Administration for Children and Families
 
 
Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation
 
Behavioral Interventions Scholars
HHS-2018-ACF-OPRE-PD-1367
Application Due Date: 06/01/2018
 
Behavioral Interventions Scholars
HHS-2018-ACF-OPRE-PD-1367
TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
    1. Overview
    2. Executive Summary
    1. Program Description
    2. Federal Award Information
    3. Eligibility Information
      1. Eligible Applicants
      2. Cost Sharing or Matching
      3. Other
    4. Application and Submission Information
      1. Address to Request Application Package
      2. Content and Form of Application Submission
      3. Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management
        (SAM)
      4. Submission Dates and Times
      5. Intergovernmental Review
      6. Funding Restrictions
      7. Other Submission Requirements
    5. Application Review Information
      1. Criteria
      2. Review and Selection Process
      3. Anticipated Announcement and Federal Award Dates
    6. Federal Award Administration Information
      1. Federal Award Notices
      2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements
      3. Reporting
    7. HHS Awarding Agency Contact(s)
    8. Other Information
 
 
HHS-2018-ACF-OPRE-PD-1367
Behavioral Interventions Scholars
ANNOUNCEMENT PUBLICATION | VALIDATE & APPROVE
Department of Health & Human Services
Administration for Children and Families
 
Funding Opportunity Title:Behavioral Interventions Scholars
Announcement Type:Initial
Funding Opportunity Number:HHS-2018-ACF-OPRE-PD-1367
Primary CFDA Number: 93.647
Due Date For Letter of Intent: 05/02/2018
Due Date for Applications: 06/01/2018
 
Executive Summary

Notice: 

  • Applicants are strongly encouraged to read the entire funding opportunity announcement (FOA) carefully and observe the application formatting requirements listed in Section IV.2. Content and Form of Application Submission. For more information on applying for grants, please visit "How to Apply for a Grant" on the ACF Grants Page at https://www.acf.hhs.gov/grants/howto.

The Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE) within the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) announces the availability of funds for Behavioral Interventions Scholars grants to support dissertation research by advanced graduate students who are applying a behavioral economics or behavioral science lens to issues facing low-income and other vulnerable families in the United States. Behavioral science, which integrates various related disciplines, aims to describe and predict human decision-making and behavior in a way that is closer to reality than what traditional, or neoclassical, economic theory predicts. These grants are meant to build capacity in the research field to use behavioral science approaches to examine specific research questions of relevance to social service programs and policies, and to foster mentoring relationships between high-quality doctoral students and faculty members or other experienced researchers.

For further information about OPRE, see http​://www​.acf​.hhs​.gov​/progr​ams​/opre​. Awards are dependent upon the availability of funds and the best interest of the federal government.

I. Program Description

Statutory Authority

Title XI, part A, section 1110 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. § 1310)

Description

Background

Many human services programs are designed such that individuals must make active decisions and go through a series of steps in order to benefit from them—from deciding which programs to apply for, to completing forms, attending meetings, showing proof of eligibility, and arranging travel and child care. Program designers often implicitly assume that individuals will carefully consider options and make decisions that maximize their well-being. Yet innovative research in the area of behavioral science has shown that human decision-making is often imperfect and imprecise. Behavioral science, which integrates various related disciplines, aims to describe and predict human decision-making and behavior in a way that is closer to reality than what traditional, or neoclassical, economic theory predicts. While the traditional theory assumes that individuals weigh costs and benefits and make “rational” decisions, behavioral theory recognizes that attention, self-control, and other cognitive resources are limited and can be overwhelmed, and it is unlikely that most people use all available information to make a decision. People – clients and program administrators alike – procrastinate, get overwhelmed by choices, and miss important details. As a result, both programs and participants may not always achieve the goals they set for themselves. 

Since 2010, OPRE has explored ways to apply insights from behavioral economics, or behavioral science, to improve the operations, implementation, and efficacy of the human services programs and policies administered by ACF. The Behavioral Interventions Scholars grants are intended to support dissertation research to continue building empirical evidence in the field of behavioral science, specifically as applied to social services programs and policies and other issues facing poor and vulnerable families in the United States, and to strengthen the capacity of next-generation researchers to conduct rigorous, policy-relevant research in this area. The goal of this work is to learn how tools from behavioral science can be used to deliver programs more effectively and, ultimately, improve the well-being of low-income children, adults, and families. Insights from behavioral economics and from the broader field of behavioral science suggest that applying a deeper understanding of decision-making and behavior can improve human services program design and outcomes. Principles from behavioral science can both shed light on decision-making and offer new tools to improve outcomes for program participants. Small changes in the environment can facilitate desired behaviors and personal responsibility; planning and commitment devices can be used to improve self-control; and changed default rules can help lead to positive outcomes.

Between 2012 and 2015, the researchers supported by OPRE's Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency (BIAS) project worked with 8 states and localities to develop 15 tests of behavioral interventions in the domains of work support, child care, and child support. The interventions, all of which were tested using randomized controlled trials, included simplifying and redesigning communication materials using behavioral principles; providing personalized child care referrals; and sending reminder messages via telephone, text message, or postcard. The results of these tests demonstrated the promise of applying insights from behavioral science to improve human services program outcomes. In 11 of the 15 randomized controlled trials, behavioral "nudges" like reminders or simplified, personal letters had a statistically significant impact on at least one primary outcome of interest. BIAS interventions increased child care subsidy renewal rates and the use of quality-rated care; boosted requests for child support order modifications and frequency of payment; and fostered engagement in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and other social service appointments and activities.

Following this first round of successful trials, OPRE launched the BIAS Next Generation research project in 2016, which is building on the activities and lessons of the first generation of interventions as well as going beyond this work in various ways. More information on OPRE’s BIAS portfolio can be found at: http​://www​.acf​.hhs​.gov​/progr​ams​/opre​/behav​ioral​-inter​venti​ons​-to​-advan​ce​-self​-suffi​cienc​y​-bias​-resea​rch​-portf​olio​.

The Behavioral Interventions Scholars grant program, initiated in 2017, complements OPRE's ongoing behavioral science work by building capacity in the research field to apply a behavioral science lens to social service programs and/or to issues facing poor and vulnerable families in the United States, and to foster mentoring relationships between high-quality doctoral students and faculty members or other experienced researchers working in this field.


The specific goals of the Behavioral Interventions Scholars grants are to:

1. Facilitate the completion of high-quality research projects that will add to the growing body of knowledge on effective behavioral interventions with direct relevance to issues facing low-income families and other vulnerable groups.

2. Directly support graduate students’ engagement in behavioral science research as it relates to ACF programs and/or populations, as well as their training and professional development. Students are expected to become autonomous researchers with specialized knowledge of the intersection of behavioral insights and issues affecting ACF populations.

3. Foster mentoring relationships between faculty members or other experienced researchers and graduate students who are pursuing doctoral-level research in the field of applied behavioral science or related fields. Each student will work in partnership with a mentor to foster the skills necessary to build a graduate student's career trajectory. Within this mentoring relationship, scholars are expected to become independent researchers with the skills necessary to carry out behavioral science studies with a high level of technical quality.

4. Encourage active communication, networking, and collaboration among the group of graduate student grantees, their mentors, and other prominent researchers in the field, both during the graduate students’ training as well as into the early stages of their research careers.

5. Disseminate information about effective behavioral interventions, including by increasing knowledge-sharing with human services practitioners.

Research Topics of Interest

As they relate to low-income and other vulnerable populations in the United States, research topics that are of particular interest for this announcement include (but are not limited to):

1. Behavioral interventions within the domains of:

  • TANF and the safety net;
  • Employment and the labor market;
  • Job training and education;
  • Child welfare and foster care;
  • Housing and homelessness;
  • Financial security and economic independence;
  • Human trafficking;
  • Refugee assistance;
  • Teen pregnancy prevention;
  • Child care;
  • Child support;
  • Head Start and early childhood education;
  • Early childhood home visiting;
  • Family strengthening;
  • Family violence prevention; and
  • Healthy marriage and responsible fatherhood;

2. Increasing client participation and/or retention in programs and services;

3. Increasing client uptake and/or maintenance of public assistance benefits;

4. Motivating behaviors related to compliance with program rules and participation in required activities;

5. Interventions aimed at sustaining longer-term changes in habits and behaviors;

6. The respective impacts of interventions targeting clients versus those targeting caseworkers or program/service providers;

7. The respective impacts of interventions at different levels of intensity, from nudges to more systemic behaviorally informed changes;

8. The comparative effects of different types of behavioral interventions with the same goals;

9. The applicability to other contexts of behavioral interventions previously shown to work in one particular context; and

10. Implementation studies to understand how participants experience and respond to behavioral interventions.

Project Requirements

1. Research Dissemination

  • Conferences and Meetings. Participation in two conferences annually is mandatory. The first is the required grantee meeting, which is anticipated to occur in Washington, DC, and is likely to last one day. Additionally, participation for at least two days in the Research and Evaluation Conference on Self-Sufficiency (RECS), historically held in late May or early June, in Washington, DC, is required. This is a biennial conference. On the off years when RECS is not held, scholars are required to attend another relevant conference of their choice. The proposed budget must reflect funds to cover travel, lodging, and other costs for the scholar to attend both of these conferences. The mentor/principal investigator is only required to attend the grantee meeting. If funding for travel costs for either the scholars and/or the mentor will come from another source of travel funds, this should be clearly noted in the application's budget and budget justification.
  • Research Briefs and Briefings. Twice during the project period, the scholar is expected to prepare a one- to two-page brief describing the objectives, hypotheses and/or findings (when available), and the potential practice or policy implications of their research projects. These briefs will be required at the beginning and end of the project period. At the beginning of the project period, OPRE will provide grantees with guidance to support the development of the research briefs. In addition, the grantee may be asked to present at research briefings in Washington, DC. Work plans/timelines included in the application must reflect time and effort for preparation of the two required research briefs during the course of the project. (The budget need not reflect travel funds for possible briefing(s) in Washington, DC, as any requested briefings will be scheduled to coincide with grantee meetings or will take place via video conference.)
  • Archiving. OPRE will work with each grantee to identify optimum venues/repositories for archiving final data sets and other research products.

2. Approved Dissertation Proposal. Ideally, the graduate student should have an approved dissertation proposal by the due date of the grant application. If, however, the student does not have an approved dissertation proposal at the time of the application, the student must have approval prior to the award date of September 28, 2018. Additionally, if the proposal has not been approved at the time of the application submission, the scope and the research cannot change substantially from what was proposed in the application.

3. Principal Investigator/Mentor. The Principal Investigator/mentor must regularly monitor the student’s work. (Note: Although the mentor is listed as the Principal Investigator and must be committed to taking a central role in supporting the proposed dissertation research, this grant is intended for dissertation research by an individual student.) Mentors must provide substantial time and resources in mentoring doctoral-level student researchers in an effort to:

  • Provide ethical oversight and quality control of students’ research.
  • Develop students’ expertise in applied research.
  • Help students establish their independent line of research that will provide the foundation for their professional career.
  • Foster students’ partnerships with and dissemination efforts to social service programs, policymakers, and the research community.


Transferability

Since the merit of the application and the award are aligned with the support of a specific graduate student, awards may not be transferred to support another graduate student not specifically named in the application.

Grants awarded as a result of this competition are not transferable to another entity without prior written approval from ACF. In addition, grant funds may not be used to support project activities outside of the scope of the proposal of the awarded project without prior written approval by ACF.

Sharing of Awards

The awards are for support of an individual graduate student researcher. Awards cannot be divided among two or more students (i.e., no co-investigators).

Indirect Costs

If the applicant entity voluntarily relinquishes his or her indirect costs, or chooses to apply off-campus research rates, an authorized representative of the entity must submit a written acknowledgement that the indirect costs are being relinquished or a lower rate is being used. This voluntary decision to relinquish indirect costs or to apply off-campus research rates will not impact eligibility to submit an application and will not be a factor in objective review.

II. Federal Award Information
Funding Instrument Type: Grant
Estimated Total Funding: $100,000
Expected Number of Awards: 4
Award Ceiling: $25,000 Per Budget Period
Award Floor: $20,000 Per Budget Period
Average Projected Award Amount: $25,000 Per Budget Period
Anticipated Project Start Date: 09/30/2018

Length of Project Periods:

Length of Project Period: 12-month project period and budget period
24-month project period with two 12-month budget periods

Applicants may choose whether to apply for a 12-month project and budget period or a 24-month project with two 12-month budget periods.

Additional Information on Awards:

Awards made under this announcement are subject to the availability of federal funds.

Applications requesting an award amount that exceeds the Award Ceiling per budget period, or per project period, as stated in this section, will be disqualified from competitive review and from funding under this announcement. This disqualification applies only to the Award Ceiling listed for the first 12-month budget period for projects with multiple budget periods. If the project and budget period are the same, the disqualification applies to the Award Ceiling listed for the project period. Please see Section III.3. Other, Application Disqualification Factors.

Note: For those programs that require matching or cost sharing, recipients will be held accountable for projected commitments of non-federal resources in their application budgets and budget justifications by budget period or by project period for fully funded awards, even if the projected commitment exceeds the required amount of match or cost share. A recipient's failure to provide the required matching amount may result in the disallowance of federal funds. See Section III.2. of this announcement for information on cost-sharing or matching requirements.

Project Periods and Non-Competitive Continuation Awards

Applicants may apply for project periods of up to 24 months. Applicants proposing 12-month project periods will be awarded up to $25,000. Applicants proposing 24-month project periods will be awarded up to $25,000 for the first 12-month budget period and up to $25,000 for the second 12-month budget period.

For projects with a 24-month period, initial awards will be made for the first 12-month budget period; non-competing continuation awards for the second 12-month budget period will be subject to the availability of funds, satisfactory progress by the grantee, and a determination that continued funding would be in the interest of the federal government. During the first budget period, applicants proposing 24-month projects will receive instructions on how to submit non-competing continuation applications to request funds for the second budget period.

The 12-month or 24-month project period must be noted in Item 17 on the Standard Form (SF) 424 and the need for a 12-month or 24-month project period must be identified in the project narrative, budget, and budget justification.

Indirect Costs: Indirect costs are included in the Award Ceiling and are taken into consideration under the Award Ceiling disqualification factor.

III. Eligibility Information

III.1. Eligible Applicants

Under Title XI, part A, section 1110 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1310), eligibility is open to “States and public and other organizations and agencies for paying part of the cost of research or demonstration projects such as those...which will help improve the administration and effectiveness of programs carried on or assisted under the Social Security Act and programs related thereto.”

Eligible U.S. entities may apply on behalf of a Principal Investigator who will serve as a mentor for an international non-U.S. citizen who is an advanced graduate student.

Additional Information on Eligibility

Applicants are required to submit written evidence that research is a primary organizational activity as part of the application submission. The required documentation is described in Section IV.2. The Project Description, Additional Eligibility Documentation. Lack of the required documentation will disqualify the application from review and from award. See Section III.3. Other, Application Disqualification Factors.

Applicants are required to submit a letter of support from the graduate student’s mentor, acting as the project’s Principal Investigator, that approves the application and provides a description of how the mentor will regularly monitor the student’s work. The description of the letter’s full requirements is available in Section IV.2. The Project Description, Additional Eligibility Documentation. Lack of the required documentation will disqualify the application from review and from award. See Section III.3. Other, Application Disqualification Factors.

The Principal Investigator (mentor) must have earned a doctorate or equivalent in a relevant field, must conduct research as a primary professional responsibility, and must have published or have been accepted for publication in at least one major peer-reviewed research journal as a first or second author, as evidenced in his/her curriculum vitae and/or biographical sketch.

Applications from individuals (including sole proprietorships) and foreign entities are not eligible and will be disqualified from competitive review and from funding under this announcement. See Section III.3. Other, Application Disqualification Factors.

See Section IV.2. Legal Status of Applicant Entity for documentation required to support eligibility.
 

III.2. Cost Sharing or Matching

Cost Sharing / Matching Requirement: Yes
Grantees are required to meet a non-federal share of the project cost, in accordance with Social Security Act Section 1110(a)(1)(A).

For all federal awards, any shared costs or matching funds and all contributions, including cash and third-party in-kind contributions, must be accepted as part of the recipient’s cost sharing or matching when such contributions meet all of the criteria listed in 45 CFR 75.306.

For awards that require matching by statute, recipients will be held accountable for projected commitments of non-federal resources in their application budgets and budget justifications by budget period, or by project period for fully funded awards, even if the projected commitment exceeds the amount required by the statutory match. A recipient’s failure to provide the statutorily required matching amount may result in the disallowance of federal funds. Recipients will be required to report these funds in the Federal Financial Reports.

For awards that do not require matching or cost sharing by statute, where “cost sharing” refers to any situation in which the recipient voluntarily shares in the costs of a project other than as statutorily required matching, recipients will be held accountable for projected commitments of non-federal resources in their application budgets and budget justifications by budget period, or by project period for fully funded awards. These include situations in which contributions are voluntarily proposed by an applicant and are accepted by ACF. Non-federal cost sharing will be included in the approved project budget so that the applicant will be held accountable for proposed non-federal cost-sharing funds as shown in the Notice of Award (NOA). A recipient’s failure to provide voluntary cost sharing of non-federal resources that have been accepted by ACF as part of the approved project costs and that have been shown as part of the approved project budget in the NOA, may result in the disallowance of federal funds. Recipients will be required to report these funds in the Federal Financial Reports.

Cost sharing is required for these projects in accordance with Title XI, Section 1110 of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. 1310. Applicants must provide a cost sharing amount in the application's Budget and Budget Justification. Cost sharing may be in cash or in-kind, including the graduate student's time spent on the project, and may include unrecovered indirect costs in accordance with 45 CFR 75.306. Since the cost sharing amount is not part of the federal share, it does not affect the Award Ceiling amount under the application disqualification factor. There is no minimum amount or percentage that is statutorily required for the cost share. See Section III.3 Other, Application Disqualification Factors. Please also see Section IV.2. Budget and Budget Justification, Commitment of Non-Federal Resources and Section V.1. Criteria, Budget and Budget Justification.

 

III.3. Other

Application Disqualification Factors

Applications from individuals (including sole proprietorships) and foreign entities are not eligible and will be disqualified from competitive review and from funding under this announcement.

Award Ceiling Disqualification

Applications that request an award amount that exceeds the Award Ceiling per budget period or per project period ("per project period" refers only to fully funded awards), as stated in Section II. Federal Award Information, will be disqualified from competitive review and from funding under this announcement. This disqualification applies only to the Award Ceiling listed for first 12-month budget period for projects with multiple budget periods. If the project and budget period are the same, the disqualification applies to the Award Ceiling listed for the project period.

Required Electronic Application Submission

ACF requires electronic submission of applications at www.Grants.gov. Paper applications received from applicants that have not been approved for an exemption from required electronic submission will be disqualified from competitive review and from funding under this announcement.

Applicants that do not have an Internet connection or sufficient computing capacity to upload large documents to the Internet may contact ACF for an exemption that will allow the applicant to submit applications in paper format. Information and the requirements for requesting an exemption from required electronic application submission are found in "ACF Policy for Requesting an Exemption from Electronic Application Submission" at www.acf.hhs.gov/grants/howto#chapter-6


Missing the Application Deadline (Late Applications)

The deadline for electronic application submission is 11:59 p.m., ET, on the due date listed in the Overview and in Section IV.4. Submission Dates and Times. Electronic applications submitted to www.Grants.gov after 11:59 p.m., ET, on the due date, as indicated by a dated and time-stamped email from www.Grants.gov, will be disqualified from competitive review and from funding under this announcement. That is, applications submitted to www.Grants.gov, on or after 12:00 a.m., ET, on the day after the due date will be disqualified from competitive review and from funding under this announcement. 

Applications submitted to www.Grants.gov at any time during the open application period, and prior to the due date and time, which fail the www.Grants.gov validation check, will not be received at, or acknowledged by, ACF. 

Each time an application is submitted via www.Grants.gov, the submission will generate a new date and time-stamp email notification. Only those applications with on-time date and time stamps that result in a validated application, which is transmitted to ACF, will be acknowledged.  

The deadline for receipt of paper applications is 4:30 p.m., ET, on the due date listed in the Overview and in Section IV.4. Submission Dates and Times. Paper applications received after 4:30 p.m., ET, on the due date will be disqualified from competitive review and from funding under this announcement. Paper applications received from applicants that have not received approval of an exemption from required electronic submission will be disqualified from competitive review and from funding under this announcement.

Evidence of Research as a Primary Organizational Activity

Applications that do not include written evidence that research is a primary organizational activity will be disqualified from review and from funding under this FOA. See Section III.1. Eligible Applicants, Additional Information on Eligibility, and Section IV.2. Project Description, Additional Eligibility Documentation.

Letter of Support from Mentor/Principal Investigator

Applications that do not include a letter of support from the graduate student’s mentor, acting as the project’s Principal Investigator, that approves the application and provides a description of how the mentor will regularly monitor the student’s work, will be disqualified from review and from funding under this FOA. See Section III.1. Eligible Applicants, Additional Information on Eligibility, and Section IV.2. Project Description, Additional Eligibility Documentation.

Notification of Application Disqualification

Applicants will be notified of a disqualification determination by email or by USPS postal mail within 30 federal business days from the closing date of this FOA.

IV. Application and Submission Information

IV.1. Address to Request Application Package

Behavioral Interventions Scholars Grants
c/o ICF International
9300 Lee Highway
Fairfax, VA 22031
Phone: (877) 350-5913
Fax: (703) 934-3740
Email: behavioralscholars@icfi.com


Electronic Application Submission:
The electronic application submission package is available in the FOA's listing at www.Grants.gov.

Applications in Paper Format:
For applicants that have received an exemption to submit applications in paper format, Standard Forms, assurances, and certifications are available in the Application Forms Package available in the FOA's Grants.gov Synopsis under the Package tab at www.Grants.gov. See Section IV.2. Request an Exemption from Required Electronic Application Submission if applicants do not have an Internet connection or sufficient computing capacity to upload large documents (files) to www.Grants.gov.

Federal Relay Service:
Hearing-impaired and speech-impaired callers may contact the Federal Relay Service (FedRelay) for assistance at www.gsa.gov/fedrelay.

IV.2. Content and Form of Application Submission

IV.2. Content and Form of Application Submission

FORMATTING APPLICATION SUBMISSIONS

Each applicant applying electronically via www.Grants.gov is required to upload only two electronic files, excluding Standard Forms and OMB-approved forms. No more than two files will be accepted for the review, and additional files will be removed. Standard Forms and OMB-approved forms will not be considered additional files.

FOR ALL APPLICATIONS:
Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR)
AOR is the designated representative of the applicant/recipient organization with authority to act on the organization’s behalf in matters related to the award and administration of grants. In signing a grant application, this individual agrees that the organization will assume the obligations imposed by applicable Federal statutes and regulations and other terms and conditions of the award, including any assurances, if a grant is awarded.

Point of Contact
In addition to the AOR, a point of contact on matters involving the application must also be identified.  The point of contact, known as the Project Director or Principal Investigator, should not be identical to the person identified as the AOR.  The point of contact must be available to answer any questions pertaining to the application.

Application Checklist
Applicants may refer to Section VIII. Other Information for a checklist of application requirements that may be used in developing and organizing application materials.

Accepted Font Style
Applications must be in Times New Roman (TNR), 12-point font, except for footnotes, which may be TNR 10-point font.  Pages that contain blurred text, or text that is too small to read comfortably, will be removed. 

English Language
Applications must be submitted in the English language and must be in the terms of United States (U.S.) dollars. If applications are submitted using another currency, ACF will convert the foreign currency to U.S. currency using the date of receipt of the application to determine the rate of exchange.


Page Limitations
Applicants must observe the page limitation(s) listed under "PAGE LIMITATIONS AND CONTENT FOR ALL SUBMISSION FORMATS:".  Page limitation(s) do not include SFs and OMB-approved forms.

All applications must be double-spaced.  An application that exceeds the cited page limitation for double-spaced pages in the Project Description file or the Appendices file will have the last extra pages removed and the removed pages will not be reviewed.

Application Elements Exempted from Double-Spacing Requirements
The following elements of the application submission are exempt from the double-spacing requirements and may be single-spaced: the table of contents, the one-page Project Summary/Abstract, required Assurances and Certifications, required SFs, required OMB-approved forms, resumes, logic models, proof of legal status/non-profit status, third-party agreements, letters of support,  footnotes, tables, the line-item budget and/or the budget justification.

Adherence to FOA Formatting, Font, and Page Limitation Requirements
Applications that fail to adhere to ACF’s FOA formatting, font, and page limitation requirements will be adjusted by the removal of page(s) from the application. Pages will be removed before the objective review. The removed page(s) will not be made available to reviewers.

Applications that have more than one scanned page of a document on a single page will have the page(s) removed from the review.

For applicants that submit paper applications, double-sided pages will be counted as two pages. When the maximum allowed number of pages is reached, excess pages will be removed and will not be made available to reviewers.

NOTE: Applicants failing to adhere to ACF’s FOA formatting, font, and page limitation requirements will receive a letter from ACF notifying them that their application was amended. The letter will be sent after awards have been issued and will specify the reason(s) for removal of page(s).

Corrections/Updates to Submitted Applications
When applicants make revisions to a previously submitted application, ACF will accept only the last on-time application for pre-review under the Application Disqualification Factors. The Application Disqualification Factors determine the application's acceptance for competitive review. See Section III.3. Application Disqualification Factors and Section IV.2. Application Submission Options.

Copies Required
Applicants must submit one complete copy of the application package electronically. Applicants submitting electronic applications need not provide additional copies of their application package.

Applicants submitting applications in paper format must submit one original and two copies of the complete application, including all Standard Forms and OMB-approved forms. The original copy must have original signatures.

Signatures
Applicants submitting electronic applications must follow the registration and application submission instructions provided at www.Grants.gov.

The original of a paper format application must include original signatures of the authorized representatives.

Accepted Application Format
With the exception of the required Standard Forms (SFs) and OMB-approved forms, all application materials must be formatted so that they are 8 ½" x 11" white paper with 1-inch margins all around.

If possible, applicants are encouraged to include page numbers for each page within the application.

ACF generally does not encourage submission of scanned documents as they tend to have reduced clarity and readability.  If documents must be scanned, the font size on any scanned documents must be large enough so that it is readable. Documents must be scanned page-for-page, meaning that applicants may not scan more than one page of a document onto a single page. All pages of the application must be readable. Pages with blurred text will be removed from the application.

PAGE LIMITATIONS AND CONTENT FOR ALL SUBMISSION FORMATS:

1. Each application may include only one proposed project.

2. Page Limits and Numbering: Applicants must limit their entire application (both the Project Narrative File and the Appendices File) to 100 pages. 


3. Organization of Application Submission: Applicants are strongly advised to use headings and sub-headings that correspond to the required proposal sections outlined below. Applicants are further advised to include all required forms and materials.

A. File One: Project Description (for details on preparing the full project description, see additional instructions in Section IV.2. Content and Form of Application Submission, The Project Description)

1. Table of Contents

2. Project Summary/Abstract

3. Approach

(A) Background, Significance, and Objectives

(B) Research Design and Methodology

(C) Management and Dissemination Plans

4. Protection of Sensitive and/or Confidential Information

5. Budget Justification Narrative

6. References

B. File Two: Appendices (for details on preparing these appendices, see additional instructions in Section IV.2. Content and Form of Application Submission, The Project Description)

1. Letter of Support from Mentor 

2. Curriculum Vitae for Student

3. Curriculum Vitae for Principal Investigator/Mentor

4. Official Transcript for Student Reflecting Completed Graduate Courses and Status in the Doctoral Program

5. Documentation of Approved Doctoral Dissertation Proposal

6. Evidence of Research as a Primary Organizational Activity

7. Proof of Non-Profit Status (if applicable)

8. Proof of For-Profit Status (if applicable)

ELECTRONIC APPLICATION SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS
Applicants are required to submit their applications electronically unless they have requested and received an exemption that will allow submission in paper format. See Section IV.2. Application Submission Options for information about requesting an exemption.

Electronic applications will only be accepted via www.Grants.gov. ACF will not accept applications submitted via email or via facsimile.

Each applicant is required to upload ONLY two electronic files, excluding SFs and OMB-approved forms.

File One: Must contain the entire Project Description, and the Budget and Budget Justification (including a line-item budget and a budget narrative).

File Two: Must contain all documents required in the Appendices.

Adherence to the Two-File Requirement
No more than two files will be accepted for the review.  Applications with additional files will be amended and files will be removed from the review.  SFs and OMB-approved forms will not be considered additional files.  

Application Upload Requirements
ACF strongly recommends that electronic applications be uploaded as Portable Document Files (PDFs). One file must contain the entire Project Description and Budget Justification; the other file must contain all documents required in the Appendices. Details on the content of each of the two files, as well as page limitations, are listed earlier in this section.

To adhere to the two-file requirement, applicants may need to convert and/or merge documents together using a PDF converter software. Many recent versions of Microsoft Office include the ability to save documents to the PDF format without need of additional software. Applicants using the Adobe Professional software suite will be able to merge these documents together.  ACF recommends merging documents electronically rather than scanning multiple documents into one document manually, as scanned documents may have reduced clarity and readability.

Applicants must ensure that the version of Adobe Professional they are using is compatible with Grants.gov. To verify Adobe software compatibility please go to Grants.gov and click on “Support” at the top bar menu and select “Adobe Software Compatibility”, which is listed under the topic “Online Answers.” The Adobe verification process allows applicants to test their version of the software by opening a test application package. Grant.gov also includes guidance on how to download a supported version of Adobe, as well as troubleshooting instructions if an applicant is unable to open the test application package. 

The Adobe Software Compatibility page located on Grants.gov also provides guidance for applicants that have received error messages while attempting to save an application package. It also addresses local network and/or computer security settings and the impact this has on use of Adobe software.

Required Standard Forms (SFs) and OMB-approved Forms
Standard Forms (SFs) and OMB-approved forms, such as the SF-424 application and budget forms and the SF-P/PSL (Project/Performance Site Location), are uploaded separately at Grants.gov. These forms are submitted separately from the Project Description and Appendices files. See Section IV.2. Required Forms, Assurances, and Certifications for the listing of required Standard Forms, OMB-approved forms, and required assurances and certifications.

Naming Application Submission Files
Carefully observe the file naming conventions required by www.Grants.gov. Limit file names to 50 characters (characters and spaces). Special characters that are allowed under Grants.gov’s naming conventions, and are accommodated by ACF’s systems, are listed in the instructions available in the Download Application Package at Grants.gov. Please also see https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/applicants/submitting-utf-8-special-characters.html.

Use only file formats supported by ACF
It is critical that applicants submit applications using only the supported file formats listed here. While ACF supports all of the following file formats, we strongly recommend that the two application submission files (Project Description and Appendices) are uploaded as PDF documents in order to comply with the two file upload limitation. Documents in file formats that are not supported by ACF will be removed from the application and will not be used in the competitive review. This may make the application incomplete and ACF will not make any awards based on an incomplete application.

ACF supports the following file formats:

  • Adobe PDF – Portable Document Format (.pdf)
  • Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx)
  • Microsoft Excel (.xls or .xlsx)
  • Microsoft PowerPoint (.ppt)
  • Corel WordPerfect (.wpd)
  • Image Formats (.JPG, .GIF, .TIFF, or .BMP only)

Do Not Encrypt or Password-Protect the Electronic Application Files
If ACF cannot access submitted electronic files because they are encrypted or password protected, the affected file will be removed from the application and will not be reviewed. This removal may make the application incomplete and ACF will not make awards based on an incomplete application.

FORMATTING FOR PAPER APPLICATION SUBMISSIONS:
The following requirements are only applicable to applications submitted in paper format. Applicants must receive an exemption from ACF in order for a paper format application to be accepted for review. For more information on the exemption, see "ACF Policy on Requesting an Exemption from Required Electronic Application Submission'" at www.acf.hhs.gov/grants/ howto#chapter-6

Format Requirements for Paper Applications
All copies of mailed or hand-delivered paper applications must be submitted in a single package. If an applicant is submitting multiple applications under a single FOA, or multiple applications under separate FOAs, each application submission must be packaged separately. The package(s) must be clearly labeled for the specific FOA it addresses by FOA title and by Funding Opportunity Number (FON).

Applicants using paper format should download the application forms package associated with the FOA's Synopsis on www.Grants.gov under the Package tab.

Because each application will be duplicated, do not use or include separate covers, binders, clips, tabs, plastic inserts, maps, brochures, or any other items that cannot be processed easily on a photocopy machine with an automatic feed. Do not bind, clip, staple, or fasten in any way separate sections of the application. Applicants are advised that the copies of the application submitted, not the original, will be reproduced by the federal government for review. All application materials must be one-sided for duplication purposes. All pages in the application submission must be sequentially numbered.

Addresses for Submission of Paper Applications
See Section IV.7. Other Submission Requirements for addresses for paper format application submissions.

Required Forms, Assurances, and Certifications


Applicants seeking grant or cooperative agreement awards under this announcement must submit the listed Standard Forms (SFs), assurances, and certifications with the application.
All required Standard Forms, assurances, and certifications are available in the Application Package posted for this FOA at www.Grants.gov.

 

Forms / Assurances / Certifications Submission Requirement Notes / Description

SF-424 - Application for Federal Assistance

Submission is required for all applicants by the application due date.

Required for all applications.

SF-Project/Performance Site Location(s) (SF-P/PSL)

Submission is required for all applicants by the application due date.

Required for all applications. In the SF-P/PSL, applicants must cite their primary location and up to 29 additional performance sites.

Unique Entity Identifier (DUNS) and Systems for Award Management (SAM) registration.

Required of all applicants. To obtain a DUNS number, go to http​://fedgo​v​.dnb​.com​/ webfo​rm​

Active registration at the Systems Award Management (SAM) website must be maintained throughout the application and project award period.

SAM registration is available at 
http​://www​.sam​.gov​.

See Section IV.3. Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM) for more information.

SF-LLL - Disclosure of Lobbying Activities

If submission of this form is applicable, it is due at the time of application.  If it is not available at the time of application, it may also be submitted prior to the award of a grant.

If any funds have been paid or will be paid to any person for influencing or attempting to influence an officer or employee of any agency, a member of Congress, an officer or employee of Congress, or an employee of a member of Congress in connection with this commitment providing for the United States to insure or guarantee a loan, the applicant shall complete and submit the SF-LLL, "Disclosure Form to Report Lobbying," in accordance with its instructions.

Certification Regarding Lobbying
(Grants.gov Lobbying Form)

Submission required of all applicants with the application package.  If it is not submitted with the application package, it must be submitted prior to the award of a grant.

Submission of the certification is required for all applicants.

SF-424A - Budget Information - Non- Construction Programs and SF-424B - Assurances - Non- Construction Programs

Submission is required for all applicants when applying for a non-construction project. Standard Forms must be used. Forms must be submitted by the application due date.

By signing and submitting the SF-424B, applicants are making the appropriate certification of their compliance with all Federal statutes relating to nondiscrimination.

Required for all applications when applying for a non-construction project. 

Protection of Human Subjects Assurance Identification / IRB Certification / Declaration of Exemption (Common Rule)

Submission of the required information and forms is due with the application package by the due date listed in the Overview and Section IV.4. Submission Dates and Times. If the information is not available at the time of application, it must be submitted prior to the award of a grant.

Form is available at http​:// www​.hhs​.gov​/ ohrp​/ assur​ances​/ forms​/index​.html​.

General information about the HHS Protection of Human Subjects regulations can be obtained at http​://www​. hhs​.gov​/ ohrp​/ . Applicants may also contact OHRP by email (ohrp​@csoph​s​ .dhhs​.gov​) or by phone (240-453-6900).

SF-424 Key Contact Form

Submission is required for all applicants by the application due date.

Required for all applications.

Certificate of Good Standing

Submission is required for all for-profit organizations.

Sole proprietorships are not eligible applicants. The submission of the Certificate of Good Standing, along with the current list of board members, and organizational documents that require the establishment and maintenance of a Board of Directors, provide proof of eligibility for for-profit organizations.

Mandatory Grant Disclosure

Submission is required for all applicants and recipients, in writing, to the awarding agency and to the HHS Office of the Inspector General (OIG) all information related to violations of federal criminal law involving fraud, bribery, or gratuity violations potentially affecting the federal award. (Mandatory Disclosures, 45 CFR 75.113)

Disclosures must be sent in writing to:

The Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Grants Management, ATTN: Grants Management Specialist, 330 C Street, SW., Switzer Building, Corridor 3200,Washington, DC 20201

And to:

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, ATTN: Mandatory Grant Disclosures, Intake Coordinator, 330 Independence Avenue, SW., Cohen Building, Room 5527, Washington, DC 20201

Fax: (202) 205-0604 (Include “Mandatory Grant Disclosures” in subject line) or
Email: MandatoryGranteeDisclosures@oig.hhs.gov



Instructions for SF-424 Application for Federal Assistance: The 12-month or 24-month project period must be noted in Item 17.

Instructions for SF-424 Key Contact Form: Please include contact information for both the scholar and the mentor.

Non-Federal Reviewers

Since ACF will be using non-federal reviewers in the review process, applicants have the option of omitting from the application copies (not the original) specific salary rates or amounts for individuals specified in the application budget as well as Social Security Numbers, if otherwise required for individuals. The copies may include summary salary information. If applicants are submitting their application electronically, ACF will omit the same specific salary rate information from copies made for use during the review and selection process.
    The Project Description

    The Project Description

The Project Description Overview

Purpose

The project description provides the majority of information by which an application is evaluated and ranked in competition with other applications for available assistance.  It should address the activity for which federal funds are being requested, and should be consistent with the goals and objectives of the program as described in Section I. Program Description.  Supporting documents should be included where they can present information clearly and succinctly.  When appropriate, applicants should cite the evaluation criteria that are relevant to specific components of their project description.   Awarding offices use this and other information in making their funding recommendations.  It is important, therefore, that this information be included in the application in a manner that is clear and complete.

General Expectations and Instructions

Applicants should develop project descriptions that focus on outcomes and convey strategies for achieving intended performance. Project descriptions are evaluated on the basis of substance and measurable outcomes, not length. Extensive exhibits are not required. Cross-referencing should be used rather than repetition. Supporting information concerning activities that will not be directly funded by the grant or information that does not directly pertain to an integral part of the grant-funded activity should be placed in an appendix.

General Instructions for Preparing a Full Project Description

Introduction

Applicants must prepare the project description statement in accordance with the following instructions while being aware of the specified evaluation criteria in Section V.1. Criteria.  The text options give a broad overview of what the project description should include while the evaluation criteria identify the measures that will be used to evaluate applications.

Letter of Intent

Applicants are strongly encouraged to notify ACF of their intention to submit an application under this announcement. Please submit the letter of intent by the deadline date listed in Section IV.4. Submission Dates and Times.

The letter of intent should include the following information: number and title of this announcement; the name and address of the applicant organization; and/or Fiscal Agent (if known); and the name, phone number, fax number and email address of a contact person.

Letter of intent information will be used to determine the number of expert reviewers needed to evaluate applications. The letter of intent is optional.  Failure to submit a letter of intent will not impact eligibility to submit an application and will not disqualify an application from competitive review.

Applicants are encouraged to submit the letter of intent via email to: behavioralscholars@icfi.com.

Letters of intent may also be submitted via mail to:
Behavioral Interventions Scholars Grants
c/o ICF International
9300 Lee Highway
Fairfax, VA 22031

Table of Contents

List the contents of the application including corresponding page numbers. The table of contents must be single spaced and will be counted against the total page limitations.

Project Summary/Abstract

Provide a summary of the application’s project description. The summary must be clear, accurate, concise, and without reference to other parts of the application. The abstract must include a brief description of the proposed grant project including the needs to be addressed, the proposed services, and the population group(s) to be served. 

Please place the following at the top of the abstract: 

  • Project Title
  • Applicant Name
  • Address
  • Contact Phone Numbers (Voice, Fax)
  • E-Mail Address
  • Web Site Address, if applicable 

The project abstract must be single-spaced, in Times New Roman 12-point font, and limited to one page in length. Additional pages will be removed and will not be reviewed.

Approach

Outline a plan of action that describes the scope and detail of how the proposed project will be accomplished.  Applicants must account for all functions or activities identified in the application. Describe any design or technological innovations, reductions in cost or time, or extraordinary social and/or community involvement in the project. Provide a list of organizations, cooperating entities, consultants, or other key individuals that will work on the project, along with a short description of the nature of their effort or contribution.

Cite potential obstacles and challenges to accomplishing project goals and explain strategies that will be used to address these challenges.

A) Background, Significance, and Objectives. Applicants must demonstrate their understanding of the relevant literature on critical issues and existing knowledge, describe their objective(s), and demonstrate their understanding of the overall significance of the proposal. Applicants must demonstrate how their proposal will use approaches from behavioral economics or behavioral science to address issues facing social services programs and/or issues of significance facing poor and vulnerable families in the United States, and how it addresses key gaps in the field. Applicants are expected to connect their research proposal to critical public policy questions and are encouraged, though not required, to work in collaboration with social services programs. Applicants must incorporate the following information:

  1. A thorough literature review, justifying the proposed study and the outcomes of interest. Applicants are to include a brief discussion of previous work related to the proposed study and to identify gaps in the literature. The literature review should provide a sound justification for the proposed study. Applicants are expected to cite relevant, current literature related to this topic using a generally accepted citation format.
  2. The project study's theoretical framework. Applicants must discuss the underlying theoretical framework of the study, how it is grounded in behavioral economics/science, and how this framework relates to the project goals and research questions.
  3. Specific research questions of interest. Applicants must list their research questions, as well as discuss how they relate to the particular goals of and critical issues within the relevant social services programs or policies (see the research topics of interest outlined in Section I. Program Description).
  4. Significance and implications of the research. Applicants must describe the proposed project's significance and implications for policymakers, program administrators, and researchers working on social services programs serving low-income and other vulnerable children, adults, and families. Applicants should also describe how the research project will extend the current understanding of the problem/phenomenon. How will results inform the operations or practices of social services programs, the design or implementation of policies, and/or issues of significance facing low-income or other vulnerable populations? How will the expected results apply to the program(s) identified in the applicant's research questions?

B) Research Design and Methodology

  1. Method and research design. Applicants must clearly define the study population, expected sample size, how the data will be collected, consent issues, and confidentiality of both the participants' responses and the data. It is recommended that anticipated numbers of participants be noted and that power analyses be completed for each research question, as appropriate. Citations supporting expected outcomes and hypothesized effect sizes would be appropriate.
  2. Measures. Applicants are required to specify the particular measures that will be used and the psychometric properties of each measure.
  3. Data analysis plan. The proposed data analytic plan must be described, including a brief justification for how the data analytic plan is appropriate for the research questions.

C) Management and Dissemination Plans

  1. Management Plan. Applicants must describe how they will work together with their mentor to execute the proposed project and disseminate findings. Applicants should outline a strong management plan that describes a sound, workable plan of action for how the proposed project will be carried out and includes a project timeline with key milestones. This section should describe how the mentor and the student will maintain quality control over the implementation and ongoing operations for the study. This plan must also include how the mentor will oversee and mentor the applicant and how often mentoring meetings will occur.
  2. Dissemination Plan. Applicants must propose a plan to disseminate project outputs so that information is provided to key target audiences. The dissemination plan must include goals and objectives of dissemination, strategies to identify and engage with target audiences, and allocation of sufficient time and budget for dissemination purposes.
Legal Status of Applicant Entity

For-Profit Organizations

Sole-proprietorships are not eligible applicants. For-profit organizations applying for funding must submit the following to provide proof of their eligibility and legal status:

  • A Certificate of Good Standing,
  • A current list of board members, and
  • Organizational documents that require the establishment and maintenance of a Board of Directors.
Non-profit organizations applying for funding are required to submit proof of their non-profit status. Proof of non-profit status is any one of the following:
  • A reference to the applicant organization's listing in the IRS's most recent list of tax-exempt organizations described in the IRS Code.
  • A copy of a currently valid IRS tax-exemption certificate.
  • A statement from a state taxing body, state attorney general, or other appropriate state official certifying that the applicant organization has non-profit status and that none of the net earnings accrue to any private shareholders or individuals.
  • A certified copy of the organization's certificate of incorporation or similar document that clearly establishes non-profit status.
  • Any of the items in the subparagraphs immediately above for a state or national parent organization and a statement signed by the parent organization that the applicant organization is a local non-profit affiliate.

Unless directed otherwise, applicants must include proof of non-profit status in the Appendices file of the electronic application submission.


Additional Eligibility Documentation

Applicants must provide the additional, required documentation, or required credentials, to support eligibility for an award, as described in Section III. Eligibility Information of this announcement:

As described in Section IV.2. Content and Form of Application Submission, PAGE LIMITATIONS AND CONTENT FOR ALL SUBMISSION FORMATS, these six documents should be included in the Appendices file, along with the Proof of Non-Profit Status or Proof of For-Profit Status, as applicable:

1. Letter of Support from Mentor. As Principal Investigator, the graduate student's mentor must submit a letter of support stating that the mentor approves the application and describes how the mentor will regularly monitor the student's work. In addition, the letter must verify: a) the student's status in the doctoral program, b) that the grant will be used to support the student’s dissertation research, and c) that the student is likely to be within 2 years or less of completing his/her dissertation.

2. Curriculum Vitae for Principal Investigator/Mentor. The Principal Investigator must submit a curriculum vitae documenting that he/she has a Ph.D. or equivalent in a relevant field, conducts research as a primary professional responsibility, and has published or has been accepted for publication in at least one major peer-reviewed research journal as a first or second author.

3. Curriculum Vitae for Student. The student must submit a curriculum vitae.

4. Official Transcript for Student Reflecting Completed Graduate Courses and Status in the Doctoral Program. The student must submit an official graduate transcript reflecting completed graduate courses and status in the doctoral program.

5. Documentation of Approved Dissertation Proposal. The graduate student is expected to have an approved dissertation proposal by the application due date. Evidence of this approval should be submitted with the proposal. Sufficient proof would include a departmental form signed by committee members or another departmental administrator attesting to the fact that the student's dissertation proposal has been approved. Alternatively, a form or letter describing some other process that is equivalent to establishing this doctoral status would suffice. If the student does not have an approved dissertation proposal (or have this status) at the time of application, the application should include a statement of assurance that the proposed research plan will be approved prior to September 28, 2018. In sum, if ACF approves the application for award, the award will depend on written confirmation that is received at ACF prior to award and that confirms that: (a) the dissertation proposal/plan has been officially approved by the university/department, or (b) if the proposal had not been approved at the time of the application, that the scope and approach of the research has not changed substantively from what was proposed in the application.

6. Evidence of Research as a Primary Organizational Activity. Written evidence that research is a primary organizational activity is required. This evidence must include a history of the completion of high-quality research and/or evaluation work within the past 2 years. Also, submission of resumes that reflect staff who are experienced, skilled, and knowledgeable in advanced research and evaluation methods is required.

Organizational Capacity

Provide the following information on the applicant organization and, if applicable, on any cooperating partners:

  • Curricula Vitae (CV);
Protection of Sensitive and/or Confidential Information

If any confidential or sensitive information will be collected during the course of the project, whether from staff (e.g., background investigations) or project participants and/or project beneficiaries, provide a description of the methods that will be used to ensure that confidential and/or sensitive information is properly handled and safeguarded. Also provide a plan for the disposition of such information at the end of the project period.

The Project Budget and Budget Justification

All applicants are required to submit a project budget and budget justification with their application. The project budget is entered on the Budget Information Standard Form, either SF-424A or SF-424C, according to the directions provided with the SFs. The budget justification consists of a budget narrative and a line-item budget detail that includes detailed calculations for "object class categories" identified on the Budget Information Standard Form. Applicants must indicate the method they are selecting for their indirect cost rate.  See Indirect Charges for further information. 

Project budget calculations must include estimation methods, quantities, unit costs, and other similar quantitative detail sufficient for the calculation to be duplicated. If matching or cost sharing is a requirement, applicants must include a detailed listing of any funding sources identified in Block 18 of the SF-424 (Application for Federal Assistance). See the table in Section IV.2. Required Forms, Assurances, and Certifications listing the appropriate budget forms to use in this application.

Special Note: The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017, (Division H, Title II, Sec. 202), limits the salary amount that may be awarded and charged to ACF grants and cooperative agreements. Award funds issued under this announcement may not be used to pay the salary of an individual at a rate in excess of Executive Level II. The Executive Level II salary of the "Rates of Pay for the Executive Schedule" is $187,000. This amount reflects an individual's base salary exclusive of fringe benefits and any income that an individual may be permitted to earn outside of the duties of the applicant organization. This salary limitation also applies to subawards and subcontracts under an ACF grant or cooperative agreement.

 

Provide a budget using the 424A and/or 424C, as applicable, for each year of the proposed project. Provide a budget justification, which includes a budget narrative and a line-item detail, for each year of the proposed project. The budget narrative should describe how the categorical costs are derived. Discuss the necessity, reasonableness, and allocation of the proposed costs.

Costs must support research work that is the product of the graduate student. If the funded effort is part of a larger project, it must be made clear what portion of the project was designed and will be completed by the graduate student. The need for a 12-month or 24-month project period must be identified in the budget justification.

The applicant must incorporate the following in the budget justification:

1. Expenses directly related to the student's dissertation research, which may include personnel costs/salary, travel, and other directly related expenses.

2. Expenses related to travel for the scholar to attend two required conferences each year. The first is the required grantee meeting, which is anticipated to occur in Washington, DC, and is likely to last one day. Additionally, participation for at least two days in the RECS, historically held in late May or early June, in Washington, DC, is required. This is a biennial conference. On the off years when RECS is not held, scholars are required to attend another relevant conference of their choice.

3. If the cost for the mentor to travel to the grantee meeting cannot be covered by another source of funding, expenses to enable her or him to attend the required grantee meetings in Washington, DC, should be included.

4. Costs and resources necessary to complete both the project and the dissemination plan. This includes, at a minimum, attendance at conferences and meetings, completion of two research briefs, and archiving of final data sets and other research products. 

General

Use the following guidelines for preparing the budget and budget justification. Both federal and non-federal resources (when required) shall be detailed and justified in the budget and budget narrative justification. "Federal resources" refers only to the ACF grant funds for which you are applying. "Non-federal resources" are all other non-ACF federal and non-federal resources. It is suggested that budget amounts and computations be presented in a columnar format: first column, object class categories; second column, federal budget; next column(s), non-federal budget(s); and last column, total budget. The budget justification should be in a narrative form.

Personnel

Description:  Costs of employee salaries and wages.

Justification: Identify the project director or principal investigator, if known at the time of application.  For each staff person provide:  the title; time commitment to the project in months; time commitment to the project as a percentage or full-time equivalent: annual salary; grant salary; wage rates; etc.  Do not include the costs of consultants, personnel costs of delegate agencies, or of specific project(s) and/or businesses to be financed by the applicant. Contractors and consultants should not be placed under this category.

Fringe Benefits

Description: Costs of employee fringe benefits unless treated as part of an approved indirect cost rate. 

Justification: Provide a breakdown of the amounts and percentages that comprise fringe benefit costs such as health insurance, Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) taxes, retirement insurance, and taxes.

Travel

Description:  Costs of out-of-state or overnight project-related travel by employees of the applicant organization. Do not include in-state travel or consultant travel.

Justification:  For each trip show the total number of traveler(s); travel destination; duration of trip; per diem; mileage allowances, if privately owned vehicles will be used to travel out of town; and other transportation costs and subsistence allowances.  If appropriate for this project, travel costs for key project staff to attend ACF-sponsored workshops/conferences/grantee orientations should be detailed in the budget.

Equipment

Description:  "Equipment" means an article of nonexpendable, tangible personal property having a useful life of more than one year per unit and an acquisition cost that equals or exceeds the lesser of:  (a) the capitalization level established by the organization for the financial statement purposes, or (b) $5,000.  (Note:  Acquisition cost means the net invoice unit price of an item of equipment, including the cost of any modifications, attachments, accessories, or auxiliary apparatus necessary to make it usable for the purpose for which it is acquired.  Ancillary charges, such as taxes, duty, protective in-transit insurance, freight, and installation, shall be included in or excluded from acquisition cost in accordance with the applicant organization's regular written accounting practices.) 

Justification:  For each type of equipment requested applicants must provide a description of the equipment; the cost per unit; the number of units; the total cost; and a plan for use of the equipment in the project; as well as a plan for the use, and/or disposal of, the equipment after the project ends.  An applicant organization that uses its own definition for equipment should provide a copy of its policy, or section of its policy, that includes the equipment definition.

Supplies

Description:  Costs of all tangible personal property other than that included under the Equipment category.  This includes office and other consumable supplies with a per-unit cost of less than $5,000.

Justification:  Specify general categories of supplies and their costs.  Show computations and provide other information that supports the amount requested.

Contractual

Description:  Costs of all contracts for services and goods except for those that belong under other categories such as equipment, supplies, construction, etc.  Include third-party evaluation contracts, if applicable, and contracts with secondary recipient organizations (with budget detail), including delegate agencies and specific project(s) and/or businesses to be financed by the applicant.  This area is not for individual consultants.

Justification:  Demonstrate that all procurement transactions will be conducted in a manner to provide, to the maximum extent practical, open, and free competition. Recipients and subrecipients are required to use 45 CFR 75.328 procedures and must justify any anticipated procurement action that is expected to be awarded without competition and exceeds the simplified acquisition threshold fixed by 41 U.S.C. § 134, as amended by 2 CFR Part 200.88, and currently set at $150,000.  Recipients may be required to make pre-award review and procurement documents, such as requests for proposals or invitations for bids, independent cost estimates, etc., available to ACF.

Note: Whenever the applicant intends to delegate part of the project to another agency, the applicant must provide a detailed budget and budget narrative for each contractor/sub-contractor, by agency title, along with the same supporting information referred to in these instructions.  If the applicant plans to select the contractors/sub-contractors post-award and a detailed budget is not available at the time of application, the applicant must provide information on the nature of the work to be delegated, the estimated costs, and the process for selecting the delegate agency.

Other

Description: Enter the total of all other costs.  Such costs, where applicable and appropriate, may include but are not limited to: consultant costs, local travel; insurance; food (when allowable); medical and dental costs (noncontractual); professional services costs (including audit charges); space and equipment rentals; printing and publication; computer use; training costs, such as tuition and stipends; staff development costs; and administrative costs.

Justification:  Provide computations, a narrative description, and a justification for each cost under this category.

Indirect Charges

Description:  Total amount of indirect costs. This category has one of two methods that an applicant can select.  An applicant may only select one.
 

1) The applicant currently has an indirect cost rate approved by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) or another cognizant federal agency.

Note: An applicant must enclose a copy of the current approved rate agreement.  If the applicant is requesting a rate that is less than what is allowed under the program, the authorized representative of the applicant organization must submit a signed acknowledgement that the applicant is accepting a lower rate than allowed.

2) Per 45 CFR  § 75.414(f) Indirect (F&A) costs, “any non-Federal entity [i.e., applicant] that has never received a negotiated indirect costs rate, … may elect to charge a de minimis rate of 10%  of modified total direct costs (MTDC) which may be used indefinitely.   As described in § 75.403, costs must be consistently charged as either indirect or direct costs, but may not be double charged or inconsistently charged as both.  If chosen, this methodology once elected must be used consistently for all Federal awards until such time as a non-Federal entity chooses to negotiate for a rate, which the non-Federal entity may apply to do at any time.” 

 

Justification:  This method only applies to applicants that have never received an approved negotiated indirect cost rate from HHS or another cognizant federal agency.  Applicants awaiting approval of their indirect cost proposal may request the 10 percent de minimis rate.  When the applicant chooses this method, costs included in the indirect cost pool must not be charged as direct costs to the grant.

Commitment of Non-Federal Resources

Description: Amounts of non-federal resources that will be used to support the project as identified in Block 18 of the SF-424.

For all federal awards, any shared costs or matching funds and all contributions, including cash and third-party in-kind contributions, must be accepted as part of the recipient’s cost sharing or matching when such contributions meet all of the criteria listed in 45 CFR § 75.306. 

For awards that require matching by statute, recipients will be held accountable for projected commitments of non-federal resources in their application budgets and budget justifications by budget period, or by project period for fully funded awards, even if the projected commitment exceeds the amount required by the statutory match. A recipient’s failure to provide the statutorily required matching amount may result in the disallowance of federal funds. Recipients will be required to report these funds in the Federal Financial Reports. 

For awards that do not require matching or cost sharing by statute, where “cost sharing” refers to any situation in which the recipient voluntarily shares in the costs of a project other than as statutorily required matching, recipients will be held accountable for projected commitments of non-federal resources in their application budgets and budget justifications by budget period, or by project period for fully funded awards . These include situations in which contributions are voluntarily proposed by an applicant and are accepted by ACF. Non-federal cost sharing will be included in the approved project budget so that the applicant will be held accountable for proposed non-federal cost-sharing funds as shown in the Notice of Award (NOA). A recipient’s failure to provide voluntary cost sharing of non-federal resources that have been accepted by ACF as part of the approved project costs and that have been shown as part of the approved project budget in the NOA, may result in the disallowance of federal funds. Recipients will be required to report these funds in the Federal Financial Reports. 

Justification: If an applicant is relying on match from a third party, then a firm commitment of these resources (letter(s) or other documentation) is required to be submitted with the application. Detailed budget information must be provided for every funding source identified in Item18. "Estimated Funding ($)" on the SF-424. 

Applicants are required to fully identify and document in their applications the specific costs or contributions they propose in order to meet a matching requirement. Applicants are also required to provide documentation in their applications on the sources of funding or contribution(s). In-kind contributions must be accompanied by a justification of how the stated valuation was determined. Matching or cost sharing must be documented by budget period (or by project period for fully funded awards). A recipient’s failure to provide a statutorily required matching amount may result in the disallowance of federal funds.

Applications that lack the required supporting documentation will not be disqualified from competitive review; however, it may impact an application’s scoring under the evaluation criteria in Section V.1. of this announcement.

Paperwork Reduction Disclaimer

As required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C. §§ 3501-3521, the public reporting burden for the Project Description and Budget/Budget Justification is estimated to average 60 hours per response, including the time for reviewing instructions, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and reviewing the collection information. The Project Description and Budget/Budget Justification information collection is approved under OMB control number 0970-0139, expiration date is 01/31/2019. An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

    Application Submission Options

    Application Submission Options

Electronic Submission via www.Grants.gov

This section provides the application submission and receipt instructions for ACF program applications. Please read the following instructions carefully and completely.

Electronic Delivery
ACF is participating in the Grants.gov initiative to provide the grant community with a single site to find and apply for grant funding opportunities. ACF applicants are required to submit their applications online through Grants.gov.

How to Register and Apply through Grants.gov
Read the following instructions about registering to apply for ACF funds. Applicants should read the registration instructions carefully and prepare the information requested before beginning the registration process. Reviewing and assembling the required information before beginning the registration process will alleviate last-minute searches for required information.

The registration process can take up to four weeks to complete. Therefore, registration should be done in sufficient time to ensure it does not impact your ability to meet required application submission deadlines.

Organization applicants can find complete instructions here: 
https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/applicants/organization-registration.html

Obtain a DUNS Number: All entities applying for funding, including renewal funding, must have a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number from Dun & Bradstreet (D&B). Applicants must enter the DUNS number in the data entry field labeled "Organizations DUNS" on the SF-424 form.

For more detailed instructions for obtaining a DUNS number, refer to: 
https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/applicants/organization-registration/step-1-obtain-duns-number.html

Register with SAM: In addition to having a DUNS number, organizations applying online through Grants.gov must register with the System for Award Management (SAM). All organizations must register with SAM in order to apply online. Failure to register with SAM will prevent your organization from applying through Grants.gov.

For more detailed instructions for registering with SAM, refer to: 
https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/applicants/organization-registration/step-2-register-with-sam.html

Create a Grants.gov Account: The next step in the registration process is to create an account with Grants.gov. Applicants must know their organization's DUNS number to complete this process. Completing this process automatically triggers an email request for applicant roles to the organization's E-Business Point of Contact (EBiz POC) for review. The EBiz POC is a representative from your organization who is the contact listed for SAM. To apply for grants on behalf of your organization, you will need the AOR role.

For more detailed instructions about creating a profile on Grants.gov, refer to: 
https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/applicants/registration.html

Authorize Grants.gov Roles: After creating an account on Grants.gov, the EBiz POC receives an email notifying them of your registration and request for roles. The EBiz POC will then log in to Grants.gov and authorize the appropriate roles, which may include the AOR role, thereby giving you permission to complete and submit applications on behalf of your organization. You will be able to submit your application online any time after you have been approved as an AOR.

For more detailed instructions about creating a profile on Grants.gov. refer to:
https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/applicants/registration/authorize-roles.html

Track Role Status: To track your role request, refer to: 
https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/applicants/registration/track-role-status.html


When applications are submitted through Grants.gov, the name of the organization's AOR that submitted the application is inserted into the signature line of the application, serving as the electronic signature. The EBiz POC must authorize individuals who are able to make legally binding commitment on behalf of the organization as an AOR; this step is often missed and it is crucial for valid and timely submissions.

How to Submit an Application to ACF via Grants.gov
Grants.gov applicants can apply online using Workspace. Workspace is a shared, online environment where members of a grant team may simultaneously access and edit different webforms within an application. For each FOA, you can create individual instances of a workspace.

The following is an overview of applying via Grants.gov. For access to complete instructions on how to apply for opportunities, refer to: https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/applicants/apply-for-grants.html 

Create a Workspace: Creating a workspace allows you to complete an application online and route it through your organization for review before submitting.

Complete a Workspace: Add participants to the workspace, complete all the required forms, and check for errors before submission.

Adobe Reader: If you decide not to apply by filling out webforms you can download individual PDF forms in Workspace so that they will appear similar to other Standard or ACF forms. The individual PDF forms can be downloaded and saved to your local device storage, network drive(s), or external drive(s), then accessed through Adobe Reader.

NOTE: Visit the Adobe Software Compatibility page on Grants.gov to download the appropriate version of the software at: 
https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/applicants/adobe-software-compatibility.html

Mandatory Fields in Forms: In the forms, you will note fields marked with an asterisk and a different background color. These fields are mandatory fields that must be completed to successfully submit your application.

Complete SF-424 Fields First: The forms are designed to fill in common required fields across other forms, such as the applicant name, address, and DUNS number. To trigger this feature, an applicant must complete the SF-424 information first. Once it is completed, the information will transfer to the other forms.

Submit a Workspace: An application may be submitted through workspace by clicking the Sign and Submit button on the Manage Workspace page, under the Forms tab. Grants.gov recommends submitting your application at least 24-48 hours prior to the close date to provide you with time to correct any potential technical issues that may disrupt the application submission.

Track a Workspace: After successfully submitting a workspace package, a Grants.gov Tracking Number (GRANTXXXXXXXX) is automatically assigned to the package. The number will be listed on the Confirmation page that is generated after submission.

For additional training resources, including video tutorials, refer to:
https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/applicants/applicant-training.html

Grants.gov provides applicants 24/7 support via the toll-free number 1-800-518-4726 and email at support@grants.gov. For questions related to the specific grant opportunity, contact the number listed in the application package of the grant you are applying for.

If you are experiencing difficulties with your submission, it is best to call the Grants.gov Support Center and get a ticket number. The Support Center ticket number will assist ACF with tracking your issue and understanding background information on the issue.

Timely Receipt Requirements and Proof of Timely Submission
All applications must be received by 11:59 p.m., ET, on the due date established for each program. Proof of timely submission is automatically recorded by Grants.gov. An electronic date/time stamp is generated within the system when the application is successfully received by Grants.gov. The applicant AOR will receive an acknowledgement of receipt and a tracking number (GRANTXXXXXXXX) from Grants.gov with the successful transmission of their application. Applicant AORs will also receive the official date/stamp and Grants.gov Tracking number in an email serving as proof of their timely submission.

When ACF successfully retrieves the application from Grants.gov, and acknowledges the download of submission, Grants.gov will provide an electronic acknowledgment of receipt of the application to the email address of the applicant with the AOR role. Again, proof of timely submission shall be the official date and time that Grants.gov receives your application. Applications received by Grants.gov after the established due date for the program will be considered late and will not be considered for funding by ACF.

Applicants with slow internet, such as dial-up connections, should be aware that transmission can take some time before Grants.gov receives your application. Again, Grants.gov will provide either an error or a successfully received transmission in the form of an email sent to the applicant with the AOR role. The Grants.gov Support Center reports that some applicants end the transmission because they think that nothing is occurring during the transmission process. Please be patient and give the system time to process the application.

Issues with Federal Systems
For any systems issues experienced with Grants.gov or SAM.gov, please refer to ACF’s “Policy for Applicants Experiencing Federal Systems Issues” document for complete guidance at www.acf.hhs.gov /sites/default/files/assets/systems_issue_policy_final.pdf.

Request an Exemption from Required Electronic Application Submission
To request an exemption from required electronic submission please refer to ACF’s “Policy for Requesting an Exemption from Required Electronic Application Submission” document for complete guidance at: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/assets/acf_policy_for_requesting_an_exemption_from_required_electronic.pdf.

Paper Format Application Submission
An exemption is required for the submission of paper applications. See the preceding section on "Request an Exemption from Required Electronic Application Submission."

Applicants with exemptions that submit their applications in paper format, by mail or delivery, must submit one original and two copies of the complete application with all attachments. The original and each of the two copies must include all required forms, certifications, assurances, and appendices, be signed by the AOR, and be unbound.  The original copy of the application must have original signature(s). See Section IV.7. of this announcement for address information for paper format application submissions. Applications submitted in paper format must be received by 4:30 p.m., ET, on the due date.

Applicants may refer to Section VIII. Other Information for a checklist of application requirements that may be used in developing and organizing application materials.  Details concerning acknowledgment of received applications are available in Section IV.4. Submission Dates and Times in this announcement.

IV.3. Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM)

IV.3. Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM)

All applicants must have a DUNS Number (http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform) and an active registration with the System for Award Management (SAM.gov/SAM, https://www.sam.gov).

Obtaining a DUNS Number may take 1 to 2 days.

All applicants are required to maintain an active SAM registration until the application process is complete. If a grant is awarded, registration at SAM must be active throughout the life of the award.

Plan ahead. Allow at least 10 business days after you submit your registration for it to become active in SAM and at least an additional 24 hours before that registration information is available in other government systems, i.e. Grants.gov.

This action should allow you time to resolve any issues that may arise. Failure to comply with these requirements may result in your inability to submit your application through Grants.gov or prevent the award of a grant. Applicants should maintain documentation (with dates) of your efforts to register for, or renew a registration, at SAM. User Guides are available under the “Help” tab at https://www.sam.gov.

HHS requires all entities that plan to apply for, and ultimately receive, federal grant funds from any HHS Agency, or receive subawards directly from recipients of those grant funds to:   

  • Be registered in the SAM prior to submitting an application or plan;
  • Maintain an active SAM registration with current information at all times during which it has an active award or an application or plan under consideration by an OPDIV; and
  • Provide its active DUNS number in each application or plan it submits to the OPDIV.

ACF is prohibited from making an award until an applicant has complied with these requirements.  At the time an award is ready to be made, if the intended recipient has not complied with these requirements, ACF:

  • May determine that the applicant is not qualified to receive an award; and
  • May use that determination as a basis for making an award to another applicant.
IV.4. Submission Dates and Times

IV.4. Submission Dates and Times

Due Date for Letter of Intent
Due Date for Letter of Intent: 05/02/2018
Due Dates for Applications
Due Date for Applications: 06/01/2018

Explanation of Due Dates

The due date for receipt of applications is listed in the Overview section and in this section. See Section III.3. Other, Application Disqualification Factors.

Electronic Applications
The deadline for submission of electronic applications via www.Grants.gov is 11:59 p.m., ET, on the due date. Electronic applications submitted at 12:00 a.m., ET, on the day after the due date will be considered late and will be disqualified from competitive review and from funding under this announcement.

Applicants are required to submit their applications electronically via www.Grants.gov unless they received an exemption through the process described in Section IV.2. Request an Exemption from Required Electronic Application Submission.

ACF does not accommodate transmission of applications by email or facsimile.

Instructions for electronic submission via www.Grants.gov are available at: www.grants.gov/web/grants/applicants/apply-for-grants.html.

Applications submitted to www.Grants.gov at any time during the open application period prior to the due date and time that fail the Grants.gov validation check will not be received at ACF. These applications will not be acknowledged.

Mailed Paper Format Applications
The deadline for receipt of mailed, paper applications is 4:30 p.m., ET, on the due date. Mailed paper applications received after the due date and deadline time will be considered late and will be disqualified from competitive review and from funding under this announcement.

Paper format application submissions will be disqualified if the applicant organization has not received an exemption through the process described in Section IV.2. Request an Exemption from Required Electronic Application Submission.

Hand-Delivered Paper Format Applications
Applications that are hand-delivered by applicants, applicant couriers, by overnight/express mail couriers, or other representatives of the applicant must be received on, or before, the due date listed in the Overview and in this section. These applications must be delivered between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., ET, Monday through Friday (excluding federal holidays). Applications should be delivered to the address provided in Section IV.7.Other Submission Requirements.

Hand-delivered paper applications received after the due date and deadline time will be considered late and will be disqualified from competitive review and from funding under this announcement.

Hand-delivered paper format application submissions will be disqualified if the applicant organization has not received an exemption through the process described in Section IV.2. Request an Exemption from Required Electronic Application Submission.

No appeals will be considered for applications classified as late under the following circumstances:

  • Applications submitted electronically via www.Grants.gov are considered late when they are dated and time-stamped after the deadline of 11:59 p.m., ET, on the due date.
  • Paper format applications received by mail or hand-delivery after 4:30 p.m., ET, on the due date will be classified as late and will be disqualified.
  • Paper format applications received from applicant organizations that were not approved for an exemption from required electronic application submission under the process described in Section IV.2. Request an Exemption from Required Electronic Submission will be disqualified.

Emergency Extensions
ACF may extend an application due date when circumstances make it impossible for an applicant to submit their applications on time. Only events such as documented natural disasters (floods, hurricanes, tornados, etc.), or a verifiable widespread disruption of electrical service, or mail service, will be considered. The determination to extend or waive the due date, and/or receipt time, requirements in an emergency situation rests with the Grants Management Officer listed as the Office of Grants Management Contact in Section VII. HHS Awarding Agency Contact(s).

Acknowledgement from www.Grants.gov
Applicants will receive an initial email upon submission of their application to www.Grants.gov. This email will provide a Grants.gov Tracking Number. Applicants should refer to this tracking number in all communication with Grants.gov. The email will also provide a date and time stamp, which serves as the official record of application's submission. Receipt of this email does not indicate that the application is accepted or that is has passed the validation check.

Applicants will also receive an email acknowledging that the received application is in the Grants.gov validation process, after which a third email is sent with the information that the submitted application package has passed, or failed, the series of checks and validations. Applications that are submitted on time that fail the validation check will not be transmitted to ACF and will not be acknowledged by ACF.

See "What to Expect After Submitting" at www.Grants.gov for more information.

Acknowledgement from ACF of an electronic application's submission:
Applicants will be sent additional email(s) from ACF acknowledging that the application has been retrieved from www.Grants.gov by ACF. Receipt of these emails is not an indication that the application is accepted for competition.

Acknowledgement from ACF of receipt of a paper format application:

ACF will not provide acknowledgement of receipt of hard copy application packages submitted via mail or courier services.

IV.5. Intergovernmental Review

IV.5. Intergovernmental Review

This program is not subject to Executive Order (E.O.) 12372, "Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs," or 45 CFR Part 100, "Intergovernmental Review of Department of Health and Human Services Programs and Activities." No action is required of applicants under this announcement with regard to E.O. 12372.
IV.6. Funding Restrictions

IV.6. Funding Restrictions

Costs of organized fund raising, including financial campaigns, endowment drives, solicitation of gifts and bequests, and similar expenses incurred to raise capital or obtain contributions are unallowable. Fund raising costs for the purposes of meeting the Federal program objectives are allowable with prior written approval from the Federal awarding agency. (45 CFR §75.442)

Proposal costs are the costs of preparing bids, proposals, or applications on potential Federal and non-Federal awards or projects, including the development of data necessary to support the non-Federal entity's bids or proposals. Proposal costs of the current accounting period of both successful and unsuccessful bids and proposals normally should be treated as indirect (F&A) costs and allocated currently to all activities of the non-Federal entity. No proposal costs of past accounting periods will be allocable to the current period. (45 CFR §75.460)

Grant awards will not allow reimbursement of pre-award costs.
Construction is not an allowable activity or expenditure under this grant award.
Purchase of real property is not an allowable activity or expenditure under this grant award.
IV.7. Other Submission Requirements

IV.7. Other Submission Requirements

Submit paper applications to one of the following addresses. Also see ACF Policy on Requesting an Exemption from Required Electronic Application Submission at www.acf.hhs.gov/grants/howto#chapter-6.

Submission By Mail

Behavioral Interventions Scholars Grants
c/o ICF International
9300 Lee Highway
Fairfax, VA 22031

Hand Delivery

Behavioral Interventions Scholars Grants
c/o ICF International
9300 Lee Highway
Fairfax, VA 22031

Electronic Submission

See Section IV.2. for application requirements and for guidance when submitting applications electronically via www.Grants.gov.

For all submissions, see Section IV.4. Submission Dates and Times.

V. Application Review Information

V.1. Criteria

Please note: With the exception of the funding opportunity announcement and relevant statutes and regulations, reviewers will not access, or review, any materials that are not part of the application documents.  This includes information accessible on websites via hyperlinks that are referenced, or embedded, in the application.  Though an application may include web links, or embedded hyperlinks, reviewers will not review this information as it is not considered to be part of the application documents.  Nor will the information on websites be taken into consideration in scoring of evaluation criteria presented in this section. Reviewers will evaluate and score an application based on the documents that are presented in the application and will not refer to, or access, external links during the objective review.

Applications competing for financial assistance will be reviewed and evaluated using the criteria described in this section. The corresponding point values indicate the relative importance placed on each review criterion. Points will be allocated based on the extent to which the application proposal addresses each of the criteria listed. Applicants should address these criteria in their application materials, particularly in the project description and budget justification, as they are the basis upon which competing applications will be judged during the objective review. The required elements of the project description and budget justification may be found in Section IV.2 of this announcement.
Relevance Maximum Points:25

The extent to which the applicant's proposed project:

1. is clearly grounded in a behavioral economics or behavioral science framework;

2. reflects an understanding of how behavioral science approaches can be applied to social service programs and policies and issues facing low-income and other vulnerable families in the United States; and

3. centers on one or more of the research topics of interest outlined in Section I. Program Description, or related topics.

Background, Significance, and Objectives Maximum Points:25

The extent to which the application:

1. clearly demonstrates the link(s) between the research topic and issues facing social services programs and/or low-income and other vulnerable families in the United States;

2. describes the theoretical framework, research goals, and/or research questions in a way that is clear and logically connected;

3. contains a comprehensive review of the current literature with reference citations that are complete and consistent with a generally accepted citation format, delineates gaps in the existing literature, and strongly supports the need and objectives for the study;

4. includes research questions that fill a gap in the literature and current understanding of how behavioral science approaches can be applied to social service programs and policies and issues facing low-income and other vulnerable families in the United States;

5. reflects a sound description of the anticipated outcomes and benefits of the project, including:

(a) the hypothesized results of the study

(b) anticipated outcomes discussed in a way that reflects a solid understanding of critical issues, information needs, and research issues relevant to behavioral approaches and interventions for social services programs serving low-income children, adults, and families

(c) a thorough description of the significance and implications for policymakers, program administrators, and social services programs; and

6. is clearly written and organized, provides appropriate details, and has sections that are labeled with appropriate headers and sub-headers.

Research Design and Methodology Maximum Points:20

The extent to which:

1. The research design (located in Section IV. 2. Project Description, Approach):

(a) is clearly described, sufficient for addressing the goals of the project, and appropriately links research issues, questions, variables, data sources, samples, and analyses;

(b) demonstrates how the researcher will gain access to the necessary organizations, participants, and data sources needed for the project;

(c) reflects adequate protection of human subjects, confidentiality of data, and consent procedures, as appropriate;

(d) specifies the measures and their psychometric properties to be used for the planned research, and demonstrates that the measures are appropriate and sufficient for the questions and the population to be studied; and

(e) reflects sensitivity to technical, logistical, and ethical issues that may arise.

2. The data analytic plan (located in Section IV. 2. Project Description, Approach):

(a) is clearly and adequately described and includes techniques that are appropriate for the specific research question(s) under consideration and for the types of data to be analyzed; and

(b) includes a proposed sample size that is sufficient to answer the range of proposed research questions for the study.

Qualifications Maximum Points:10

The extent to which the proposal illustrates that both the student and the mentor have the necessary qualifications to carry out the proposed project by demonstrating that:

  1. both the graduate student and the mentor possess the research expertise necessary to conduct the study as demonstrated in the application, as well as in information contained in their biographical sketches and/or curriculum vitae, including relevant background, experience, and training on related research or similar projects; and
  2. the Principal Investigator (mentor) has earned a doctorate or equivalent in a relevant field, conducts research as a primary professional responsibility, and has published or has been accepted for publication in at least one major peer-reviewed research journal as a first or second author.

 

Budget and Budget Justification Maximum Points:10

The extent to which the applicant's proposed project costs:

  1. are reasonable and sufficient to accomplish the research objectives, design, and dissemination plan;
  2. are appropriately allocated to accomplish the research objectives, design, and dissemination plan;
  3. reflect expenses directly related to the student's dissertation research (which may include required personnel costs/salary, travel, and other directly related expenses);
  4. include adequate funds for the student to participate in two conferences annually (the grantee meeting in Washington, DC, and either the RECS or, on the off year when the RECS is not held, another relevant conference of the student's choosing);
  5. include adequate funds for the mentor to participate in the annual grantee meeting in Washington, DC, unless the budget justification indicates that funding for this will come from another source (see Section I. Program Description, Project Requirements and Section IV.2. Content and Form of Application Submission, The Project Budget and Budget Justification); 
  6. are justified according to the needs and time frame for carrying out the proposed project; and
  7. includes the commitment for non-federal resources that will contribute to the overall success of the project (see Section III.2. Cost Sharing or Matching and Section IV.2. Budget and Budget Justification, Commitment of Non-Federal Resources, for additional information on this requirement).
Management and Dissemination Plans Maximum Points:10

The extent to which the management plan:

  1. is sound, workable, and illustrates how the project will be carried out, as well as how the student and the mentor will ensure quality control during the project;
  2. describes how the Principal Investigator will mentor the student, including how often meetings between the mentor and the student will occur, as well as how the mentor will supervise the student's completion of the research and any consultation/collaboration with program partners or policymakers; and
  3. includes a feasible timeline for when key project milestones are expected to be met, including when the entire project is expected to be finished, and when findings will be disseminated to a wider audience.

The extent to which the dissemination plan:

  1. describes how the student will disseminate the proposed research in ways that are intended to be useful to the broader field, with work plans/timelines that reflect sufficient time and effort for dissemination activities. 
  2. describes how the student will translate and disseminate the proposed research to various audiences (researchers, policymakers, practitioners) using different types of research-, policy-, and program-oriented products.
V.2. Review and Selection Process

V.2. Review and Selection Process

No grant award will be made under this announcement on the basis of an incomplete application.  No grant award will be made to an applicant or sub-recipient that does not have a DUNS number (http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform) and an active registration at SAM (www.sam.gov). See Section IV.3. Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM).

Initial ACF Screening
Each application will be screened to determine whether it meets any of the disqualification factors described in Section III.3.Other, Application Disqualification Factors.

Disqualified applications are considered to be “non-responsive” and are excluded from the competitive review process. Applicants will be notified of a disqualification determination by email or by USPS postal mail within 30 federal business days from the closing date of this FOA.

Objective Review and Results
Applications competing for financial assistance will be reviewed and evaluated by objective review panels using only the criteria described in Section V.1. Criteria of this announcement. Each panel is composed of experts with knowledge and experience in the area under review. Generally, review panels include three reviewers and one chairperson.

Results of the competitive objective review are taken into consideration by ACF in the selection of projects for funding; however, objective review scores and rankings are not binding. Scores and rankings are only one element used in the award decision-making process. 

ACF may elect not to fund applicants with management or financial problems that would indicate an inability to successfully complete the proposed project. Applications may be funded in whole or in part. Successful applicants may be funded at an amount lower than that requested. ACF reserves the right to consider preferences to fund organizations serving emerging, unserved, or under-served populations, including those populations located in pockets of poverty. ACF will also consider the geographic distribution of federal funds in its award decisions.

The competitive review will be conducted by a panel of federal and non-federal expert reviewers knowledgeable in the areas of human services research, behavioral science, and evaluation. Any federal reviewers on the panel will be chosen for their technical expertise in the area of applied behavioral science and will be from agencies other than ACF. Application review panels will assign a score to each application and identify its strengths and weaknesses in relation to the evaluation criteria.

It is unlikely that multiple applications with the same Principal Investigator/entity will be funded if there are applications from different Principal Investigators/entities that qualify for support.

OPRE will conduct an administrative review of the applications and results of the competitive review panels and will make recommendations for funding to the Director of OPRE, taking into account the goals of the Behavioral Interventions Scholars grants as listed in Section I. Program Description. The Assistant Secretary for the Administration for Children and Families is responsible for the final selection.

On the basis of the review of an application, ACF will: (a) approve the application for funding, or (b) disapprove the application.

Applications may be funded in whole or in part depending on: (1) the ranked order of applicants resulting from the competitive review; (2) staff review and consultations; (3) the availability of funding; and (4) the best interests of the Federal Government.

Federal Awarding Agency Review of Risk Posed by Applicants

As required by 2 CFR Part 200, the Uniform Guidance, effective January 1, 2016, ACF is required to review and consider any information about the applicant that is in the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS), www.fapiis.gov/, before making any award in excess of the simplified acquisition threshold (currently $150,000) over the period of performance. An applicant may review and comment on any information about itself that a federal awarding agency has previously entered into FAPIIS. ACF will consider any comments by the applicant, in addition to other information in FAPIIS, in making a judgment about the applicant's integrity, business ethics, and record of performance under federal awards when completing the review of risk posed by applicants as described in 2 CFR § 200.205 Federal Awarding Agency Review of Risk Posed by Applicants (http://www.ecfr.gov/ cgi-bin/text-idx?node=se2.1.200_1205&rgn=div8).

Please refer to Section IV.2. of this announcement for information on non-federal reviewers in the review process.

Approved but Unfunded Applications

Applications recommended for approval in the objective review process, but were not selected for award, may receive funding if additional funds become available or may compete for funding during the next review cycle (if one occurs in the next fiscal year). Applications designated as “approved but unfunded” typically cannot be kept in an active status for more than 12 months. For those applications determined as “approved but unfunded,” notice will be given of the determination by email.

 
 

V.3. Anticipated Announcement and Federal Award Dates

Announcement of awards and the disposition of applications will be provided to applicants at a later date. ACF staff cannot respond to requests for information regarding funding decisions prior to the official applicant notification. 

VI. Federal Award Administration Information

VI.1. Federal Award Notices

Successful applicants will be notified through the issuance of a Notice of Award (NoA) that sets forth the amount of funds granted, the terms and conditions of the grant, the effective date of the grant, the budget period for which initial support will be given, the non-federal share to be provided (if applicable), and the total project period for which support is contemplated. The NoA will be signed by the Grants Officer and transmitted via postal mail, email, or by GrantSolutions.gov or the Head Start Enterprise System (HSES), whichever is relevant. Following the finalization of funding decisions, organizations whose applications will not be funded will be notified by letter signed by the cognizant Program Office head. Any other correspondence that announces to a Principal Investigator, or a Project Director, that an application was selected is not an authorization to begin performance.

Project costs that are incurred prior to the receipt of the NoA are at the recipient's risk and may be reimbursed only to the extent that they are considered allowable as approved pre-award costs. Information on allowable pre-award costs and the time period under which they may be incurred is available in Section IV.6. Funding Restrictions

Grantees may translate the Federal award and other documents into another language. In the event of inconsistency between any terms and conditions of the Federal award and any translation into another language, the English language meaning will control. Where a significant portion of the grantee’s employees who are working on the Federal award are not fluent in English, the grantee must provide the Federal award in English and in the language(s) with which employees are more familiar.

 

VI.2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

Awards issued under this announcement are subject to 45 CFR Part 75 - Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for HHS Awards. The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is available at www.ecfr.gov. Unless otherwise noted in this section, administrative and national policy requirements that are applicable to discretionary grants are available at: www.acf.hhs.gov/administrative-and-national-policy-requirements.

HHS Grants Policy Statement

The HHS Grants Policy Statement (HHS GPS) is the Department of Health and Human Services' single policy guide for discretionary grants and cooperative agreements. ACF grant awards are subject to the requirements of the HHS GPS, which covers basic grants processes, standard terms and conditions, and points of contact, as well as important agency-specific requirements. The general terms and conditions in the HHS GPS will apply as indicated unless there are statutory, regulatory, or award-specific requirements to the contrary that are specified in the Notice of Award (NOA). The HHS GPS is available at https://www.acf.hhs.gov/discretionary-post-award-requirements#chapter-1.


An application funded with the release of federal funds through a grant award does not constitute, or imply, compliance with federal regulations. Funded organizations are responsible for ensuring that their activities comply with all applicable federal regulations. 

 

VI.3. Reporting

 
Performance Progress Reports: Semi-Annually

Recipients under this FOA will be required to submit performance progress and financial reports periodically throughout the project period. Information on reporting requirements is available on the ACF website at www.acf.hhs.gov/discretionary-post-award-requirements#chapter-2.

For planning purposes, the frequency of required reporting for awards made under this announcement are as follows:

Financial Reports: Semi-Annually
VII. HHS Awarding Agency Contact(s)

Program Office Contact

Victoria Kabak
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Administration for Children and Families
Office of Planning, Research & Evaluation
330 C Street SW., 4th Floor
Washington, DC 20201
Phone: (202) 401-5871
Email: behavioralscholars@icfi.com
 

Office of Grants Management Contact

Tim Chappelle
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Administration for Children and Families
330 C Street SW., 3rd Floor
Washington, DC 20201
Phone: (202) 401-4855
Email: tim.chappelle@acf.hhs.gov
 

Federal Relay Service:

Hearing-impaired and speech-impaired callers may contact the Federal Relay Service (FedRelay) at www.gsa.gov/fedrelay.

VIII. Other Information

Reference Websites


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) www.hhs.gov/.

Administration for Children and Families (ACF) www.acf.hhs.gov/.

ACF Funding Opportunities Forecast www.grants.gov/.

ACF Funding Opportunity Announcements ami.grantsolutions.gov/.

ACF "How To Apply For A Grant" https://www.acf.hhs.gov/grants/howto.

Grants.gov Accessibility Information www.grants.gov/ web/grants/accessibility-compliance.html.

Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)  http://www.ecfr.gov/.

United States Code (U.S.C.)  http://uscode.house.gov/.

 

Application Checklist

 

Applicants may use this checklist as a guide when preparing an application package.

 
What to Submit Where Found When to Submit

Letter of Intent

Referenced in Section IV.2. Project Description.

Submission is due by the Letter of Intent due date found in the Overview and in Section IV.4.

Mandatory Grant Disclosure

Requirement, submission instructions, and mailing addresses are found in the "Mandatory Grant Disclosure"  in Section IV.2. Required Forms, Assurances and Certifications.

If applicable, concurrent submission to the Administration for Children and Families and to the Office of the Inspector General is required.

Proof of Non-Profit Status

Referenced in Section IV.2. The Project Description, Legal Status of Applicant Entity

Proof of non-profit status should be submitted with the application package by the application due date and time listed in the Overview and Section IV.4. of the FOA. 

If it is not available at the time of application submission, it must be submitted prior to the award of a grant.

Eligibility Documentation by For-Profit Organizations

Referenced in Section IV.2. Project Description, Legal Status of Applicant Entity.

Submission is required with the application by the Application Due Date in the Overview and in Section IV.4. Submission Dates and Times.

Unique Entity Identifier (DUNS) and Systems for Award Management (SAM) registration.

Referenced in Section IV.3. Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM) in the announcement.

To obtain a DUNS number (Unique Entity Identifier), go to http​://fedgo​v​.dnb​.com​/webfo​rm​.

To register at SAM, go to http​://www​.sam​.gov​.

A DUNS number (Unique Entity Identifier) and registration at SAM.gov are required for all applicants.

Active registration at SAM must be maintained throughout the application and project award period.

SF-LLL - Disclosure of Lobbying Activities

"Disclosure Form to Report Lobbying" is referenced in
Section IV.2. Required Forms, Assurances, and Certifications.

This form is available in the FOA's forms package at www​.Grant​s​.gov​.

If submission of this form is applicable, it is due at the time of application. 


If it not available at the time of application, it may also be submitted prior to the
award of a grant.

SF-424A - Budget Information - Non- Construction Programs and SF-424B - Assurances - Non- Construction Programs

Referenced in Section IV.2. Required Forms, Assurances, and Certifications.

These forms are available in the FOA's forms package at www​.Grant​s​.gov​ in the Mandatory section. 
They are required for applications that include only non-construction activities. 

Submission is due by the application due date found in the Overview and in Section IV.4. Submission Dates and Times.

 

Certification Regarding Lobbying
(Grants.gov Lobbying Form)

Referenced in Section IV.2. Required Forms, Assurances, and Certifications.

This form is available in the FOA's forms package at www​.Grant​s​.gov​.

Submission is due with the application package or prior to the award of a grant.

SF-424 Key Contact Form

Referenced in Section IV.2. Required Forms, Assurances, and Certifications.

This form is available in the FOA's forms package at www​.Grant​s​.gov​.

Submission is due with the application by the application due date found in the Overview and in Section IV.4. Submission Dates and Times.

SF-424 - Application for Federal Assistance

Referenced in Section IV.2.Required Forms, Assurances, and Certifications. 

This form is available in the FOA's forms package at www​.Grant​s​.gov​ in the Mandatory section.

Submission is due by the application due date found in the Overview and in Section IV.4. Submission Dates and Times.

Protection of Human Subjects Assurance Identification / IRB Certification / Declaration of Exemption (Common Rule)

Referenced in Section IV.2. Forms, Assurances, and Certifications. See http​://www​.hhs​.gov​/ ohrp​/ assur​ances​/ forms​/ index​.html​ for additional information.

This form is available in the FOA's forms package at www​.Grant​s​.gov​ 

Submission of the required information and forms is due with the application package by the due date listed in the Overview and Section IV.4. Submission Dates and Times. If the information is not available at the time of application, it must be submitted prior to the award of a grant.

SF-Project/Performance Site Location(s) (SF-P/PSL)

Referenced in Section IV.2.Required Forms, Assurances, and Certifications.

This form is available in the FOA's forms package at www​.Grant​s​.gov​.

Submission is due by the application due date found in the
Overview
and in Section IV.4. Submission Dates and Times.

Certificate of Good Standing

See Section IV.2. Required Forms, Assurances and Certifications and The Project Description, Legal Status of Applicant Entity

Submission is required with the application by the Application Due Date in the Overview and in Section IV.4. Submission Dates and Times.

Table of Contents

Referenced in Section IV.2. The Project Description

Submit with the application by the due date found in the
Overview
and in Section IV.4. Submission Dates and Times.

Project Summary/Abstract

Referenced in Section IV.2. The Project Description.

The Project Summary/Abstract is limited to one single-spaced page.

Submission is due by the application due date found in the Overview and in Section IV.4. Submission Dates and Times.

The Project Description

Referenced in Section IV.2. The Project Description

Submission is due by the application due date found in the Overview and in Section IV.4. Submission Dates and Times.

The Project Budget and Budget Justification

Referenced in Section IV.2. The Project Budget and Budget Justification.

Submission is required in addition to submission of SF-424A and / or SF-424C.


Submission is required with the application package by the due date in the Overview and in Section IV.4. Submission Dates and Times.

Official Transcript of Student Reflecting Graduate Courses and Status in the Doctoral Program

Referenced in Section IV.2. The Project Description.

Submission due by the application due date found in the Overview and in Section IV.4. Submission Dates and Times.

Biographical sketches and/or Curricula Vitae for Student and Mentor

Referenced in Section IV.2. The Project Description.

Submission due by the application due date found in the Overview and in Section IV.4. Submission Dates and Times.

Letter of Support from Mentor

Referenced in Section III.1. Eligible Applicants and Section IV.2. The Project Description.

Submission due by the application due date found in the Overview and in Section IV.4. Submission Dates and Times.

Documentation of Approved Dissertation Proposal

Referenced in Section III.1. Eligible Applicants and Section IV.2. The Project Description.

Submission due by the application due date found in the Overview and in Section IV.4. Submission Dates and Times.

If it is not available at the time of application submission, it must be submitted prior to the award of a grant.