A: Grants are awarded under USAID’s DFG program, which is funded by USAID’s DRG Center and implemented by IIE. DFG grantees will receive their grants from IIE, but USAID will work closely with IIE to ensure that grant goals and deliverables meet USAID needs, and USAID input may be reflected in IIE’s technical feedback.
A: Yes. All non-US universities, research institutions, think tanks, or other non-profits are eligible, as long as they are not specifically prohibited from receiving US government funds because of the Mandatory Standard Provision on Preventing Terrorist Financing or related regulations.
A: No. Unlike Democracy Fellowships, there are no citizenship requirements for personnel working on DFG grants, either as staff or consultants. All proposed staff must be compliant with the Mandatory Standard Provision on Preventing Terrorist Financing.
A: Applications must be submitted by one institution only, but research staff from two or more universities may collaborate on a single application, unless the grant solicitation specifies otherwise. The applying institution should engage staff at other universities as consultants or subcontractors, depending on the applicant’s institutional policies and scope of the proposed research. See Question 11 for more information on geographic code 937 and how that affects consultants and subcontractors.
A: No. Applications must be submitted through the researcher’s affiliated institution. However, independent researchers may be included as consultants or subcontractors on applications submitted by institutions.
A: Grant funds may be used to cover any reasonable expense needed for the effective completion of the proposed research including course buyouts, summer salary, etc., to the extent permitted by the policies of the applying institution. Applicants should be aware that cost is a factor in the evaluation of grant applications and that proposed levels of effort (how much time is charged for each person) must be justified in the application. Some grant solicitations will specify how much of the budget is to be allocated for specific expenses, in which case applicants should follow the directions in the solicitation.
A: Unless specifically mentioned in the grant solicitation, USAID has not set minimum qualifications for Principal Investigators or other restrictions on whom, within an organization, may apply. Graduate students and ABDs are eligible to apply, and should work with their relevant departments and sponsored project offices in submitting an application. Research teams will be scored against the depth and relevance of previous research work in this area.
A: Unless otherwise specified in the grant solicitation, organizations may submit more than one application but must submit a separate, complete application for each distinct proposal. Each application will be reviewed individually against the scoring criteria.
Q9. Does the grant amount include just for research costs, or does it include my organization’s indirect costs also?
A: The total funds requested must include all costs—direct and indirect—that the applicant would charge to the grant, if awarded. Total funds charged is not the same as total funds required, and many DFG grants include cost leverage. Applicants may charge indirect costs, as established in their Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement (NICRA) with a federal agency. Grantees without a NICRA will need to direct-bill indirect costs; at the application stage, applicants should itemize these costs and present them in the indirect budget line in the budget template provided.
Q10. I am currently working on a research project that is relevant to the grant solicitation—can I apply for co-funding of that work?
A: IIE welcomes co-funding to maximize the effectiveness of scarce research funds. Applicants may submit applications to fund a discrete piece of ongoing work, if that work is responsive to the specific DFG grant solicitation. However, applicants must make clear how the proposed work builds on and extends the ongoing work and defend how and why the incremental work is important over and above the project as a whole. Applicants must also identify any co-funding for the incremental research from other grants or internal resources and justify the additional funds requested.
A: There are many rules that govern what can be procured with money provided by a USAID-funded grant—including what country benefits from the economic activity generated, which is demarcated by geographic codes. The terms “procure” and “procurement” cover transactions for goods and services, and do not include grants which are categorized, instead, as “assistance.”
The DFG program, including all grantees, have the geographic code 937, which encompasses the United States, the recipient country, and USAID’s list of developing countries. So, everything that DFG grantees procure over the value of $25,000 must comply with 937. Note that hiring a local research firm counts as procurement. There are two exceptions to this requirement:
- Hiring a consultant. Hiring a consultant also qualifies as “procurement,” but this particular type of procurement has been exempted from the code 937 requirements for grantees and subgrantees. DFG grantees may hire consultants that either are or are not citizens of the US, the recipient country, or on USAID’s list of developing countries (see link above).
- Being a non-US organization not registered in a developing country. These grantees fall under the “recipient country” category, and may also procure goods and services from their own country.
Grantees are responsible for ensuring compliance with all procurement requirements. More information about geographic code 937 is available in ADS 310.
A: With the passage of the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA), basic information on US government funded awards and subawards is submitted to a publicly available database. Recipients and subrecipients of US government funds are identified by DUNS number, to make sure that organizations with similar names aren’t confused. To comply with this reporting requirement, nearly all organizations that receive US governments now must have a DUNS number, with very few exceptions. If any of these exceptions apply to a DFG grant program, IIE will make it clear in the grant solicitation.
You can apply for a DUNS number at this website and consult this publicly available, step-by-step guide on how to obtain a DUNS number. Numbers should be received within 1 – 2 business days, but sometimes there are delays, particularly for non-US organizations.
A: The title of a DFG grant solicitation will include either the letters “APS” or “RFA”, which signify the type of grant solicitation. The differences between an APS and an RFA shape both the logistics of the grant solicitation and the design of the proposed projects (see table below).
|APS: Annual Program Statement||RFA: Request for Applications|