib92_17.pdf. “The potential applicant, XXXXXX, has a federally negotiated indirect cost rate agreement (FY14).  Sponsored research of the kind solicited in the RFA would normally be subject to an XX% indirect cost rate for applications to federal funders. Please advise as to whether this full rate or another tier of our NICRA may be included.

A: Applicants may charge indirect costs, as established in their Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement (NICRA) with a federal agency.

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Q11. Our university has an agreement with the U.S. government (DHHS) for an indirect cost rate of XX%. Is it possible to charge indirect costs to this grant?

A: See Question 10.

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Q12. Can you verify that one grant is expected to be awarded as a result of this RFA?

A: Yes: IIE expects to award one grant under this RFA. Please see page 1 of the RFA.

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Q13. Are modest honorariums are allowed in the budget for participants in the 2 Academic Think sessions?

A: Modest honoraria are acceptable, and applicants should propose such honoraria in accordance with their institutional policies. Applicants should be aware that cost is a factor in the evaluation.

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Q14. We are preparing a proposal for the Backsliding TOC research project, and we noticed a request for cost-sharing on pp 8-9 of the RFA.  Does the IIE have specific guidelines for limiting F&A (indirect) costs as a form of cost-sharing? My university will need to approve any F&A percentage that is less than the standard USG XX%.

A: Cost sharing is encouraged but not required. IIE cannot provide specific guidance on cost sharing to individual applicants. However, the federal regulations on cost sharing (2 CFR 215.23) provide helpful guidance: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/granule/CFR-2005-title2-vol1/CFR-2005-title2-vol1-sec215-23/content-detail.html.

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Q15. Should the Technical Application be crafted in the order given in Part III.A (Title Page, Capability Statement, Technical Plan, Theoretical Underpinnings, Works Cited), or in the order listed in Part IV.A (Theoretical Underpinnings, Capability, Technical Plan)? Does it matter?

A: Please follow the order give in Section III.A: Application Instructions.

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Q16. Also, is USAID’s practice of compensation for staff compensation for academic researchers analogous to the NSF’s insofar as PI’s should allocate compensation in 9ths of standard academic salaries?

A: Applicants should follow their own institutional policies in presenting salary information; however, make sure that it is clear in the budget and budget notes what all proposed salary rates are based one.

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Q17. Can you please confirm whether the maximum $120,000 fixed obligation grant includes the cost of organizing the academic think sessions?  On p. 5 of the proposal, it says that “All participants’ travel, accommodations, and per diem will be covered under the grant”, and I was wondering whether this means we need to cost it out?

A: Yes, the maximum $120,000 fixed obligation grant includes the cost of organizing the academic think sessions. Applicants should demonstrate their proposed costs for the academic think sessions in their budget.

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Q18. I am part of a Civil Society Organization that is planning on applying for the Theories of Change Research Project. I am addressing you because we have a doubt about the information we need to provide in order to apply: Apart from attaching the CVs and stating (in the Title Page) who the partners will be, do we need to provide any extra information about any partner researcher or organization that will be carrying out the project?

A: Applicants should decide how to divide the 10 pages alloted for the technical proposal among the three sections (Capability Statement, Technical Plan, Theoretical Underpinnings) and how best to present their technical team—regardless of whether team members are engaged as staff, consultants, or subcontractors—in the technical proposal and in the CVs submitted as an annex. Partners also should be identified clearly in the budget.

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Q19. Considering that this opportunity is issued under the USAID’s Democracy Fellows and Grants Program (DFG), is there any CFDA number that is affiliated with the current solicitation?

A: The CFDA number is 98.001.

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Q20. Am I right to think that I should put the entire application in one single document, attach it to an e-mail and send it to dem.grants@iie.org ? Also, if this is correct, is it acceptable for me to e-mail the application in multiple attachments or does it have to be one file?

A: Applications should be submitted via email to dem.grants@iie.org, and may be one file or multiple files.

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Q21. I see that the Title Page does not ask for DUNS number, where does our organizational DUNS number go in the application?

A: Applicants must have a DUNS number to be eligible to receive funding, and may put this number on the title page.

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