Grants Management: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Before submitting your application through Grants.gov, view the tutorial and read the frequently asked questions regarding the Grants.gov process.

Please note, all EMSC grants must be submitted electronically unless prior written approval to submit a paper application has been granted.

  1. On Grants.gov, is the Project Summary/Abstract to be uploaded on page two of the SF424 (Box 15) the same as the Maternal and Children Health Bureau (MCHB) Project Abstract Form 6 that we submitted last year? Yes.

  2. Is a table of contents required on the non-competitive EMSC State Partnership grant application? There are two parts to completing the EMSC State Partnership non-competitive continuation proposal. The first part is to submit the required information to Grants.gov as noted on page 4. A table of contents is required for the Project Summary/Abstract. The second part to submitting a grant proposal is to complete the Electronic Handbook (EHB). A table of contents is not required in EHB. The system will generate the table of contents automatically.

  3. For both the competing and non-competing grant guidance, please clarify the length limitation of 80 pages or 10 MB that must be submitted to Grants.gov? The total size of all uploaded files included in your application must not exceed 80 pages and should include the abstract, project and budget narratives, attachments, and letters of commitment and support. Standard forms are not included in the page limit. Applications that exceed the specified limits will be deemed noncompliant and returned to the applicant without further consideration.

  4. Will I be notified that my continuation application has been received? Applications completed online are considered formally submitted when the Authorizing Official electronically submits the application through Grants.gov and the project director (or designate) electronically submits the non-competing continuation supplemental information to Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Electronic Handbook (EHB). However, to complete the submission requirements, a hard-copy of the SF-424 Face Sheet must be printed, signed by the Authorizing Official, and submitted to the Grants Application Center. The Face Sheet must be printed from the EHB.

  5. Why doesn't the submit button work on my application? The “submit” button will not become active until the application is complete and saved. You may also click the “check for errors” button to ensure there are no errors. Check to make sure there are no remaining yellow fields (indicating a mandatory field) on any forms. If there are, you will need to complete those fields.

  6. How do we assure the funding agency that the EMSC manager meets guidance requirements? All applications should contain a job description for the manager that includes the percentage of time devoted to the EMSC program. You must also include a biographical sketch that includes information about experience, education, and credentials.

  7. What specific information should our applications include related to EMS data? Your narrative should include information about the status of EMS data collection in your state, i.e., the process for capturing (and the capture rate, if known):

    • Use or non-use of NHTSA 2.2 Pre-hospital Data set
    • Identification of the primary contact for NEMSIS related activities. (Name, title, affiliation, phone and email information)
    • Plans of the grantee, if funded, to participate in the NEMSIS data survey
    • Description of grant funds that will be allocated to support data development.

  8. I have a large number of agencies and groups offering to provide letters of support for our EMSC program. The letters will surely take up a large number of my allocated pages. How would you suggest I inform the funder about this support without taking up pages needed to describe my project? It is important to let reviewers and the funding program know of the support you have gathered. It is a good idea to have a one-page listing of all agencies, individuals, and groups who have offered support to your program. This listing can be included in your application, but keep copies of all support letters should the program request the documentation.

  9. Both “EMSC Coordinator” and “EMSC Manager” are listed in the grant guidance. Are we required to have both? An EMSC “Manager” is a requirement. The use of the term “EMSC Coordinator” in one area of the guidance was an oversight in the final review of the document. The EMSC Program has recognized that the role outlined in the grant guidance is a full-time management-level position necessary to help guide the state/territory to changing policies and practices to improve the EMS system for children.

  10. If a state does not have a state EMSC advisory committee, how can we get letters of support from those individuals as mandated by the grant guidance? Send a formal letter inviting key players to join the newly-formed or newly-reactivated EMSC advisory committee. Within the context of the letter, request a letter of support that indicates their commitment to either serve or send an official representative from the organization/department to the committee meetings. If necessary, the letter you send could be signed by or accompanied by a note from a prestigious or well-respected individual who supports your program. Provide the committee members with your EMSC Project Abstract or an executive summary of your proposal, including the key role the advisory committee will play and the importance of their participation.

  11. Does the EMSC Manager need to be state- or territory-funded? EMSC funds may be used for the EMSC manager’s salary. The long- term goal is to work toward a more permanent (i.e., state-funded 1.0 FTE) position for the EMSC manager.

  12. If actual advisory committee sign-in sheets and meeting minutes are available, can we summarize this information in an Excel spreadsheet rather than submit all the documentation? The required documentation for performance measures does not have a page limit. A summary sheet would be helpful; however, all required documentation must be submitted, regardless of the number of pages.

  13. If an applicant has already met some of the performance measures, how is that stated in the grant application? Section 2 of the grant narrative (Project Objectives) is one possible place to describe the measures your state has already met. Explain why certain objectives were selected for targeted activities in the grant application.

  14. If a statute already exists within a state that specifically states that “pediatric representation is required on the EMS Board/ Commission/Council,” or I have an EMSC advisory board that has met all the requirements, is it still necessary to include documentation? Annual reporting and documentation is still required. Please see the Performance Measures Implementation Manual for specific instructions.

  15. How do we proceed with family-centered care (FCC), injury prevention, disaster preparedness, etc? Is FCC, injury prevention, disaster preparedness still a priority? FCC is still a priority. Family member representation on the EMSC advisory committee is a performance measure requirement. Include family members in strategic planning activities and in the development of policies and procedures, etc. Activities on education, injury prevention, and disaster preparedness are considered optional activities. Try to find a champion in your state/territory to assume leadership of these important activities so you can focus on the new grant requirements.

  16. The guidance does not ask for goals, only objectives. Are we required to have goals? Although it is not stated explicitly in the grant guidance, your proposal should have at least one broad, overarching goal to which all the objectives relate. This will help reviewers understand what you are ultimately attempting to accomplish. Abstract Form 6 mentions up to five major goals, but one goal will be considered sufficient for the EMSC State Partnership application.

  17. Can you provide us with a sample template of a timeline? NEDARC has posted all presentations and handouts from the two grant writing workshops at http://www.nedarc.org (out link), including an electronic version of a timeline for applicants to use.

  18. Can we submit a narrative project timeline instead of a graph? Yes, but a narrative may need more pages and there is an 80-page limit. A graphical timeline enables reviewers to visualize an organized plan for implementation and can be used as a project management tool by the EMSC manager.

  19. What should you do if you reach the 80-page limit, and still have many letters of support to include? Include only the letters that are required per the grant guidance. Consider also including a list of additional letters that are on file and available upon request. Make sure you include only current letters of support and list the date on the letter or the date the letter was received.

  20. How many letters of support should we have? The number of letters of support provided may be limited by your application page count. However, keep in mind that it is essential to include “letters of agreement” for any individual or organization listed in the proposal as a partner and whose cooperation is needed to be successful. The letter should reflect the individual’s willingness to participate and provide the support described in the methodology.

  21. The Project Abstract does not request the name of the state. Should we include it? When submitting a paper application, please do include your state’s name and follow the HRSA format found on Form 6. When submitting electronically, identifying information will be entered in another location and included on the form for printing.

  22. Is technical assistance available for electronic submissions? HRSA has a support center to provide guidance on electronic submissions.

  23. Since grants have a relatively prescribed set of goals and initiatives, how long should the introduction be? Make an effort to keep the introduction section short, but provide the required information. Most of the proposal narrative should address the objectives and methodology.

  24. Is the grant application single-spaced or double-spaced? Refer to the application guidance for specific requirements. It should be a 12 pt font, and it can be single-spaced. However, keep in mind that making it both well-written and easy to read will improve reviewers’ perceptions of your application.

  25. How important is the abstract? The abstract is critical. Since the reviewers start with the abstract, it is the first impression of your proposal. It should provide a complete, yet brief overview of your project.

  26. Should a CV or biosketch be used in the application? The guidance limits biographical data to two pages per person. Anyone identified on the key personnel page should have a biosketch (the format is provided in the Guidance) included in the proposal.

  27. Does the guidance specify who must attend the annual meeting? Are family representatives mandatory? Yes, the guidance specifies who must attend the Annual EMSC Grantee Meeting. The family representative is one of several people required to attend the meeting.

  28. Can EMSC grant funds be used for honorariums or travel costs to attend an advisory committee meeting? Is there a limitation to an honorarium? Yes, funds may be used for honorariums or travel costs. You may also include costs for meeting teleconferences. You may want to consider holding two on-site meetings and two meetings by teleconference. With regard to honorarium, you need to follow the guidelines in your state as to whether or not an honorarium or other incentive can be offered.

  29. Budgeting for items such as surveying may be a challenge. Is budget development help available? If so, from whom? The EMSC National Resource Center and NEDARC can work with you individually on budget development.

  30. Whom do I call for budget questions? For all budget questions, please contact your state’s grants management specialist.

  31. Do I need to submit the key personnel page in year one or for each year of the grant? Submit a key personnel page for each year of funding requested. Be sure to show the projected escalation in salary.

  32. If the state or territorial EMSC program has more activities and related personnel beyond the goals and objectives of this grant application (such as Targeted Issues grant), should these individuals be listed on the Key Personnel page? Itemize the personnel who have a responsibility or an identified role for the objectives specified “in the State Partnership application”. Do not include those without an identified responsibility/role.

  33. Who determines the indirect rate charged on the grant? Your state or institution submits its indirect costs to HRSA for review. HRSA provides an approval for the maximum indirect rate the state or institution may charge on Federal grants.

  34. When presenting “in-kind” dollars available, is it better to identify funds from the different sources? If your project narrative describes resources from different agencies (state funds, private funds, etc.) it would be better to illustrate the in-kind funds from all the different sources.

  35. What budget narrative format is recommended? Organize the budget justification in the sequence of the budget categories listed on the SF 424 budget pages. Be concise and provide the calculations and the purpose for the funds requested. Link individual budget items to objectives or activities described in the methodology.

  36. Is it mandatory to include in the application baseline data for the three performance measures? For Continuation applicants – Yes. Your data will be used for testing HRSA’s electronic diary system. The provisional data reported by continuation applicants for all nine elements of the three performance measures may be an educated guess if the actual data is not available at the time of submission. Multiple opportunities will be available to go back and update the initial data submitted. For New State Partnership applicants – No. Baseline data will be entered at a later date when the continuation application is submitted. For both types of proposals, continuation as well as new, your state/territory will be expected to report baseline data for all nine elements of the performance measures and every year thereafter.

  37. If a state or territory has not signed on to NEMSIS, should we skip the Introduction section and not report the status of EMS data collection? No, you need to let the reviewers know the current status of your EMS data collection efforts. Indicate that no commitment for NEMSIS has been made.

  38. Are there weighted criteria for the grant proposal? Yes. See the grant guidance.

  39. Will EMSC grant application reviewers be people who have worked in EMSC? Not necessarily. The EMSC federal program officer can recommend reviewers to the HRSA Division of Independent Review (DIR), the division responsible for conducting the reviews of all HRSA grant programs. Because so many EMSC coordinators will be competing for funding, few EMSC coordinators will be eligible to serve as reviewers. Recommendations of other individuals (emergency physicians and nurses, for example) will be given to DIR. Reviewers may or may not be familiar with EMS or pediatric emergency care. Do not assume that the reviewer is familiar with your state or the EMSC Program. Clearly describe your state’s goals/objectives regarding pediatric emergency care, as well as your plan for meeting the grant guidance’s requirements. The EMSC State Partnership applications will be individually reviewed by three reviewers, and they will submit their scores and comments back to DIR. Scores and comments from each reviewer will be compiled and summarized by DIR staff and sent to the EMSC federal project officer.

  40. If you do not include an objective to address each of the nine elements of the performance measures within this three-year grant cycle, how will this be received? The EMSC Program recognizes that it is not possible to begin work on all nine elements simultaneously, but baseline and annual data must be collected and reported for all nine elements. Achievement of the performance measures is expected over five years, or two grant cycles. Consider developing a five-year timeline (see handout developed for this in the workshop resource materials on the NEDARC website) to identify a logical sequence to address each of the nine elements by 2011. This is a tool that may be used by the EMSC advisory committee in its strategic planning. Opportunities exist to refine grant objectives in the continuation applications, allowing a state to stage the implementation of activities to address each of the nine elements.

  41. Is it possible to refer grant reviewers to a website for additional information that does not fit within the 80-page limit of the application? Reviewers are discouraged from going to web sites. Since it is possible to track visitors to web sites, there is the potential that reviewer confidentiality would be violated. Make sure that the essential information that the reviewer needs is included within the application.

  42. Who are the reviewers and how does the review process happen? The whole process for grant review has changed from past years when it was coordinated by the EMSC Program. Now an independent division within HRSA, the Division of Independent Review (DIR), coordinates grant reviews for all HRSA programs. While the EMSC federal project officer has an opportunity to recommend reviewers, it is the DIR who sends invitations and sets up the review process.

  43. How can our state inform the EMSC Program of what it accomplished during the current year? All accomplishments should be included in your final report to the EMSC Program. Final reports are due within 90 days of the grant’s termination.

  44. How is progress demonstrated? What if bills are submitted to the legislature and are shot down? Report how your advisory committee worked on the legislation and steps that will be taken to move the bill forward next time. Progress is illustrated when efforts continue. Supporting documentation could be advisory committee minutes that describe efforts of state organizations and individuals during each year.

  45. Is there a possibility that future funding could be affected if, after two or three years, the state has not made progress toward achieving the performance measures? Yes, that is a definite possibility. The grantee is expected to be accountable for demonstrating efforts that work toward achieving objectives stated in the grant application, particularly those focused on performance measures. Remember, it is also important to use the funds that you receive. If funds are not used or obligated, the grantee could potentially have funding reduced in future years of the grant cycle.