RESEARCH: ART WORKS: How to Prepare and Submit an Application

These application guidelines provide all of the information that you need to submit an application. Your application will consist of a combination of material that you obtain from Grants.gov (certain forms) and our website (additional forms and other items you must submit). We urge you to read these instructions in their entirety before you begin the application process. You also may want to keep these instructions open in a window in your computer as they contain helpful links to information that you will need as you complete your application.

In addition to these instructions, you should periodically check the Grants.gov blog or the Grants.gov homepage for tips, updates, and alerts.

IMPORTANT NOTICE:
Electronic application through Grants.gov is MANDATORY

  1. Verify that your organization has completed all steps of the registration process. If you have already successfully submitted an electronic application, renew/verify your registration.
     
  2. Verify that you have a version of Adobe Reader (version 9 or higher) that is supported by Grants.gov installed on your computer before you download your new application package from Grants.gov.
     
  3. Submit your application no later than 10 days prior to the deadline to give yourself ample time to resolve any problems that you might encounter. You take a significant risk by waiting until the day of the deadline to submit.
    • The Grants.gov Contact Center is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. (Phone: 1-800-518-4726.)
    • Submit your application outside of Grants.gov's hours of heaviest usage, generally 12 noon to 5:00 p.m., Eastern Time.
    • The Arts Endowment will not accept late applications.

The Grants.gov system must receive your validated and accepted application no later than 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time, on November 5, 2013.

If you are unable to submit your application electronically, you may request a waiver. A waiver will be granted for the following reasons only:

  • Internet access is not available within a 30-mile radius of your organization's business office.
  • Disability prevents the submission of an electronic application.

Your waiver request must be in writing and must be received (not postmarked) at the Arts Endowment at least three weeks before the application deadline. See more information on waivers.

Register or Renew/Verify Registration with Grants.gov [Back to Top]

NOTE: Applicants are required to change their Grants.gov passwords every 60 days. See www.grants.gov for more details on requirements for Usernames and Passwords.

It is your organization's responsibility to create and maintain a regularly updated registration with Grants.gov. This includes registration with the System for Award Management (SAM), where your organization's information must be renewed annually. Finalize a new or renew an existing registration at least two weeks before the application deadline. This should allow you time to resolve any issues that may arise with Grants.gov or SAM. Failure to comply with these requirements may result in your inability to submit your application.

If your organization is not yet registered, go to Grants.gov's Get Registered. Allow a minimum of two weeks for this multi-step, one-time process. If your organization already has registered, renew your registration with SAM and verify that your registration with Grants.gov is current.

If you have problems with registration:

  • SAM Federal Service Desk: Call 1-866-606-8220 or see the information posted on the SAM website at SAM User Help.
  • Grants.gov Contact Center: Call 1-800-518-4726, e-mail support@grants.gov, or consult the information posted on the Grants.gov website at Help. The Grants.gov Contact Center is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Maintain documentation (with dates) of your efforts to register or renew at least two weeks before the deadline.

You do not need to complete the registration process to download the application package and begin to prepare your material (see below). However, you will need your Grants.gov Username and Password that you obtain during the registration process to submit your application.

Download the Application Package [Back to Top]

  1. Verify your software

    You must have a version of Adobe Reader that is supported by Grants.gov installed on your computer before you download your application package from Grants.gov. Non-compatible versions of Adobe Reader or other Adobe products will lead to errors and prevent you from submitting your application. If more than one computer will be involved in the preparation of the application package, ensure that the same version of Adobe Reader is used.

    Please go to "Download Software" to see the compatible versions of Adobe Reader or to download and install Adobe Reader.

  2. Access the application package on Grants.gov by clicking on the link below:

    [Funding Opportunity Number 2014NEAORA]    

    This will bring you to the "Selected Grant Applications for Download" screen.

    Download the application package and follow the instructions below. It is not necessary to download the instructions from Grants.gov as you will merely be directed back to the instructions in this document.

  3. When you download the application package, the Grants.gov "Grant Application Package" screen will open. Click on the "Save" button and save the application package to a location on your computer or network where you can find it readily. Save your application each time you work on it. You will get the message: "The File already exists. Replace existing file?" Click "Yes" to ensure that you always save the most recent version.

  4. You can access each Mandatory form by clicking on it OR you can scroll down your screen and you will come to each form in succession.

    The forms are:

    • Application for Federal Domestic Assistance/Short Organizational Form (SF-424): This form asks for basic information about your organization and project. Complete this form first. Data entered here will populate fields of other forms where possible. See instructions for completing this form.

    • Project/Performance Site Location(s) Form: This form collects information about the primary site location where the project will be performed. See instructions for completing this form.

    • NEA Organization & Project Profile Form: This form asks for some additional information about your organization and project. See instructions for completing this form.

    • Attachments Form: This is not a form in the conventional sense, but rather a place to attach additional items (e.g., your application narrative and the Project Budget Form) that must be included for your Grants.gov application package to be considered complete. See instructions for completing this form.

Submit Your Electronic Application  [Back to Top]

  1. Check the size of your electronic application. The total size should not exceed 10 MB.

  2. To begin the submission process, click the “Save & Submit” button. [This button will not become active (and turn from light to dark gray) until you have saved your application with all required fields completed. Clicking this button will prompt you to save your application package one last time. When asked if you want to replace the existing file, click “Yes.” You will then be reconnected to Grants.gov and the Internet.] You will be prompted to provide your Grants.gov Username and Password that you obtained during registration.

  3. Click the "Login" button. This will bring you to the "Application Submission Verification and Signature" screen, which provides a summary of the Funding Opportunity for which you are applying. Click the "Sign and Submit Application" button to complete the process. Be certain that you are satisfied with your application before you click this button. No revisions to your application are possible through Grants.gov once it is submitted

    If you have difficulty submitting, go to Adobe Reader Error Messages or Applicant Resources for several tools and documents to help you.

  4. Ensure that your application was validated and accepted by the Grants.gov system. Go to Track My Application to track the validation and progress of your application submission through Grants.gov. After the Arts Endowment retrieves your application from Grants.gov, log in to the Grants.gov system by using your Username and Password to receive your Agency Tracking Number (this will be the Arts Endowment-assigned application number).

Additional Help

For additional help on how to use Grants.gov, please see the Grants.gov website at Help. You also can send e-mail to the Grants.gov Contact Center at support@grants.gov or call them at 1-800-518-4726, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

For specific help on how to complete your application, please review the instructions in these guidelines or contact nearesearchgrants@arts.gov

APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS

For a complete application, follow Steps 1-5 below

A complete application consists of:                          

Step 1: Fill out the Application for Federal Domestic Assistance/Short Organizational Form (SF-424)  [Back to Top]

Step 1: Fill out the Application for Federal Domestic Assistance/Short Organizational Form (SF-424) [Back to Top]

NOTE: All asterisked (*) items and yellow fields on this form are required and must be completed before you will be able to submit the form. Do not type in all capital letters when completing the form. Enter information directly into the form. Do not copy from an old application package or another document and paste into the form.

1. Name of Federal Agency: Pre-populated.

2. Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number: Pre-populated.

3. Date Received: This will be filled automatically with the date that you submit your application; leave blank.

4. Funding Opportunity Number: Pre-populated.

5. Applicant Information:
a. Legal Name: The name provided here must be the applicant's legal name as it appears in the current IRS 501(c)(3) status letter or in the official document that identifies the organization as a unit of state or local government, or as a federally recognized tribal community or tribe. (Do not use your organization's popular name, if different.)

b. Address:
Use Street 1 for your street address or post office box number, whichever is used for your U.S. Postal Service mailing address. Street 2 is not a required field and should be used only when a Suite or Room Number or other similar information is a necessary part of your address. Do not use Street 2 to give a second address for your organization.

In the Zip/Postal Code box, organizations in the United States should enter the full 9-digit zip code that was assigned by the U.S. Postal Service. If you do not know your full zip code, you may look it up at www.usps.com/zip4/.

d. Type of Applicant: Select the item that best characterizes your organization from the menu in the first drop down box. Additional choices are optional.

e. Employer/Taxpayer Identification Number (EIN/TIN): Enter the 9-digit number that was assigned by the Internal Revenue Service; do not use a Social Security Number.

f. Organizational DUNS: All organizational applicants for federal funds must have a DUNS number, which is recognized as the universal standard for identifying organizations worldwide. The number that you enter here must agree with the number (either 9 or 13 digits) that you used with the SAM (System for Award Management) as part of your Grants.gov registration. Otherwise, your application will not be validated by Grants.gov and will be rejected.

g. Congressional District: Enter the number of the Congressional District where the applicant organization is located. Use the following format: 2 character State Abbreviation-3 character District Number. For example, if your organization is located in the 5th Congressional District of California, enter "CA-005." If your state has a single At-Large Representative or your territory has a single Delegate, enter your 2 character state/territory abbreviation and "-000." If you need help determining your district, please visit the House of Representatives website at www.house.gov and use the "Find Your Representative" tool.

6. Project Information:

a. Project Title: Provide a brief descriptive title for your proposed project.

b. Project Description: In two or three brief sentences, clearly describe your specific project, not your organization. Begin the first sentence with "To support" and include the name of the project. Follow this with up to two more sentences that describe the type of project, the target population that will be studied, and where the project will take place. For examples, see Recent Grants.

Please note:

This field on the form has a character limit of 1,000. Even if you have less than 1,000 characters, Grants.gov may translate special characters (e.g., apostrophes) in a way that will cause your application to be rejected. This can happen if you copy from an old application package or another document and paste into the form.  We strongly encourage you to write a succinct project description and double check the number of characters.

c. Proposed Project Start Date/End Date: Enter the beginning and ending dates for your requested period of support, i.e., the span of time necessary to plan, execute, and close out your proposed project. The start date should be the first day of the month, and the end date should be the last day of the month. The Arts Endowment’s support of a project may start on May 1, 2014, or any time thereafter. A grant period should not exceed two years; for projects that include primary data collection the grant period should not exceed three years.

7. Project Director:

Provide the requested information for the Project Director. Select a Prefix (e.g., Ms., Mr.) even though this is not a required field.

Provide contact information, including an e-mail address that will be valid through the announcement date for your category.

This person should be the Principal Investigator who has the authority and responsibility for the proper conduct of the research, including the appropriate use of federal funds. This individual will have primary responsibility for communicating on the scientific and related budgetary aspects of the project.

8. Primary Contact/Grant Administrator:

Provide the requested information for the individual who should be contacted on all matters involving this application and the administration of any grant that may be awarded. For colleges and universities, this person is often a Sponsored Research, Sponsored Programs, or Contracts and Grants Officer. Select a Prefix even though this is not a required field. For the Telephone number field, use the following format: 000-000-0000.

In some organizations, particularly smaller ones, this individual may be the same as the Project Director. If this is the case, you may check the "Same as Project Director" box and not repeat information that you have already provided in Item 7. (If the Primary Contact/Grant Administrator is the same as the Authorized Representative, please complete all items under both 8 and 9 even though there will be some repetition.)

9. Authorized Representative:

Enter the requested information for the AOR (Authorized Organization Representative) who will be submitting this application to Grants.gov. Select a Prefix even though this is not a required field. The AOR must have the legal authority to obligate your organization. By clicking the "I Agree" box at the top of Item 9, this individual will be certifying compliance with relevant federal requirements on your organization's behalf. (These requirements can be found in the "Assurance of Compliance" section of these guidelines.) The "Signature of Authorized Representative" and "Date Signed" boxes will be populated by Grants.gov upon submission of the application.

Step 2: Fill out the Project/Performance Site Location(s) Form [Back to Top]

NOTE: All asterisked (*) items and yellow fields on this form are required and must be completed before you will be able to submit the form. Do not type in all capital letters when completing the form. Enter information directly into the form. Do not copy from an old application package or another document and paste into the form.

This form collects information about the primary site, as well as additional sites, where project activity will take place. If a portion of the project will be performed at any other site(s), identify the site location(s) in the additional block(s) provided. Use up to 29 additional blocks as required (one for each site). Your responses will not be a factor in the review of your application.

For the Organization Name:

Enter the name of the organization where the activity will take place. This may be the applicant organization or another organization. The remaining fields in a block (e.g., DUNS number) are associated with the organization where the activity will take place.

For the Project/Performance Site Congressional District:

Use the following format: 2 character State Abbreviation-3 character District Number. For example, if the organization is located in the 5th Congressional District of California, enter "CA-005." If the project directly impacts all districts in a state, enter "all" for the district number. For example: "MD-all" for all Congressional districts in Maryland. If nationwide (all districts in all states), enter "US-all." If the state has a single At-Large Representative or the territory has a single Delegate, enter your 2 character state/territory abbreviation and "-000." If the project is outside the U.S., enter "00-000." If you need help determining a district, go to www.house.gov and use the "Find Your Representative" tool.

Step 3: Fill out the NEA Organization & Project Profile Form [Back to Top]

NOTE: All asterisked (*) items and yellow fields on this form are required and must be completed before you will be able to submit the form. Do not type in all capital letters when completing the form. Enter information directly into the form. Do not copy from an old application package or another document and paste into the form.

See the instructions below for the following items (other instructions are provided on the form itself).

Part 1. Applicant

Project Field/Discipline: Select "Research."

Category: Select "Research: Art Works."

Intended Outcome: Select the following outcome as your primary outcome:

Intended Outcome:

Understanding: Evidence of the Value and/or Impact of the Arts is Expanded and Promoted.

Please ensure that your selection(s) match your narrative (Attachment 2) for the question about Outcome(s) and Measurements.

Project Budget Summary: The dollar amounts entered in these fields must agree with the corresponding dollar amounts on your Project Budget Form (Attachment 3).

Step 4: Complete and Attach Required Items to the Attachments Form [Back to Top]

The "Attachments Form" is not a form in the conventional sense. Rather, it is a place to attach documents that you have completed and saved elsewhere on your computer.

Several important points:

Several important points:

  1. Attachment 2 is a fillable form; you will find a link to it. This form can be filled in, saved to your computer, and attached without the need for special software or conversion to PDF.

    Please be sure you are using Adobe Reader (version 9 or higher) when filling out our PDF forms.

    Note to Mac users: Your computer may be set to open PDF files using Preview (you can tell which program is being used to view a PDF file by looking at the left-most item in the menu bar). Please verify that you are using Adobe Reader and not Preview.  If you don’t have Adobe Reader installed, you can download it here: http://get.adobe.com/reader/.

  2. All other attachments are documents (e.g., narratives, lists) that you will develop in accordance with the instructions provided. These items must be submitted as PDF (portable document format) files.

    These non-form documents can be created using any word processing software. When you have completed the document, save it to your computer and convert it to PDF before attaching. If you don't already have software to convert files to PDF, there are many low-cost and free software packages that can do this. To learn more, go to PDF Conversion Programs.

    Please make sure to convert your documents into PDF format in line with the guidance above. Do not create PDFs of your electronic documents by scanning. In the past, some applicants have printed their electronic documents and then scanned them, saving the scan in PDF format. PDFs created this way are much larger, and of lower quality, than PDFs created by the methods we recommend. Do not embed non-printable media files (video and/or sound) in your PDF documents. Static images (e.g., pictures) are acceptable. Please do not enable any document security settings or password-protect any PDF file you submit to us.

    No attachment should be more than 2 MB.

  3. For documents where a form is not provided (e.g., Attachment 1), label pages clearly with the name of the item (e.g., Application Narrative) and your organization's legal name. Leave a margin of at least one inch at the top, bottom, and sides of all pages. Do not reduce type below 12 point font size. Do not type in all capital letters. Number pages sequentially; place numbers on the bottom right hand corner of each page. Excess pages will be removed and will not be reviewed.

  4. Name your files as indicated below and attach them in the proper order. Limit file names to 50 or fewer characters and use only the following characters when naming your attachments: A-Z, a-z, 0-9, underscore (_), hyphen (-), space, and period. If you do not follow this rule, your application may be rejected. Please note that you cannot change the name of a file on the Attachments Form. Therefore make certain that each file is named correctly before you attach it.

When you open the Grants.gov Attachments Form, you will find 15 attachment buttons. By clicking on a button, you will be able to choose the PDF file from your computer that you wish to attach. Please attach the proper file to the proper button as listed below.

The Attachments

ATTACHMENT 1: DETAILS OF THE PROJECT NARRATIVE

To this button attach an Application Narrative of no more than 10 pages (single-spaced, Times New Roman 12-point font, 1-inch margins). (Excess pages will be removed and will not be reviewed.) The file name should indicate the name of your organization or a recognizable acronym followed by "Narrative" (e.g., "ABCOrgNarrative"). Please organize your response a), b), c), etc. and use the boldfaced language below as a heading for each item.

The information that you provide will be reviewed in accordance with the "Review Criteria" for the Research: Art Works category. Your narrative should address each of these "Review Criteria" and include information on the following, as relevant to your project.

Ensure that your descriptions are consistent with the information that you provide on the NEA Organization & Project Profile form:

  1. Research motivation. Provide detailed information on the topic that will be studied, its significance to the value and/or impact of the arts, a review of any relevant literature with citations to provide evidence of the unique potential contribution of this research, and one or more concise and theory-driven research questions the project seeks to answer, along with the hypothesis or hypotheses.

  2. Research design. Provide a clear and detailed research design, including the methodologies that will be used, and justification for the proposed design, which should be appropriate for testing the indicated hypotheses and answering the proposed research questions.

  3. Data source(s). Clearly describe the dataset(s) to be used, including information about the year(s) the data were or will be collected, the sampling design, the response rate, and the specific variables that will be used in analysis. If the project involves analyzing variables from more than one data source concurrently, include a description of the comparability of these variables and/or their sources. Describe how the data lend themselves to addressing the proposed research questions, and discuss any significant limitations posed by the data.

  4. Data analyses. Describe the data analysis procedures. Provide information about the types of statistical and/or qualitative analyses that will be conducted. If applicable, specify the statistical model (i.e., relationships between independent and dependent variables) and its hypotheses, and explain any measures that will be used to operationalize the model.

  5. Personnel capability. Describe the qualifications, roles, responsibilities, and percent of time to be devoted to the project for key personnel (curriculum vitae of key personnel are requested as a separate item). Identify the Principal Investigator (also list this person as the Project Director on the Application for Federal Domestic Assistance SF-424). Other Investigators who share authority and responsibility for the research project may be listed as Co-Principal Investigators. List any advisors to the project.

  6. Organizational capacity. Describe the capacity of the organization to conduct the proposed research, its history of conducting research, and, if applicable, its resources that will support the proposed activities.List any partners for the project and describe their responsibilities and the resources they will provide.

  7. Outline for research report. Provide a draft outline for the research report that will be submitted at the end of the grant period. (See “Administrative Requirements” for additional information.)

  8. Outcome(s) and Measurements. Clearly indicate the project's goals, the method for measuring how these goals will be achieved, and how these goals achieve the NEA outcome for Understanding: Evidence of the value and/or impact of the arts is expanded and promoted.

  9. Detailed Schedule of key project dates and milestones for each year of the proposed project. If you include activities prior to May 1, 2014, make sure you note that those activities (and their related costs) are not included in the project request or the Official NEA Project Budget form.
  10. Plans for reporting and disseminating the study results. Provide plans for making all related research reports accessible to the public, including use of various distribution channels and modes. Describe partnerships, if any, for distributing the results.

ATTACHMENT 2: OFFICIAL NEA PROJECT BUDGET FORM, PAGES 1 and 2
CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: [FORM] [INSTRUCTIONS]

To this button, attach the Project Budget form, Pages 1 and 2. The file name should indicate the name of your organization or a recognizable acronym followed by "ProjectBudget." (If you wish to submit a copy of your own project budget, you may do so; see Attachment 4. Your own project budget may not be submitted in lieu of the required form.)

Clearly itemize the project activities and resources for which you are requesting funds; provide justification for each item either in the Official NEA Project Budget Form or as an attachment (see Attachment 4).

No pre-award costs are allowable in the Project Budget. Project costs that are incurred before the project start date will be removed from the Project Budget.

ATTACHMENT 3: BIOGRAPHIES OF KEY PROJECT PERSONNEL(No more than four pages per person)

To this button, attach curriculum vitae for the key personnel to be involved in the project. The file name should indicate the name of your organization or a recognizable acronym followed by "CV" (e.g., "ABCOrgCV").

ATTACHMENT 4: OPTIONAL PROJECT BUDGET (Three-page limit)

If you wish to submit a copy of a differently formatted budget (e.g., one created for your own planning purposes), attach it to this button. The file name should indicate the name of your organization or a recognizable acronym followed by "SepBudget." Limit this to a maximum of three pages.

Include justification for each item in the Official NEA Project Budget Form (Attachment 2). This item is not required. However, please note that the Official NEA Project Budget form (described under Attachment 2) is required

ATTACHMENT 5: SPECIAL ITEMS

To this button, attach a single file that includes the items specified below. The file name should indicate the name of your organization or a recognizable acronym followed by "SpecReqs."

  • Data management plan (no more than two pages): Describe the types of raw data and meta-data to be generated by the project, and address any plans for sharing those data with other researchers and the public. The data management plan will be evaluated by panelists as part of the application review. At a minimum, data management plans should address.
    1. Types of raw data (e.g., results of data collection) and meta-data (e.g., data collection instruments, codebooks) to be produced in the course of the research project.

    2. Standards to be used for raw- and meta-data format and content. Where existing standards are absent or inadequate, this should be documented along with any proposed solutions or remedies.

    3. Policies for sharing the raw- and meta-data with researchers and the public, including provisions for appropriate protection of privacy, confidentiality, security, intellectual property, or other rights or requirements. To the degree possible, explain factors that may affect making the data publicly available. If appropriate, explain the lowest level of aggregated data that will be shared with others.

    4. Plans for archiving the raw- and meta-data, and for ensuring continuous access to them beyond the project period. Describe physical and virtual resources and/or facilities that will be used for data preservation. Include any third-party data repositories. Explain changes to any roles and responsibilities that will occur if the project leaders leave the applicant organization or project.A valid data management plan may include only the statement that no detailed plan is needed, as long as the statement is accompanied by a clear justification. If the plan cannot fit within the two-page limit, you may use part of the 10-page Application Narrative for additional data management information. The data management plan may not be used to exceed the 10-page Application Narrative limit. The data management plan will be evaluated under the review criterion for artistic merit.

  • Descriptions (e.g., abstracts) about relevant prior research (no more than three pages) conducted by you or key personnel. Include the types of methodology used and project outcomes, and, if available, links to publications.

  • Examples related to the data collection, such as survey instruments, sampling design, relative excerpts from or links to codebooks, and other relevant information about the data collection methods, including IRB approval. Only include information that is relevant to the project in this item.

    Applicants that include primary data collection as a proposed project activity are required to provide documentation regarding whether IRB approval is needed to execute the project. If the documentation states that IRB approval is required, then applicants also must indicate the measures they have taken or plan on taking to gain IRB approval.

  • Information that documents your organization’s right to access the dataset(s) specified in your application.

    This must be either:

    • Written permission that grants you the right to access the dataset(s) specified in your application. The written permission must explicitly identify the holder of the access and the date of consent, and, if applicable, time restrictions for accessing the data and the cost of the dataset(s).

    OR

    • Evidence that the dataset(s) is in the public domain.

    OR

    • If you will be including the purchase of the dataset(s) in your Official NEA Project Budget, evidence that guarantees that you will have the right to access the dataset(s) upon purchase. Detail the process that you will use, the date by which you will purchase the dataset(s) and secure access rights, and the cost of the dataset(s).

    The Arts Endowment may contact you for documentation of access at any time.

  • If the proposed project involves primary data collection, evidence of having completed federally sponsored training on the protection of human subjects in research is required. Evidence can be demonstrated by providing a certificate of completion from the Protecting Human Research Participants free training module offered through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Extramural Research, or from a comparable training program sponsored by another U.S. federal agency or department. Evidence must be demonstrated by providing copies of the certificate of completion for each researcher involved in the project.

Leave all remaining Attachment buttons blank.

Step 5: Submit Items in Steps 1-4 above electronically through Grants.gov [Back to Top]

Follow the detailed instructions under "Submit your electronic application" above.