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NATIONAL LEADERSHIP GRANTS FOR MUSEUMS - FY17 NOTICE OF FUNDING OPPORTUNITY

National Leadership Grants for Museums – FY17 Notice of Funding Opportunity

Federal Awarding Agency:

Institute of Museum and Library Services

Funding Opportunity Title:

National Leadership Grants for Museums

Announcement Type:

Notice of Funding Opportunity

Funding Opportunity Number: 

NLG-Museums-FY17

Catalog of Federal Financial Assistance (CFDA) Number: 

45.312

Due Date:

Submit through Grants.gov by 11:59 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time on December 1, 2016.

Anticipated Date of Notification of Award Decisions:

September 2017 (subject to the availability of funds and IMLS discretion)

Beginning Date of Period of Performance: 

Not earlier than October 1, 2017. Projects must begin on October 1, November 1, or December 1, 2017.

Equal Opportunity

IMLS-funded programs do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age. For further information, email the Civil Rights Officer at CivilRights@imls.gov or write to the Civil Rights Officer, Institute of Museum and Library Services, 955 L’Enfant Plaza North, SW, Suite 4000, Washington, DC, 20024-5802.

A. Program Description

1. What is this grant program?

National Leadership Grants (NLG) for Museums support projects that address critical needs of the museum field and that have the potential to advance practice in the profession so that museums can improve services for the American public.

2. What are indicators of successful projects?

Successful NLG for Museums projects have the following indicators (characteristics):

  • Broad Impact: The project has the potential for far-reaching impact beyond the institution and for influencing practice across one or more disciplines or specific fields within the museum profession.
  • In-depth Knowledge: The proposal reflects a thorough understanding of current practice and knowledge about the subject matter and an awareness and support of current strategic initiatives and agendas in the field.
  • Innovative Approach: The project employs novel approaches or techniques new to the project area to strengthen and improve museum services to benefit the audiences and communities being served.
  • Collaborative Process: The project incorporates audience, stakeholders, and/or other partners to demonstrate broad need, field-wide buy-in and input, access to appropriate expertise, and sharing of resources.
  • Shared Results: The project generates results such as models, new tools, research findings, services, practices, and/or alliances that can be widely used, adapted, scaled, or replicated to extend and leverage the benefits of federal investment.

3. What are the IMLS agency-level goals? 

The mission of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. We provide leadership through research, policy development, and grant making.

U.S. museums and libraries are at the forefront in the movement to create a nation of learners. As stewards of cultural and natural heritage with rich, authentic content, libraries and museums provide learning experiences for everyone. In FY2017, each award under this program will support one of the following three goals of the IMLS strategic plan for 2012–2016, Creating a Nation of Learners:

  • IMLS places the learner at the center and supports engaging experiences in libraries and museums that prepare people to be full participants in their local communities and our global society.
  • IMLS promotes museums and libraries as strong community anchors that enhance civic engagement, cultural opportunities, and economic vitality.
  • IMLS supports exemplary stewardship of museum and library collections and promotes the use of technology to facilitate discovery of knowledge and cultural heritage.

The goals focus on achieving positive public outcomes for communities and individuals; supporting the unique role of museums and libraries in preserving and providing access to collections and content; and promoting library, museum, and information service policies that ensure access to information for all Americans.

a. What is of special interest to IMLS in FY17?

In support of the above three strategic goals, and in order to serve audiences of all ages, interests, and backgrounds and to enhance the quality of museum services nationwide, IMLS encourages NLG for Museums applicants to:

  • Transform museums from being community anchors to acting as community catalysts. Collaborate with, learn from, and co-create experiences with other community-based organizations such as afterschool associations, summer learning programs, early childhood service providers, youth mentoring programs, libraries, archives, universities, community development organizations, and other cross-sector partners. 
  • Deploy new technologies and develop innovative digital tools and platforms that can diversify, strengthen, grow, and sustain the museum field’s learning, collections, and community engagement initiatives, where community members serve as vital partners in creating these new approaches.
  • Develop formative and summative evaluation strategies to learn from projects and build institutional and sector-wide capacity.
  • Create models for professional development of museum staff, volunteers, and interns, and ensure the highest standards in all aspects of museum operations. This includes, but is not limited to, creating opportunities to encourage a more inclusive and diverse museum professional and volunteer workforce, and building the skills of museum staff at all levels, with emphasis on the development of the next generation of museum professionals.
  • Develop models for services for diverse and underserved audiences, including but not limited to: those living in poverty; veterans and military families; seniors; immigrants; those with disabilities; and those living in rural and tribal communities and Promise Zones.
  • Incorporate interdisciplinary approaches to museum programming.
  • Explore STEM-related programs that engage audiences in meaningful inquiry-based interactions with researchers and practitioners.
  • Strengthen early learning best practices in order to better serve families and caregivers with young children, including cross-generational learning opportunities.

b. What are the project categories for this program?

There are three project categories within the NLG for Museums program, each corresponding to one of the three goals from the IMLS strategic plan. Your project must align with one of them.

Learning Experiences

IMLS supports the unique ability of museums to open the door to meaningful knowledge and enhanced inquiry skills for people of all ages and backgrounds through multi-sensory learning, discovery, critical thinking, and problem solving. IMLS welcomes applications for projects that position museums as teaching and inquiry-focused institutions within today's formal and informal learning ecosystem. Successful projects will help the museum field provide high-quality, inclusive educational opportunities that address particular audience needs. We encourage projects that are based upon current research in cognitive and behavioral science as well as best practices developed in museums and other informal learning environments.

Projects may include, but are not limited to, the following activities:

  • Development, implementation, and dissemination of model programs that create engaging learning opportunities, leveraging and creating synergy between digital media, new media communications tools, and in-person experiences;
  • Development and adoption of emerging educational trends, such as open education resources (OER), massive open online courses (MOOCs), blended and flipped classroom models, gaming, and project-based learning labs that use computer aided design (CAD) and 3D printing;
  • Building and strengthening learning partnerships that make museum resources accessible online and otherwise in support of school curricula, and state and national standards;
  • Research on the role of museums in engaging learners and how “multi-dimensional” learning happens in museum settings; and
  • Development and implementation of training and professional development programs, tools, frameworks, or resources that are informed by research and can be beneficial for the entire museum sector.

Click here for samples of recently funded applications that support activities in the Learning Experiences category.

Community Anchors

IMLS promotes the role of museums as essential partners in addressing the needs of their communities by leveraging their expertise, knowledge, physical space, technology, and other resources to identify and implement solutions. By strengthening museums’ capacities for civic engagement, these projects contribute to the creation of livable, sustainable communities. Museums have a role to play providing civic and cultural engagement, facilitating lifelong learning, promoting digital inclusion, and supporting economic vitality through programming and services. We envision museums to be highly collaborative, adopt co-creating strategies, and engage with a wide variety of cross-sector stakeholders to accomplish a sustained collective impact goal.

Projects may include, but are not limited to, the following activities:

  • Development of new and innovative methods for addressing community challenges and needs through partnerships, services, processes, or practices. These may include: researching and testing the role of new media communication tools fostering audience engagement, learning, and conversations, and models that help museums provide products and services based on specific audience interests, demographics, and economics;
  • Development and implementation of training and professional development programs, tools, or resources that build the knowledge, skills, and abilities of museum staff and/or volunteers to meet the needs of their communities, through proactive and sustained community outreach and engagement strategies;
  • Research focusing on the role and value of museums as community anchors and catalysts; and
  • Building capacity in the museum field to support engagement with other community-based organizations in collective impact efforts.

Click here for samples of recently funded applications that support activities in the Community Anchors category.

Collections Stewardship

IMLS supports the exemplary management, care, and conservation of, as well as broad access to and use of, museum collections. Investments designed to contribute to the long-term preservation of materials and specimens are complemented by skill-building and capacity-expanding programs for museum staff, volunteers, and interns. IMLS welcomes applications for projects that help the museum field address state-of-the-art collections care and collections-information management, curation, preventive conservation, conservation treatments, database creation and enhancement, digitization, and the use of digital tools to facilitate discovery and deepen engagement with museum collections. We welcome projects that demonstrate cross-sector and cross-disciplinary collaboration with libraries, archives, and other collecting institutions.

Projects may include, but are not limited to, the following activities:

  • Development, implementation, and dissemination of new tools or services that enhance collection digitization strategies, facilitate digital access, and aides in the management, preservation, sharing, and use of museum collections. This includes: digital infrastructure development and efficient, shared service approaches, scaled application of existing platforms, and use of linked open data standards and protocols;
  • Development and implementation of training and professional development programs, tools, or resources that impact the ability of museum staff and/or volunteers in multiple institutions to improve the stewardship of and access to collections;
  • Research focusing on any broadly relevant aspect of the management, conservation, preservation, use of and/or digital access to collections including methods that increase engagement among community groups with special interests, affinities, and needs; and
  • Building or strengthening coalitions to enhance collections care and digital access across the spectrum of institutional sizes, discipline, and mission.

Click here for samples of recently funded applications that support activities in the Collections Stewardship category.

c. Where can I find additional examples of projects funded by this program?

Click here to search awarded grants by program, category, and/or key word.

4. Where can I find the authorizing statute and regulations for this funding opportunity?

Statute: 20 U.S.C. § 9101 et seq.; in particular, § 9162 (National leadership grants) and § 9173 (Museum services activities).

Regulations: 45 C.F.R. ch. XI and 2 C.F.R. ch. XXXI

You are required to follow the IMLS regulations that are in effect at the time of the award.

PLEASE NOTE: The recent Office of Management and Budget (OMB) final guidance on Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (Grant Reform) can be found at 2 C.F.R. pt. 200. With certain IMLS-specific additions, IMLS regulations at 2 C.F.R. pt. 3187 formally adopt the 2 C.F.R. pt. 200 Grant Reform.

B. Federal Award Information

Total amount of funding expected to be awarded through this announcement

$6,500,000

Anticipated number of awards

15

Expected amounts of individual awards (see section B.1 below for more details)

Non-research grants

$50,000–$1,000,000

Research grants

$50,000–$1,000,000

Rapid prototyping grants

$5,000–$50,000

Average amount of funding per award experienced in previous years

$315,000

Anticipated start dates for new awards

Not earlier than October 1, 2017. Projects must begin on October 1, November 1, or December 1, 2017.

Anticipated period of performance

October 2017–November 2020. Project activities may be carried out for up to three years, depending on the funding level.

Type of assistance instrument

Grant

The funding in the above Federal Award Information table is subject to the availability of funds and IMLS discretion. IMLS is not bound by any estimates in this announcement.

Applications for renewal or supplementation of existing projects are not competed with applications for new awards.

Contingent upon the availability of funds, the quality of applications, and IMLS discretion, IMLS may make additional awards from the list of unfunded applications from this competition.

1. What are the funding levels for this program?

There are three funding levels within the NLG for Museums program. You must choose one of them.

Non-research grant, $50,000–$1,000,000 with 1:1 cost share required
Projects of one to three years that address critical needs of the museum field and that have the potential to advance practice in the profession so that museums can improve services for the American public.

Research grant, $50,000–$1,000,000 with no cost share required
Research projects of one to three years that investigate key questions important to museum practice and that have the potential to advance the profession so that museums can improve services for the American public. Click here to learn more about the elements of an effective research application.

Rapid prototyping grant, $5,000–$50,000 with no cost share required
Projects of one year that prototype and evaluate specific innovations in the ways museums operate and the services they provide. Project results, both successful and unsuccessful, should offer valuable information to the museum field and the potential for improvement in the ways museums serve their communities.

C. Eligibility Information

1. Eligible Applicants

a. What are the eligibility requirements for this program?

To be eligible for an award under this NLG for Museums notice of funding opportunity, you must be an organization that meets all three of the following criteria:

  1. You must be either a unit of State or local government or be a private nonprofit organization that has tax-exempt status under the Internal Revenue Code;
  2. You must be located in one of the 50 States of the United States of America, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, or the Republic of Palau; and
  3. You must qualify as one of the following:

(a) A museum that, using a professional staff, is organized on a permanent basis for essentially educational or aesthetic purposes; owns or uses tangible objects, either animate or inanimate; cares for these objects; and exhibits these objects to the general public on a regular basis through facilities that it owns or operates.

  • What types of institutions are included in the term “museum”? 
    If they otherwise meet these requirements, “museums” include, but are not limited to, aquariums, arboretums, art museums, botanical gardens, children’s/youth museums, general museums (those having two or more significant disciplines), historic houses/sites, history museums, natural history/anthropology museums, nature centers, planetariums, science/technology centers, specialized museums (limited to a single distinct subject), and zoological parks.
  • What does it mean to be “using a professional staff”? 
    An institution uses a professional staff if it employs at least one staff member, or the full-time equivalent, whether paid or unpaid, primarily engaged in the acquisition, care, or exhibition to the public of objects owned or used by the institution.
  • What does it mean to “exhibit the objects to the general public”? 
    An institution exhibits objects to the general public if such exhibition is a primary purpose of the institution. An institution that exhibits objects to the general public for at least 120 days a year is deemed to exhibit objects to the general public on a regular basis.
    An institution which does not have the exhibition of objects as a primary purpose and/or does not exhibit objects to the public for at least 120 days a year may be determined to be eligible as a museum under certain circumstances. For more information, please see 2 CFR §3187.3(d).

(b)  An organization or association that engages in activities designed to advance the well-being of museums and the museum profession;

(c)  An institution of higher education, including public and nonprofit universities; or

(d)  A public or private nonprofit agency which is responsible for the operation of a museum that meets the eligibility criteria in 1, 2, and 3(a) above may apply on behalf of the museum.

If my museum is located within a parent organization, can my museum apply on its own?

A museum located within a parent organization that is a State or local government or multipurpose nonprofit entity, such as a municipality, university, historical society, foundation, or cultural center, may apply on its own behalf if the museum:

  • is able to independently fulfill all the eligibility requirements listed in the above three criteria;
  • functions as a discrete unit within the parent organization;
  • has its own fully segregated and itemized operating budget; and
  • has the authority to make the application on its own.

When any of the last three conditions cannot be met, a museum may only apply through its parent organization.

Is a nonprofit organization eligible if it is affiliated with a museum?

IMLS may determine that a nonprofit organization that is affiliated with a museum is eligible for this program where the organization can demonstrate that it has the ability to administer the project and can ensure compliance with the terms of this Notice of Funding Opportunity and the applicable law, including the Assurances and Certifications. The applicant organization must submit an agreement from the museum that details the activities that the applicant and museum will perform and binds the museum to the statements and assurances made in the grant application.

Native American tribal organizations may apply if they otherwise meet the above eligibility requirements.

Note that there are also funding restrictions that could affect the eligibility of a project; please consult section D.6 below for details.

2. What are the cost-sharing requirements for this program?

For the NLG for Museums program, the requirements to provide cost share from non-federal funds differ according to funding level.

NLG for Museums Funding Level

Cost Share Requirement

Non-research grant, $50,000–$1,000,000

 

1:1 cost share required.

NOTE: Cost sharing that appears in your project budget should be carefully calculated. Grantees are expected to meet their cost share commitments.

Research grant, $50,000–$1,000,000

 

No cost share required.

NOTE: Cost sharing that appears in your project budget should be carefully calculated. Grantees are expected to meet their cost share commitments.

Rapid prototyping grant, $5,000–$50,000

No cost share required.

NOTE: Cost sharing that appears in your project budget should be carefully calculated. Grantees are expected to meet their cost share commitments.

Click here for further information on cost sharing.

3. Other Information

a. How many applications can we submit under this announcement?

An applicant organization may submit multiple applications under this announcement.

b. What if our organization fails to meet an eligibility criterion by the time of the application deadline?

IMLS will not review applications from ineligible applicants. We will notify you if your application will not be reviewed because your institution is determined to be ineligible.

c. What if our organization fails to meet an eligibility criterion at the time of award?

IMLS will not make awards to ineligible applicants. In order to receive an IMLS award, you must be eligible and in compliance with applicable requirements and be in good standing on all active IMLS awards.

D. Application and Submission Information

1. How can we find the application package?

This announcement contains all application materials needed to apply. Use one of the following identifiers to locate the application package in Grants.gov:

  • CFDA No:45.312, or
  • Funding Opportunity Number:NLG-Museums-FY17

a. Can we request an audio recording of this announcement?

Upon request, we will provide an audio recording of this publication. Use Teletype (TTY/TDD) (for persons with hearing difficulty): 202-653-4614.

b. Can we request a paper copy of this announcement?

Upon request, we will provide a paper copy of this publication. Call 202-653-4789.

2. What is required to make a complete application?

The Table of Application Components below will help you prepare a complete application. You will find links to more information and instructions for each application component in the table. Applications missing any Required Documents or Conditionally Required Documents from this list will be considered incomplete and will be rejected from further consideration.

a. Table of Application Components

Component

Format

File name to use

Required Documents

The Application for Federal Assistance/Short Organizational Form (SF-424S)

Grants.gov form

n/a

Abstract (one page max.)

PDF document

Abstract.pdf

IMLS Program Information Sheet

IMLS PDF form

Programinfo.pdf

Organizational Profile (one page max.)

PDF document

Organizationalprofile.pdf

Narrative (ten pages max.)

PDF document

Narrative.pdf

Schedule of Completion (one page per year max.)

PDF document

Scheduleofcompletion.pdf

IMLS Budget Form

IMLS PDF form

Budget.pdf

Budget Justification

PDF document

Budgetjustification.pdf

List of Key Project Staff and Consultants (one page max.)

PDF document

Projectstaff.pdf

Resumes of Key Project Staff and Consultants that appear on the list above (two pages each max.)

PDF document

Resumes.pdf

Conditionally Required Documents

Proof of Nonprofit Status

PDF document

Proofnonprofit.pdf

Final Federally Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement

PDF document

Indirectcostrate.pdf

Digital Product Form

IMLS PDF form or PDF document

Digitalproduct.pdf

Supporting Documents

Information that supplements the narrative and supports the project description provided in the application

PDF document

Supportingdoc1.pdf
Supportingdoc2.pdf
Supportingdoc3.pdf

b. How should we format, name, and sequence the application components?

  • Document format: Aside from the SF-424S listed below which is created in Grants.gov, all application components must be submitted as PDF documents.
  • Page limits: Note page limits listed above. We will remove any pages above the limit, and we will not send them to reviewers as part of your application.
  • Naming convention: Use the naming conventions indicated in the table. IMPORTANT: You are limited to using the following characters in all attachment file names: A-Z, a-z, 0-9, underscore (_), hyphen (-), space, period. If you use any other characters when naming your attachment files, your application will be rejected.
  • Attachment order: In Grants.gov, attach all application components in the sequence listed in the table above. Use all available spaces in the “Attachments Form” first. Attach any additional application components using the “Other Attachment File(s)” boxes.
  • Complete applications: Use the table above as a checklist to ensure that you have created and attached all necessary application components.

Each document you create must be converted to a PDF before you submit it.

c. Required Documents

The Application for Federal Assistance/Short Organizational Form (SF-424S)

The SF-424S is part of the application package that you download from Grants.gov. Click here for instructions on completing the SF-424S.

Abstract

Write this one-page document and save it as a PDF. A project abstract must be no more than one page and address the following:

  • Who is the lead applicant and, if applicable, who are the partners?
  • What need, problem, or challenge will your project address, and how was it identified?
  • What activities will you carry out and in what time frame?
  • How does your project benefit the museum field?
  • What are your project’s intended outcomes?
  • How will you measure your success in achieving your intended outcomes?

This abstract may be used for public information purposes, so it should be written for experts as well as a general audience. The abstract must not include any proprietary or confidential information.

IMLS Program Information Sheet

Download the IMLS Program Information Sheet (PDF, 1.3 MB).

1. Applicant Information:

  1. Legal Name: From 5a on the SF-424S.
  2. Organizational D-U-N-S® Number: From 5f on the SF-424S.
  3. Expiration date of your SAM.gov registration: Enter the expiration date of your SAM.gov registration in the fill-in field. Please note that before submitting an application, your organization must have a current SAM.gov registration.
  4. Organizational Unit Name: If you cannot apply for grants on your own behalf, then enter your organizational unit’s name and address in these spaces. For example, if your museum or library is part of a parent organization, such as a university, then enter the name of the university under Legal Name, and the museum or library as the Organizational Unit.
  5. Organizational Unit Address: Be sure to include the four-digit extension on the ZIP code.
  6. Organizational Unit Type: Select the one that most accurately describes your organization.

2. Organizational Financial Information: a-d. All applicants must provide the information requested.

3. Grant Program: Select e. National Leadership Grants for Museums.

1. Select one project category: Learning Experiences; Community Anchors; or Collections Stewardship.
2. Select one funding level: Non-research grant, $50,000–$1,000,000 with 1:1 cost share required; Research grant, $50,000–$1,000,000 with no cost share required; or Rapid prototyping grant, $5,000–$50,000 with no cost share required.

4.   Performance Goals: Select one of the three IMLS agency-level goals (a–c). Check at least one of the performance goals listed beneath it. Note: If you select a performance goal(s) under agency-level goals (a) Learning or (b) Community, click on the link below it to review the specific performance measure statement choices and the information you will be required to collect and report on throughout the award period of performance. Performance Measure Statements and Information to be Collected and Reported for Learning and Community Projects.

5. Funding Request Information:

  1. IMLS Funds Requested: Enter the amount in dollars sought from IMLS.
  2. Cost Share Amount: Enter the amount of non-federal funding you are providing, which must be at least one-half of the total project cost if you are proposing a non-research project of $50,000–$1,000,000. Click here for further information on cost sharing.

6. Population Served: Check the boxes that reflect the population(s) to be served by your project.

7. Museum Profile: Museum applicants must answer all questions (a–m) in this section. If you named an organizational unit under Question 1d, this information must pertain to that unit.

8. Project Elements: Refer to the project category you selected in Question 3 above and select the primary element that is core to your project. For Collections Stewardship projects, check additional boxes corresponding to the material type(s) that will be primarily affected by your project.

Organizational Profile

Create an Organizational Profile and save it as a PDF. Click here for instructions on creating an Organizational Profile.

Narrative

Write a narrative that addresses the questions listed below and save it as a PDF. Limit the narrative to ten numbered pages. We will remove any pages above the page limit, and we will not send them to reviewers as part of your application.

  • Organize your narrative using the section headings: Project Justification, Project Work Plan, and Project Results.
  • Consider each narrative question and be mindful of each section’s review criteria.
  • Be clear and concise with a minimum of technical jargon and acronyms.
  • Use supporting documents to provide supplementary materials.
  • Make sure your organization’s name appears at the top of each page.
  • Use at least 0.5-inch margins on all sides and a font size of at least twelve points.

1. Project Justification

  • What do you propose to do?
  • What need, problem, or challenge will your project address and how was it identified?
  • Who or what will benefit from your project?
  • How will your project address the goals of the NLG for Museums program (as described above in Section A.1) and the project category under which you are applying?

Review Criteria:

  • Is the project clearly explained?
  • Is the need, problem, or challenge to be addressed clearly identified and supported by relevant evidence?
  • Have stakeholders and/or those who will benefit from the project been involved in project planning?
  • Does the project address current needs of the museum field and/or have the potential to advance practice in the museum profession?
  • Does the project align with the selected NLG for Museums category: Learning Experiences, Community Anchors, or Collections Stewardship?

2. Project Work Plan

  • What specific activities, including evaluation and performance measurements, will you carry out?
  • Who will plan, implement, and manage your project?
  • What are the risks to the project and are they accounted for in the work plan?
  • When and in what sequence will your activities occur?
  • What financial, personnel, and other resources will you need to carry out the activities?
  • How will you track your progress toward achieving your intended results?
  • How and with whom will you share your project’s results?

Review Criteria:

  • Are the proposed activities informed by appropriate theory and practice?
  • Are the proposed evaluation activities and performance measurements appropriate for the project? Will they result in valid, reliable, and generalizable findings?
  • Do the identified staff, partners, consultants, and service providers possess the experience and skills necessary to complete the work successfully?
  • Are the goals, assumptions, and risks clearly stated?
  • Is the schedule of work realistic and achievable?
  • Are the time, personnel, and financial resources identified appropriate for the scope and scale of the project?
  • Is a clear methodology described for tracking the project’s progress and adjusting course when necessary?
  • Is there an effective plan for communicating results and/or sharing discoveries?
  • For research projects, is the research design appropriate and does the proposal answer the questions outlined in the guidance on effective research proposals?

3. Project Results

  • Referring to the Performance Goal(s) selected on the Program Information Sheet prepared for your application, choose one or more Performance Measure Statement(s) appropriate for your project and describe how you will collect and report the corresponding data.
  • Referring to your Project Justification, describe your project’s intended results that will address the need, problem, or challenge you have identified. These may be in addition to, but not instead of, the Performance Goal(s) and Performance Measure Statement(s) referenced above.
  • How will the knowledge, skills, behaviors, and/or attitudes of the intended audience change as a result of your project?
  • What tangible products will be of value to the field?
  • How will you sustain the benefit(s) of your project?

Review Criteria:

  • Is the plan for collecting and reporting data corresponding to the Performance Goal(s) and Performance Measure Statement(s) selected for the project well designed and feasible?
  • Are the project’s intended results clearly articulated, realistic, meaningful, actionable, and linked to the need, problem, or challenge addressed by the project?
  • Is the plan to effect meaningful change in knowledge, skills, behaviors, and/or attitudes solidly grounded and appropriately structured?
  • Will the proposed project generate results such as models, tools, research findings, services, and practices that can be broadly used, adapted, scaled, or replicated in the museum profession?
  • Is there a reasonable and practical plan for sustaining the benefits of the project beyond the conclusion of this award?

Schedule of Completion

Create a Schedule of Completion and save it as a PDF. Click here for instructions on creating a Schedule of Completion.

IMLS Budget Form

Download the IMLS Budget Form (PDF, 1.1 MB). Click here for instructions on completing the budget form. Java Script must be enabled.

Budget Justification

Write a Budget Justification and save it as a PDF. Click here for instructions on creating the Budget Justification.

List of Key Project Staff and Consultants

Write a one-page list of only staff and consultants whose expertise is essential to the success of the project and save it as a PDF. Do not list the entire staff involved in the project. This list must include the Project Director listed in Item 7 of the SF-424S.

Resumes of Key Project Staff and Consultants

Provide resumes of no more than two pages, as a PDF, for each project staff member and consultant identified on the List of Key Project Staff and Consultants described above. If you cannot identify key project staff by the application deadline, then submit position descriptions instead. A position description does not identify a specific individual; it identifies the qualities and range of experience and education necessary to successfully implement and complete project activities.

d. Conditionally Required Documents

Failure to provide a conditionally required document will result in your application being considered incomplete and rejected from further consideration.

Proof of Nonprofit Status

If your organization is a private, nonprofit institution, you must submit a copy of the IRS letter indicating your eligibility for nonprofit status under the applicable provision of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, as amended. We will not accept a letter of state sales tax exemption as proof of nonprofit status.

Final Federally Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement

If your project budget includes a federally negotiated indirect cost rate, then you must submit a current copy of your Final Federally Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement.

Please note that if you are eligible for and are choosing the option of claiming an indirect cost rate of 10 percent of the modified total direct costs, you do not need to provide any documentation. Click here for further information on indirect costs.

Digital Products

IMLS defines digital products very broadly. If you are developing any digital products (e.g. digital content, resources, assets, software, datasets), you should complete the Digital Product Form. Click here for Guidance for Projects that Develop Digital Products.

e. Supporting Documents

You may submit other attachments of your choosing as part of your application package but these attachments should include only information that will supplement the Narrative and support the project description provided in the application. They should help IMLS staff and reviewers envision your project, but they should not be used to answer narrative questions. You may wish to consider the following:

  • Letters of commitment from any third party that will receive grant funds or from entities that will contribute substantive funds to the completion of project activities;
  • Letters of commitment from partners or other groups who will work closely with you on your project;
  • Bibliography of references relevant to your proposed project design or evaluation strategy;
  • Letters of support from any experts and stakeholders;
  • Position descriptions for project staff (if not included with resumes for key personnel) to be supported by grant funds;
  • Reports from planning activities;
  • Contractor quotes;
  • Equipment specifications;
  • Products or evaluations from previously completed or ongoing projects of a similar nature;
  • Collections, technology, or other departmental plans for the institution as applicable to the proposed project;
  • Web links to relevant online materials; and
  • Needs assessments.

Note: When attaching these documents, give each one a specific title for clear identification. All Supporting Documents should include dates of creation and authorship.

3. What are the registration requirements for submitting an application?

Before submitting an application, your organization must have a current and active D-U-N-S® number (a unique entity identifier), System for Award Management (SAM.gov) registration, and Grants.gov registration. Check your materials and registrations well in advance of the application deadline to ensure that they are accurate, current, and active.

If your D-U-N-S® number and SAM.gov registration are not active and current at the time of submission, your application will be rejected; if they are not active and current at the time an award is made, we may determine that you are not qualified to receive an award and use that determination as a basis for making an award to another applicant.

a. What is a D-U-N-S® number and how do we get one?

A D-U-N-S® number is a unique nine-digit number assigned to all types of business organizations, including nonprofits and government entities. Click here to learn more about getting a D-U-N-S® number.

b. What is the System for Award Management (SAM.gov) and how do we register?

SAM.gov is the official U.S. government system that consolidated the capabilities of previous registration systems such as CCR/FedReg, ORCA, and EPLS. There is no fee to register with this site. Click here to learn more about SAM.gov registration.

c. What is Grants.gov and how do we register?

Grants.gov is the online portal through which you must submit your application.

You must submit your application through Grants.gov. Please note you must submit the entire completed application online through Grants.gov.

You must register with Grants.gov prior to submitting your application package. The multi-step registration process generally cannot be completed in a single day. If you are not already registered, you should allow at least two weeks for completing this one-time process. Do not wait until the day of the application deadline to register.

You do not need to complete the registration process to download the application package and begin to prepare your material. However, you will need your Grants.gov user ID and password that you obtain during the registration process to submit your application when it is complete.

Click here to learn more about Grants.gov registration and tips for using Grants.gov.

4. When and how must we submit our application?

You must submit your application through Grants.gov. Please note you must submit the entire completed application online through Grants.gov. Do not submit through email to IMLS.

For the National Leadership Grants for Museums program, Grants.gov will accept applications through 11:59 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time on December 1, 2016.

We strongly recommend that you obtain a D-U-N-S® number, register with SAM.gov and Grants.gov, and complete and submit the application early. We make grants only to eligible applicants that submit complete applications, including attachments, through Grants.gov, on or before the deadline, as indicated by the date stamp generated by Grants.gov.

Contact Grants.gov or call their help line at 1-800-518-4726 for assistance with hardware and software issues, registration issues, and technical problems. The help line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, except for federal holidays.

a. What happens after we submit our application through Grants.gov?

Once Grants.gov has received your submission, Grants.gov will send email messages regarding the progress of your application through the system. Over the next two business days, you should receive two emails. The first will confirm receipt of your application by the Grants.gov system and the second will indicate that the application has either been successfully validated by the system prior to transmission to the grantor agency (IMLS) or has been rejected due to errors. After the official grant program deadline, you will receive a third email confirming that IMLS has retrieved your application. Until that point, you can check the status of your application(s) after submission in Grants.gov, by using the “Track My Application” feature.

5. Is there an intergovernmental review?

No. This funding opportunity is not subject to intergovernmental review per Exec. Order No. 12,372.

6. Are there funding restrictions?

You may only use IMLS funds, and your cost sharing, for allowable costs as found in IMLS and OMB government-wide cost-principle rules. Please consult 2 C.F.R. pt. 200 and 2 C.F.R. pt. 3187 for additional guidance on allowable costs.

The following list includes some examples of generally allowable costs, both for IMLS funds and for cost share (if applicable), under this announcement:

  • personnel salaries, wages, and fringe benefits;
  • travel expenses for key project staff and consultants;
  • materials, supplies, software, and equipment related directly to project activities;
  • third-party costs;
  • publication design and printing;
  • training for staff and volunteers that impacts multiple museums; and
  • indirect or overhead costs.

You must explain all proposed expenses in your Budget Justification.

The following list includes some examples of generally unallowable costs, both for IMLS funds and for cost share (if applicable), under this announcement:

  • general fundraising costs, such as development office staff or other staff time devoted to general fundraising;
  • contributions to endowments;
  • general operating support;
  • acquisition of collections;
  • general advertising or public relations costs designed solely for promotional activities other than those related to the specific project;
  • construction expenses;
  • social activities, ceremonies, receptions, or entertainment; and
  • pre-award costs.

Contact IMLS staff if you have questions about the allowability of specific costs.

a. How do we include costs for third parties?

It is your responsibility to determine whether each agreement you make for the disbursement of federal program funds to third parties casts the party receiving the funds in the role of a subrecipient or a contractor. Familiar terms for third parties can include partners, consultants, subgrantees, collaborators, vendors, or service providers. (See 2 C.F.R. § 200.330 (Subrecipient and contractor determinations).) IMLS grant funds may not be provided to any federal agency serving as a third party.

b. What are our options for including indirect costs in our budget? 

You can choose to:

  • use a current indirect cost rate already negotiated with a federal agency;
  • use an indirect cost rate proposed to a federal agency for negotiation, but not yet finalized, as long as it is finalized by the time of award;
  • use a rate not to exceed 10% of total modified direct costs if you have never had a federally negotiated indirect cost rate and you are otherwise eligible; or
  • not include any indirect costs.

Click here for further information on indirect costs.

E. Application Review Process

1. What are the review criteria?

Reviewers are instructed to evaluate applications according to the review criteria embedded within the narrative instructions in Section D.2. Reviewers consider all required and conditionally required documents, and supporting documentation, as listed in Section D.2.

a. Is cost sharing considered in the review process? 

Cost sharing is an eligibility criterion and is not considered in the review of applications. Cost sharing requirements for this grant program are addressed in Section C.2.

2. What is the review and selection process?

We use a peer review process to evaluate all eligible and complete applications. Reviewers are professionals in the field with relevant knowledge and expertise in the types of project activities identified in the applications. We choose reviewers by matching their experience and expertise with the applications we receive. We instruct reviewers to evaluate applications according to the review criteria. Reviewer conflicts of interest are identified prior to review, and reviewers who may have conflicts with particular applications are reassigned to review other applications.

The Director takes into account the input provided by the review process and makes final funding decisions consistent with the purposes of the agency’s programs.

3. What is the designated integrity and performance system and how does IMLS comply with its requirements?

i. IMLS, prior to making a Federal award with a total amount of Federal share greater than the simplified acquisition threshold (currently $150,000), is required to review and consider any information about the applicant that is in the designated integrity and performance system (currently FAPIIS) accessible through SAM.gov (see 41 U.S.C. § 2313);

ii. An applicant, at its option, may review information in the designated integrity and performance systems accessible through SAM.gov and comment on any information about itself that a Federal awarding agency previously entered and is currently in the designated integrity and performance system accessible through SAM.gov;

iii. IMLS will consider any comments by the applicant, in addition to the other information in the designated integrity and performance system, 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 C.F.R. § 200.205 (Federal awarding agency review of risk posed by applicants).

4. When will we be notified of funding decisions?

We will not release information about the status of an application until the applications have been reviewed and all deliberations are concluded. We expect to notify both funded and unfunded applicants of the final decisions by September 2017.

F. Award Administration Information

1. How will we be notified of funding decisions?

We will notify both funded and unfunded applicants of funding decisions by email.

For applicants who receive awards, the award packet will be sent to the Project Director, Primary Contact/Grant Administrator, and Authorized Representative/Authorizing Official (as identified on the SF-424S). The award packet will contain the following:

  • cover letter;
  • Official Award Notification for Grants and Cooperative Agreements (the authorizing document for the award);
  • links to the General Terms and Conditions for IMLS Discretionary Grant and Cooperative Agreement Awards, reporting forms, and the Grantee Communications Kit; and
  • reviewer comments.

Your period of performance will be included on your Official Award Notification for Grants and Cooperative Agreements. The award period of performance begins on the first day of the month in which project activities start and ends on the last day of the month in which these activities are completed. Funded projects may not begin earlier than October 1, 2017, and not later than December 1, 2017.

For applicants who do not receive awards, the Project Director, Primary Contact/Grant Administrator, and Authorized Representative/Authorizing Official (as identified on the SF-424S) will receive the following:

  • cover letter; and
  • reviewer comments.

2. What are the administrative and national policy requirements?

Organizations that receive IMLS grants or cooperative agreements are subject to the IMLS General Terms and Conditions for IMLS Discretionary Grant and Cooperative Agreement Awards and the IMLS Assurances and Certifications. Organizations that receive IMLS funding must comply with these requirements and applicable law.

As an applicant for federal funds, you must certify that you are responsible for complying with certain nondiscrimination, debarment and suspension, drug-free workplace, and lobbying laws. These are set out in more detail, along with other requirements, in the Assurances and Certifications. By signing the application form, which includes the Assurances and Certifications, you certify that you are in compliance with these requirements and that you will maintain records and submit any reports that are necessary to ensure compliance. Your failure to comply with these statutory and regulatory requirements may result in the suspension or termination of your grant and require you to return funds to the government.

3. What are the reporting requirements?

At a minimum, you will be required to submit a performance report and financial report annually. Reports are due according to the reporting schedule that accompanies your Official Award Notification for Grants and Cooperative Agreements. Grantees must submit reports electronically using the IMLS performance and financial report forms. In support of the agency’s commitment to open government, interim and final performance reports may be made accessible on the IMLS website to engage the public in communities of practice and to inform application development and grant making strategies.

For details and forms, please see the Manage Your Award: Administration page on the IMLS website.

You must also comply with 2 C.F.R. §§ 180.335 and 180.350 with respect to providing information regarding all debarment, suspension, and related offenses information, as applicable.

G. Contacts

1. Who should we contact if we have questions?

Click here for IMLS staff contact information for this program. IMLS staff are available by phone and email to answer programmatic and administrative questions relating to this grant program.

2. How can we participate in a webinar for this IMLS funding opportunity?

Program staff host webinars to introduce potential applicants to funding opportunities. Click here for a schedule of webinars and instructions for accessing them from your computer.

H. Other Information

1. What do we need to know about acknowledging IMLS support?

Grantees must include an acknowledgement of IMLS support in all grant products, publications, websites, and presentations developed with IMLS funding. All work products should reference IMLS and include the associated grant award numbers. Click here for the Grantee Communications Kit, which provides guidance for fulfilling these requirements.

2. What should we do if we are including confidential or proprietary information in our application?

As noted in the section on what project documents might IMLS make openly available, we may share grant applications, work products, and reports with grantees, potential grantees, and the general public to further the mission of the agency and the development of museum, library, and information services. These materials may be disseminated broadly and made available in a variety of ways and formats.

For the above reasons, you should not include in your application any information that you consider to be confidential or proprietary. However, if you do decide to provide information that you consider confidential or proprietary, you must clearly identify it as such. IMLS will handle confidential and proprietary information in accordance with applicable law (e.g., Freedom of Information Act [FOIA] and Privacy Act).

3. What do we need to know about sharing and copyright of IMLS-supported work products and managing digital products?

Read more about sharing and copyright of IMLS-supported work products and management of digital products (including research data and other digital content) produced with IMLS support.

4. What conflict of interest requirements must we follow?

As a non-federal entity, you must follow IMLS conflict of interest policies for federal awards. Click here for more information about IMLS conflict of interest requirements

5. Where else can we find additional information about IMLS?

You may also wish to check the IMLS website for information on IMLS and IMLS activities.

6. Is IMLS obligated to make an award as a result of this announcement?

IMLS is not obligated to make any Federal award as a result of this announcement.

7. How can I become a peer reviewer?

If you are interested in serving as a peer reviewer, you may enter your contact information, identify your experience and expertise, and upload your resume through our online reviewer application at www.imls.gov/grants/become-reviewer. We choose reviewers by matching their experience and expertise with the applications we receive. If you are selected as a reviewer, we will notify you by email prior to the next deadline to confirm your availability.

8. How long should it take us to complete an application?

Complete applications include the elements listed in the Table of Application Components in Section D. We estimate the average amount of time needed for one applicant to complete the narrative portion of this application to be 40 hours. This includes the time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and writing and reviewing the answers.

We estimate that it will take you an average of 15 minutes per response for the IMLS Program Information Sheet and three hours per response for the IMLS Budget Form. We estimate that it will take you an average of 60 minutes per response for the Digital Product Form.

Send comments regarding this burden estimate or any other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden, to the Institute of Museum and Library Services at 955 L’Enfant Plaza North, SW, Suite 4000, Washington, DC, 20024-2135, and to the Office of Management and Budget, Paperwork Reduction Project (3137-0094), Washington, DC, 20503.

9. IMLS Clearance Number:

IMLS-CLR-D-0024, Expiration date: 07/31/2018

10. PRA Clearance Number:

OMB Control #: 3137-0094, Expiration date: 07/31/2018

Links

IMLS Assurances and Certifications

As a Federal agency, IMLS is required to obtain from all applicants certifications, including those regarding Nondiscrimination, Debarment and Suspension, Federal Debt Status, and Drug-Free Workplace. Applicants requesting more than $100,000 in grant funds must also certify regarding lobbying activities and may be required to submit a “Disclosure of Lobbying Activities” form (Standard Form LLL). Some applicants will be required to certify that they will comply with other federal statutes that pertain to their particular situation. These requirements are incorporated in the Assurances Statement below. The authorized representative must review the statement and provide the certification in item 9 on the Application for Federal Domestic Assistance/Short Organizational Form (SF-424S).

Assurances Statement

By signing the application form, the authorized representative, on behalf of the applicant, assures and certifies that, should a grant be awarded, the applicant will comply with the statutes outlined below and all related IMLS regulations (for example, see 2 C.F.R. ch. XXXI and 45 C.F.R. ch. XI). These assurances are given in connection with any and all financial assistance from IMLS after the date this form is signed, but may include payments after this date for financial assistance approved prior to this date. These assurances shall obligate the applicant for the period during which the federal financial assistance is extended. The applicant recognizes and agrees that any such assistance will be extended in reliance on the representations and agreements made in these assurances, and that the United States Government has the right to seek judicial enforcement of these assurances, which are binding on the applicant, its successors, transferees, and assignees, and on the authorized representative whose signature appears on the application form.

Certifications Required of All Applicants:

Financial, Administrative, and Legal Accountability

The authorized representative, on behalf of the applicant, certifies that the applicant has legal authority to apply for federal assistance and the institutional, managerial, and financial capability (including funds sufficient to pay the non-federal share of project costs) to ensure proper planning, management, reporting, recordkeeping, and completion of the project described in this application.

The authorized representative, on behalf of the applicant, certifies that the applicant will cause to be performed the required financial and compliance audits in accordance with applicable law.

The authorized representative, on behalf of the applicant, certifies that the applicant will comply with the provisions of applicable OMB Circulars and regulations.

Nondiscrimination

The authorized representative, on behalf of the applicant, certifies that the applicant will comply with the following nondiscrimination statutes and their implementing regulations:

  • Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended (42 U.S.C. § 2000 et seq.), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin (note: as clarified by Exec. Order No. 13,166, the applicant must take reasonable steps to ensure that limited English proficient (LEP) persons have meaningful access to the applicant’s programs (see IMLS guidance at 68 Federal Register 17679, April 10, 2003));

  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (29 U.S.C. § 701 et seq., including § 794), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability (note: IMLS applies the regulations in 45 C.F.R. pt. 1170 in determining compliance with section 504 as it applies to recipients of federal assistance);

  • Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, as amended (20 U.S.C. §§ 1681–1683, §§ 1685–1686), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs;

  • the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1975, as amended (42 U.S.C. § 6101 et seq.), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of age; and

  • the requirements of any other nondiscrimination statute(s) which may apply to the application.

Debarment and Suspension

The applicant shall comply with 2 C.F.R. pt. 3185 and 2 C.F.R. pt. 180, as applicable. The authorized representative, on behalf of the applicant, certifies to the best of his or her knowledge and belief that neither the applicant nor any of its principals:

  • are presently excluded or disqualified;

  • have been convicted within the preceding three years of any of the offenses listed in 2 C.F.R. § 180.800(a) or had a civil judgment rendered against it or them for one of those offenses within that time period;

  • are presently indicted for or otherwise criminally or civilly charged by a governmental entity (federal, state, or local) with commission of any of the offenses listed in 2 C.F.R. § 180.800(a); or

  • have had one or more public transactions (federal, state, or local) terminated within the preceding three years for cause or default.

Where the applicant is unable to certify to any of the statements in this certification, he or she shall attach an explanation to this application.

The applicant, as a primary tier participant, is required to comply with 2 C.F.R. pt. 180 subpart C (Responsibilities of Participants Regarding Transactions Doing Business with Other Persons) as a condition of participation in the award. The applicant is also required to communicate the requirement to comply with 2 C.F.R. pt. 180 subpart C (Responsibilities of Participants Regarding Transactions Doing Business with Other Persons) to persons at the next lower tier with whom the applicant enters into covered transactions.

As noted in the preceding paragraph, applicants who plan to use IMLS awards to fund contracts should be aware that they must comply with the communication and verification requirements set forth in the above Debarment and Suspension provisions.

Federal Debt Status

The authorized representative, on behalf of the applicant, certifies to the best of his or her knowledge and belief that the applicant is not delinquent in the repayment of any federal debt.

Drug-Free Workplace

The authorized representative, on behalf of the applicant, certifies, as a condition of the award, that the applicant will or will continue to provide a drug-free workplace by complying with the requirements in 2 C.F.R. pt. 3186 (Requirements for Drug-Free Workplace (Financial Assistance)). In particular, you as the recipient must comply with drug-free workplace requirements in subpart B (or subpart C, if the recipient is an individual) of 2 C.F.R. pt. 3186, which adopts the Governmentwide implementation (2 C.F.R. pt. 182) of sec. 5152-5158 of the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 (Pub. L. 100-690, Title V, Subtitle D; 41 U.S.C. §§ 701–707).

This includes, but is not limited to: making a good faith effort, on a continuing basis, to maintain a drug-free workplace; publishing a drug-free workplace statement; establishing a drug-free awareness program for your employees; taking actions concerning employees who are convicted of violating drug statutes in the workplace; and identifying (either at the time of application or upon award, or in documents you keep on file in your offices) all known workplaces under your federal awards.

Trafficking in Persons

The authorized representative, on behalf of the applicant, certifies, as a condition of the award, that the applicant will comply with the trafficking in persons requirements that are set out in the General Terms and Conditions for IMLS Discretionary Awards (2 C.F.R. 175.15 Award Term.).

Certification Regarding Lobbying Activities (Applies to Applicants Requesting Funds in Excess of $100,000) (31 U.S.C. § 1352)

The authorized representative certifies, to the best of his or her knowledge and belief, that:

(a) No federal appropriated funds have been paid or will be paid, by or on behalf of the authorized representative, to any person for influencing or attempting to influence an officer or employee of an agency, a Member of Congress, an officer or employee of Congress, or an employee of a Member of Congress in connection with the awarding of any federal contract, the making of any federal grant, the making of any federal loan, the entering into of any cooperative agreement, and the extension, continuation, renewal, amendment, or modification of any federal contract, grant, loan, or cooperative agreement.

(b) If any funds other than federal appropriated funds have been paid or will be paid to any person (other than a regularly employed officer or employee of the applicant, as provided in 31 U.S.C. § 1352) 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 federal contract, grant, loan, or cooperative agreement, the authorized representative shall complete and submit Standard Form LLL, “Disclosure of Lobbying Activities,” in accordance with its instructions.

(c) The authorized representative shall require that the language of this certification be included in the award documents for all subawards at all tiers (including subcontracts and contracts under grants, loans, and cooperative agreements) and that all subrecipients shall certify and disclose accordingly.

This certification is a material representation of fact upon which reliance is placed when the transaction is made or entered into. Submission of this certification is a prerequisite for making or entering into the transaction imposed by section 1352, title 31, U.S. Code. Any person who fails to file the required certification shall be subject to a civil penalty of not less than $10,000 and not more than $100,000 for each such failure.

General Certification

The authorized representative, on behalf of the applicant, certifies that the applicant will comply with all applicable requirements of all other federal laws, executive orders, regulations, and policies governing the program.

Certifications Required of Some Applicants:

The following certifications are required if applicable to the project for which an application is being submitted. Applicants should be aware that additional federal certifications, not listed below, might apply to a particular project.

Subawards

Under IMLS regulations at 2 C.F.R. § 3187.14, a recipient may not make a subaward unless expressly authorized by IMLS. A recipient may contract for supplies, equipment, and services, subject to applicable law, including but not limited to applicable Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards set forth in 2 C.F.R. pt. 200.

Native American Human Remains and Associated Funerary Objects

The authorized representative, on behalf of the applicant, certifies that the applicant will comply with the provisions of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990 (25 U.S.C. § 3001 et seq.), which applies to any organization that controls or possesses Native American human remains and associated funerary objects, and which receives federal funding, even for a purpose unrelated to the Act.

Historic Properties

The authorized representative, on behalf of the applicant, certifies that the applicant will assist the awarding agency in ensuring compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended (16 U.S.C. § 470f), Exec. Order No. 11,593, and the Archaeological and Historic Preservation Act of 1974 (16 U.S.C. § 469 et seq.).

Environmental Protections

The authorized representative, on behalf of the applicant, certifies that the project will comply with environmental standards, including the following:

(a) institution of environmental quality control measures under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (42 U.S.C. § 4321 et seq.) and Exec. Order No. 11,514;

(b) notification of violating facilities pursuant to Exec. Order No. 11,738;

(c) protection of wetlands pursuant to Exec. Order No. 11,990, as amended by Exec. Order No. 12,608;

(d) evaluation of flood hazards in floodplains in accordance with Exec. Order No. 11,988, as amended;

(e) assurance of project consistency with the approved state management program developed under the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, as amended (16 U.S.C. § 1451 et seq.);

(f) conformity of federal actions to State (Clean Air) Implementation Plans under section 176(c) of the Clean Air Act of 1955, as amended (42 U.S.C. § 7401 et seq.);

(g) protection of underground sources of drinking water under the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974, as amended (42 U.S.C. § 300f et seq.); and

(h) protection of endangered species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. § 1531–1543).

The authorized representative, on behalf of the applicant, certifies that the project will comply with the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968, as amended (16 U.S.C. § 1271 et seq.), related to protecting components or potential components of the national wild and scenic rivers system.

The authorized representative, on behalf of the applicant, certifies that the applicant will comply with the flood insurance purchase requirements of the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973, as amended (42 U.S.C. § 4001 et seq.), which requires recipients in a special flood hazard area to participate in the program and to purchase flood insurance if the total cost of insurable construction and acquisition is $10,000 or more.

Research on Human Subjects

The authorized representative, on behalf of the applicant, certifies that the project will comply with 45 C.F.R. pt. 46 regarding the protection of human subjects involved in research, development, and related activities supported by this award of assistance.

Research on Animal Subjects

The authorized representative, on behalf of the applicant, certifies that the project will comply with the Laboratory Animal Welfare Act of 1966, as amended (7 U.S.C. § 2131 et seq.) pertaining to the care, handling, and treatment of warm-blooded animals held for research, teaching, or other activities supported by this award of assistance.

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For further information on these certifications, contact IMLS, 955 L’Enfant Plaza North, SW, Suite 4000, Washington, DC, 20024-2135. Or call 202/653-IMLS (4657).

Getting a D-U-N-S® Number

All non-federal entities are required to have a Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (D-U-N-S®) number (a unique entity identifier) in order to apply for, receive, and report on a federal award.

You should verify that your organization has a D-U-N-S® number. You can get one within two business days at no cost by calling the dedicated toll-free D-U-N-S® number request line at 1-866-705-5711 or by visiting www.dnb.com/get-a-duns-number/html.

Registering for SAM.gov

The System for Award Management (SAM.gov) is a federal repository that centralizes information about grant applicants and recipients. You must be registered with SAM.gov before you register with Grants.gov. Click here to find information about registering with SAM.gov.

We recommend that you allow at least two weeks to complete your SAM.gov registration. You must renew your registration in SAM.gov at least every 12 months—and sooner, if your information changes. An expired registration will prevent you from submitting applications via Grants.gov and receiving awards or payments. Grant payments will be made to the bank account that is associated with your SAM.gov registration.

Registering for Grants.gov

You must register with Grants.gov before submitting your application to IMLS. Click here to learn more about the multistep registration process. Make sure your D-U-N-S® number and SAM.gov registration are accurate, current, and active. We recommend that you allow at least two weeks to complete your Grants.gov registration.

Tips for Working with Grants.gov

  • Start early! Click here to learn more about Grants.gov resources, which include checklists, FAQs, and online tutorials to assist you in preparing your organization to submit applications.

  • Designate more than one Authorized Organization Representative (AOR) when you register in Grants.gov. This will help avoid last-minute crises in the event that your one AOR is unavailable when you are ready to submit your application.

  • Update the contact information and password in Grants.gov when the AOR at your organization changes.

  • Grants.gov offers online support regarding Adobe® software and browser compatibility. Contact the Grants.gov help line (1-800-518-4726) for assistance with hardware and software issues, registration issues, and technical problems. The help line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, except for federal holidays.

How to Fill Out the SF-424S

The SF-424S is the “Application for Federal Domestic Assistance/Short Organizational Form” on Grants.gov.

Items 1 through 4

These items are automatically filled in by Grants.gov.

Item 5. Applicant Information

a. Legal Name: Enter your organization’s legal name as it appears in your SAM.gov registration. This is the organization with the authority to apply directly for funding in this program. If you have an organizational unit that will be carrying out the project, be sure that it is specified as the organizational unit on the Program Information Sheet.

b. Address: Enter your legal applicant’s address as it appears in your SAM.gov registration.

c. Web Address: Enter your web address.

d. Type of Applicant: Select the code that best characterizes your organization from the menu in the first dropdown box. Leave the other boxes blank.

e. Employer/Taxpayer Identification Number (EIN/TIN): Enter the EIN or TIN assigned to your organization by the Internal Revenue Service.

 f. Organizational DUNS: Enter your organization’s D-U-N-S® number received from Dun and Bradstreet.

g. Congressional District: Enter your organization’s congressional district. Use the following format: two-letter state abbreviation, followed by a hyphen, followed by a zero, followed by the two-digit district number. For example, if the organization is located in the 5th Congressional District of California, enter “CA-005.” For the 12th Congressional District of North Carolina, enter “NC-012.” For states and territories with “At Large” Congressional Districts—that is, one representative or delegate represents the entire state or territory—use “001,” e.g., “VT-001.”

If your organization does not have a congressional district (e.g., it is located in a U.S. territory that does not have districts), enter “00-000.” To determine your organization’s district, visit the House of Representatives website by clicking here and use the “Find Your Representative” tool.

Item 6. Project Information

a. Project Title: Enter a brief descriptive title for your project. IMLS may use this title for public information purposes.

b. Project Description: Enter a brief description (about 120 words) of your specific project. Tell us what your project will do, for whom or what, and why. Use clear language that can be understood readily by readers who might not be familiar with the discipline or subject area.

Note: There is a character limit (including spaces) for this section in Grants.gov. Your application may be rejected if you exceed this limit.

c. Proposed Project Start Date/End Date: Enter the start date and end date of the proposed period of performance in the format mm/dd/yyyy. The project period begins on the first day of the month in which project activities start and ends on the last day of the month in which these activities are completed. Refer to Section B of this Notice of Funding Opportunity to determine when your project can begin.

Item 7. Project Director

Enter the requested information for the person who will have primary responsibility for carrying out your project’s activities. Be sure to select a prefix.

IMLS requires that the Project Director be a different person than the Authorized Representative.

Item 8. Primary Contact/Grants Administrator

Enter the requested information for the individual who has primary responsibility for administering the award. If the Primary Contact/Grants Administrator is the same as the Authorized Representative, please complete both Items 8 and 9.

In some organizations this individual may be the same as the Project Director. If this is the case, check the box and skip to Item 9.

Item 9. Authorized Representative

Enter the requested information of the person who has the authority to enter into legal agreements in the name of your organization. The Authorized Representative cannot be the same person as the Project Director. By checking the “I Agree” box at the top of Item 9, this individual certifies the applicant’s compliance with the IMLS Assurances and Certifications and any other relevant federal requirements. IMLS will address written correspondence to the Authorized Representative whose information you enter in Item 9.

The “Signature of Authorized Representative” and “Date Signed” boxes will be automatically populated by Grants.gov upon submission of the application. This will be the person whose name was listed as your organization’s authorized representative when you registered with Grants.gov. Please note that this name might not be the same as the name and other information you entered in Item 9 above; however, the person whose name appears in the “Signature of Authorized Representative” box must have authorization from your organization to submit this application on behalf of your organization.

Submission of the electronic application acknowledges that your organization certifies compliance with relevant federal requirements, including but not limited to the IMLS Assurances and Certifications, to the same extent as the signature does on a paper application.

Performance Measure Statements and Information to be Collected and Reported for Learning and Community Projects

On the Program Information Sheet, you selected an IMLS agency-level goal of Learning or Community with which your project best aligns, and you selected at least one performance goal that reflects a measurable change or outcome that you intend for your project to achieve.

Below is a list of pre-determined performance measure statements that will help IMLS document the collective achievements of the Learning and Community projects we fund.

IMPORTANT: You will be required to provide specific information directly relating to these performance measure statement(s) in your Final Performance Report. You may design and administer a more elaborate survey than what will be required to gather this specific information. These information-gathering activities must be incorporated into your application narrative, your work plan, your schedule of completion, and your budget, as necessary.

IMLS Agency-Level Goal 1: Learning

Performance Goal

Performance Measure Statement

Information You Will Be Expected to Report

 

Survey Respondent: Program/Project Participants

Data to be Collected

Train and develop museum and library professionals.

My understanding has increased as a result of this program/training:

Strongly Agree
Agree
Neither Agree, nor Disagree
Disagree
Strongly Disagree

 

  • Number of participants
  • Number of total responses
  • Number of responses per answer option
  • Number of non-responses

My interest in this subject has increased as a result of this program/training:

Strongly Agree
Agree
Neither Agree, nor Disagree
Disagree
Strongly Disagree

  • Number of participants
  • Number of total responses
  • Number of responses per answer option
  • Number of non-responses

I am confident I can apply what I learned in this program/training:

Strongly Agree
Agree
Neither Agree, Nor Disagree
Disagree
Strongly Disagree

  • Number of participants
  • Number of total responses
  • Number of responses per answer option
  • Number of non-responses

Support communities of practice

 

My understanding has increased as a result of this program/training:

Strongly Agree
Agree
Neither Agree, Nor Disagree
Disagree
Strongly Disagree

 

  • Number of participants
  • Number of total responses
  • Number of responses per answer option
  • Number of non-responses

My interest in this subject has increased as a result of this program/training:

Strongly Agree
Agree
Neither Agree, Nor Disagree
Disagree
Strongly Disagree

 

  • Number of participants
  • Number of total responses
  • Number of responses per answer option
  • Number of non-responses

I am confident I can apply what I learned in this program/training:

Strongly Agree
Agree
Neither Agree, Nor Disagree
Disagree
Strongly Disagree

 

  • Number of participants
  • Number of total responses
  • Number of responses per answer option
  • Number of non-responses

Develop and provide inclusive and accessible learning opportunities

My understanding has increased as a result of this program/training:

Strongly Agree
Agree
Neither Agree, Nor Disagree
Disagree
Strongly Disagree

 

  • Number of participants
  • Number of total responses
  • Number of responses per answer option
  • Number of non-responses

My interest in this subject has increased as a result of this program/training:

Strongly Agree
Agree
Neither Agree, Nor Disagree
Disagree
Strongly Disagree

 

  • Number of participants
  • Number of total responses
  • Number of responses per answer option
  • Number of non-responses

IMLS Agency-Level Goal 2: Community

Performance Goal

Performance Measure Statement

Outcome Based

Information to be Collected and Reported

 

Survey Respondent: Grantee

Data to be Collected

Strengthen museums and libraries as essential partners in addressing the needs of their communities.

My organization is better prepared to provide a program or service that addresses community needs.

Strongly Agree
Agree
Neither Agree, Nor Disagree
Disagree
Strongly Disagree

 

  • Number of total responses
  • Number of responses per answer option
  • Number of non-responses

 

My organization is better able to engage my community.

Strongly Agree
Agree
Neither Agree, nor Disagree
Disagree
Strongly Disagree

  • Number of total responses
  • Number of responses per answer option
  • Number of non-responses

 

My organization is better prepared to develop and maintain on-going relationships with community partners.

Strongly Agree
Agree
Neither Agree, nor Disagree
Disagree
Strongly Disagree

 

  • Number of total responses
  • Number of responses per answer option
  • Number of non-responses

 

My organization is better prepared to share knowledge and other resources as an active contributor to problem solving in the community.

Strongly Agree
Agree
Neither Agree, nor Disagree
Disagree
Strongly Disagree

 

  • Number of total responses
  • Number of responses per answer option
  • Number of non-responses

 

Survey Respondent: Community Partner(s)

Data to be Collected

 

The museum or library offers programs, services, or resources that address community needs.

Strongly Agree
Agree
Neither Agree, nor Disagree
Disagree
Strongly Disagree

 

  • Number of total responses
  • Number of responses per answer option
  • Number of non-responses

 

The museum or library is an active contributor to problem solving in the community.

Strongly Agree
Agree
Neither Agree, nor Disagree
Disagree
Strongly Disagree

 

  • Number of total responses
  • Number of responses per answer option
  • Number of non-responses

Organizational Profile

An Organizational Profile must be no more than one page and include the following information:

  • Your organization’s mission or statement of purpose, noting the source, approving body, and date of the official document in which it appears.

  • Your service area (communities and/or audiences served, including size, demographic characteristics, and geographic area).

  • A brief history of your organization, focusing on the unit that will be directly involved in carrying out the work.

Schedule of Completion

The Schedule of Completion should reflect each major activity identified in your application narrative and the project dates identified on the Application for Federal Domestic Assistance/Short Organizational Form (SF-424S) and IMLS Budget Form. It should show when each major project activity will start and end. The schedule should be no longer than one page per project year. See the sample schedule of completion below.

Schedule of Completion sample

How to Fill Out the IMLS Budget Form

Download the IMLS Budget Form (PDF, 110 KB).

The IMLS Budget Form accommodates up to three years of project activities and expenses. Project timelines, allowable costs, and other budget details vary by program. Be sure to review the Notice of Funding Opportunity for the grant program/category to which you are applying and the cost principles in 2 C.F.R. pt. 200 and 2 C.F.R. pt. 3187.

The Year 1 columns should include costs for activities that begin on the project start date (as listed on 6c of the SF-424S) and end 12 months later. If the project timeline exceeds one year, list the costs for the next 12 months in the Year 2 columns. If the project extends beyond two years, list the costs for the next 12 months in the Year 3 columns. If the program/category to which you are applying permits a fourth year as part of the budget, enter Year 4 budget details on a second copy of the IMLS Budget Form.

The budget should include the project costs that will be charged to grant funds as well as those that will be supported by cost sharing. In-kind contributions to cost sharing may include the value of services (e.g., donated volunteer or consultant time) or equipment donated to the project between the authorized start and end dates of your project. All the items listed, whether supported by grant funds or cost share, must be necessary to accomplish project objectives, allowable according to the applicable federal cost principles, auditable, and incurred during the award period of performance. Charges to the project for items such as salaries, fringe benefits, travel, and contractual services must conform to the written policies and established practices of your organization. You must report all revenues generated with project funds during the award period of performance as program income.

If you need more lines for a specific section, summarize the information in the IMLS Budget Form and explain it further in the Budget Justification.

1. Salaries and Wages: Include both temporary and permanent staff as well as volunteers engaged in project activities. Document the method of cost computation (e.g., as percentage of a person’s time devoted to the project, number of days, number of hours) in your Budget Justification.

2. Fringe Benefits: Limit direct cost fringe benefits to those not included in your indirect cost pool. Fringe benefits may be claimed only on the portion of Salaries and Wages identified for this project.

3. Travel: Explain the method of cost computation for each travel cost, including subsistence and transportation, in your Budget Justification.

You must use the lowest available commercial fares for coach or equivalent accommodations, and you must use U.S. flagged air carriers for foreign travel when such services are available, in accordance with applicable U.S. legal requirements.

Please refer to the narrative section of this Notice of Funding Opportunity for information about special travel requirements, if any.

4. Supplies, Materials, and Equipment: List the costs of supplies, materials, and equipment purchased specifically for the proposed project. For definitions and other information, please see 2 C.F.R. pt. 200. Use the Budget Justification to explain or describe these items in further detail.

5. Contracts and Subawards: List each third party that will undertake project activities and their associated costs as an individual line item on your budget form. Designate each third party as either a contract or subaward.

To explain or describe these items in further detail, you may either

  • itemize these third-party costs in your Budget Justification or

  • include a separate IMLS Budget Form as a supporting document and refer to it in the Budget Justification, for more complex projects.

6. Student Support: If your project includes student support costs, enter them in this section. Please click here for a definition and examples of student support.

7. Other Costs: Use this section for costs that cannot be assigned to other categories. Please do not use this section to list items that do not fit in the lines allotted for another section.

8. Total Direct Costs: These amounts will total automatically.

9. Indirect Costs: Indirect costs are expenses that are incurred for common or joint objectives that cannot be easily identified with a particular project. Click here for more information about indirect costs.

10. Total Project Costs: These amounts will total automatically.

Cost Share

Cost share is that portion of the project costs that is not paid by IMLS funds. Common examples of cost share include cash outlays; contribution of property and services; and in-kind contributions, such as staff or volunteer time that support project activities.

All expenses, including cost sharing, must be incurred during the award period of performance unless otherwise specified and allowed by law. Federal funds from other federal awards may not be used for cost sharing. All federal, IMLS, and program requirements regarding the use of funds apply to both requested IMLS funds and to cost sharing. See 2 C.F.R. §§ 200.29 and 200.306 for more information on cost share.
 

How to Write Your Budget Justification

Write a budget justification and save it as a PDF. Your Budget Justification should address both grant funds and cost share and align with your IMLS Budget Form. It should identify the purpose for each expense and show the method of cost computation used to determine each dollar amount, including any that you may have consolidated and summarized on the budget form. Follow the format of the IMLS Budget Form’s section headings.

1. Salaries and Wages

Identify each person whose salary or wages will be paid with IMLS funds or by cost share, provide their names, describe their role in the project, the percent of time to be devoted to the project, and their rate of pay. If cost share is being provided by unpaid volunteers, explain how you arrived at the dollar amount used to represent the value of their services.

If you are requesting IMLS funding for salaries of permanent staff, explain the reason for the request and how the regular duties of these individuals will be performed during the award period of performance.

2. Fringe Benefits

Identify your institution’s fringe benefit rate and explain the base for the calculation for each person. If you have consolidated several persons’ fringe benefits into a single line on the IMLS Budget Form, break out the detail here.

3. Travel

For each trip, explain the purpose of the trip and specify the points of origin and destination, the name of the traveler, and break out the costs of transportation, lodging, per diem, and any other expenses associated with the travel. Explain how you arrived at the dollar amount.

4. Supplies, Materials, and Equipment

List each type of supply, material, and equipment you propose to purchase or provide as cost share for the project. Detail the number and unit cost for each item, and explain how you arrived at the dollar amounts. Provide vendor quotes or price lists as supporting documents with your application.

5. Contracts and Subawards

List the costs of project activities to be undertaken by third parties for the project. Familiar terms for third parties can include partners, consultants, subgrantees, collaborators, vendors, or service providers. Identify each third party by name, describe their role in the project, the activities they will carry out, and the cost. For each entry, designate the third party as either a subrecipient or a contractor. Explain costs for third parties and provide relevant supporting documents with your application. IMLS grant funds may generally not be provided to other U.S. government agencies.

You are responsible for making a case-by-case determination as to whether the agreement you make with a third party should be a contract or a subaward. That determination will depend upon the nature of your relationship with the third party with respect to the activities to be carried out. (See 2 C.F.R. § 200.330 (Subrecipient and contractor determinations).)

6. Student Support

Explain your method for calculating the costs listed in this section. Please click here for a definition and examples of student support.

7. Other Costs

Use this section for costs that cannot be assigned to other categories.

8. Total Direct Costs

Indicate the total direct costs, and specify how much you are asking from IMLS and how much you intend to provide as cost share.

9. Indirect Costs

If you include indirect costs in your project budget, identify the rate(s) and explain the base(s) on which you are calculating the costs. Click here for more information about indirect costs.

10. Total Project Costs

Indicate the total project costs here, and specify how much you are asking from IMLS and how much you intend to provide as cost share.

Indirect Costs

What are indirect costs?

Indirect costs are expenses that are incurred for common or joint objectives that cannot be easily identified with a particular project. Some examples include utilities, general insurance, use of office space and equipment that you own, local telephone service, and the salaries of the management and administrative personnel of the organization. See 2 C.F.R. pt. 200 for additional guidance.

What are our options for calculating and including indirect costs in our project budget?

You can choose to:

  • Use a rate not to exceed your current indirect cost rate already negotiated with a federal agency;

  • Use an indirect cost rate proposed to a federal agency but not yet finalized;

  • Use a rate not to exceed 10% of modified total direct costs if you have never had a federally negotiated indirect cost rate and you are not subject to other requirements (e.g., for states and local governments and Indian tribes); or

  • Not include any indirect costs.

What is a federally negotiated indirect cost rate, and how do we use one?

Federally negotiated indirect cost rates are negotiated agreements between federal agencies and non-profit organizations. If your organization already has an existing negotiated indirect cost rate in effect with another federal agency, you may use this rate to calculate total project costs, as long as you apply the rate in accordance with the terms of the negotiated agreement and include a copy of the current negotiated agreement with your grant application. You may also choose to use a rate lower than your current federally negotiated indirect cost rate. We will only accept federally negotiated indirect cost rates that are current by the award date.

What if we use an indirect cost rate that we proposed to a federal agency but is not yet finalized?

If your organization is in the process of negotiating an indirect cost rate with a federal agency, you may use the indirect cost rate that was proposed to the federal agency to estimate total project costs. In such situations, if we award a grant, we will accept the rate only if the negotiations are final by the award date and a copy of the final agreement is submitted to us. IMLS staff will work with you to adjust your budget prior to awarding the grant.

How do we use the 10% indirect cost rate?

Except for those non-federal entities described in Appendix VII to 2 C.F.R. pt. 200, you may choose to charge a rate not to exceed 10% of modified total direct costs (MTDC), as long you have never had a federally negotiated indirect cost rate and you meet the applicable requirements. See 2 C.F.R. § 200.414 for additional guidance.

Modified total direct costs are direct salaries and wages, applicable fringe benefits, materials and supplies, services, travel, and up to the first $25,000 of each subaward. MTDC excludes several cost categories, including equipment, rental costs, tuition remission, scholarships and fellowships, participant support costs, and the portion of each subaward in excess of $25,000. See 2 C.F.R. § 200.68 for additional information.

If you are using the 10% indirect cost rate, no additional documentation is required.

Can we apply our indirect cost rate to the cost share portion on our IMLS budget form?

Yes. You may apply your indirect cost rate to the cost share portion of your total direct costs, but you must count it as cost share (in the Cost Share column). IMLS funds can be used for indirect costs, but only for the portion of the total direct costs for which you are requesting IMLS funds (the Grant Funds column).

Are there any other project costs that cannot be included in our indirect cost calculations?

If you have a federally negotiated indirect cost rate agreement, you must follow its conditions and requirements.

If you are eligible for and using a rate not to exceed 10%, you may include up to 10% of the modified total direct costs (MTDC) in your indirect cost calculations. (Please see above section on this 10% rate as well as 2 C.F.R. § 200.414(f) and § 200.68.)

Student Support Costs

Students are understood to be:

  • Students enrolled in a graduate or undergraduate program of study.

  • Individuals participating in post-master’s or post-doctoral programs which are focused on supporting their career or professional development.

  • Library, archive, and museum staff participating in education and training activities focused on their career or professional development.

Examples of student support include:

  • Tuition support for students participating in the project.

  • Salaries or stipends for graduate assistant work, so long as their work is focused on research and teaching activities (therefore contributing to their education).

  • Pay and benefits for a resident or fellow to work in a position that is intended to support their learning outcomes or professional development.

  • Costs for travel and conference registration provided to support a student or participant’s learning outcomes or professional development.

  • Costs of supplies and equipment provided to students to support a student’s learning outcomes or professional development.

Activities not considered student support include:

  • Students employed in roles that are primarily administrative or clerical, doing work that is not primarily focused on their career or professional development. These costs should be listed in the Salaries and Wages section of the budget, and tuition paid on behalf of these students would not be considered student support.

Proof of Nonprofit Status

If your organization is a private, nonprofit institution, you must submit a copy of the IRS letter indicating your eligibility for nonprofit status under the applicable provision of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, as amended. We will not accept a letter of state sales tax exemption as proof of nonprofit status.

Guidance for Projects that Develop Digital Products

What are digital products?

IMLS broadly defines digital products as any digital content, resources, assets, software, or datasets that you may create, collect, or develop during the course of your project.

What are the IMLS requirements for projects that create, collect, or develop digital products?

IMLS is committed to expanding public access to federally funded research, data, and other digital products. The assets you create with IMLS funding require careful stewardship to protect and enhance their value, and they should be freely and readily available for use and re-use by libraries, archives, museums, and the public. However, applying these principles to the development and management of digital products is not always straightforward. We ask that you answer questions that address specific aspects of creating and managing digital products in the Digital Product Form. Download the Digital Product Form (PDF, 476 KB; Word, 26 KB) here.

Additionally, IMLS participates in the Federal Agencies Digitization Guidelines Initiative (FADGI), a collaborative effort by federal agencies to define common standards, guidelines, methods, and best practices for creating digital collections. The FADGI website includes a growing list of links to relevant standards, recommendations, and other resources. While this list is not exhaustive—nor do we endorse any specific resource—applicants considering digital projects may find the information useful. Click here to access the FADGI website.

Guidance for Research Applications

Please note that research and information collection is subject to applicable law, including but not limited to 45 C.F.R. pt. 46 (Protection of Human Subjects); see also the IMLS Assurances and Certifications.

An effective research application should answer the following questions in the project narrative:

What are the specific research questions our project will attempt to answer?

List the question or questions that will drive your proposed activities. Research questions should be clear and concise to help reviewers understand what you wish to learn.

What is our theoretical framing?

What are the concepts, assumptions, expectations, beliefs, and/or theories that support and inform your research and guide your approach to data collection and analysis? If you are proposing to conduct research that will build theory, explain why.

What is the relevance of our proposed research for current practice?

Discuss how your proposed work builds on existing projects or efforts, including those funded by IMLS. Provide information about how your research can lead to improved museum or library practice and demonstrates you are familiar with current scholarship, including empirical work, in your area of interest.

What research methods will we use to conduct the research?

Detail the methods you will use to collect and analyze data. Say why they are the most appropriate for addressing the question(s) at hand. Your methods must be replicable and based on current practices.

What type of data will we gather?

Describe the type of data you will collect and any measures you will take to ensure its validity and reliability. Detail the methods for collecting information along with any potential privacy or human subjects concerns that may arise. List potential challenges in gathering data and explain how you will address them. As noted above, research and information collection is subject to applicable law, including but not limited to privacy requirements and 45 C.F.R. pt. 46 (Protection of Human Subjects), see also the IMLS Assurances and Certifications.

How will we analyze and use the data?

Describe how you will analyze the results of your research and relate them to your research questions. If applicable, outline an analysis plan that links a set of testable hypotheses to the proposed research question(s). Identify the variables of interest that are key to the investigation, and explain how you will deal with alternative explanations for the observed phenomena.

How will we report the information?

Address how you will communicate the results to a variety of target audiences with different levels of expertise, especially practitioners.

How will we manage the research data and make it available for future use (as applicable)?

Explain how you will manage, share, preserve, and document the information and research products you will create during the project. To do this, complete the Digital Product Form and include it as part of the application to IMLS.

Data sharing is an essential component of research and expedites the translation of research results into new knowledge and practices. If your project involves the collection and analysis of data, we expect you to include, as part of your application, a data management plan (Part IV of the Digital Product Form) that provides for long-term preservation and access. We expect you to deposit data resulting from IMLS-funded research in a broadly accessible repository that allows the public to use the data without charge no later than the date upon which you submit your final report to IMLS. The data should be deposited in a machine-readable, non-proprietary digital format to maximize search, retrieval, and analysis.

Your project budget may include the costs of preparing the data for public release and for making the data publicly available. In your final report to IMLS, you will be required to identify where your data has been deposited and can be accessed by the public.

We recognize that data sharing may be complicated or limited in some cases by institutional policies; local Institutional Review Board (IRB) rules; and local, state, and federal laws and regulations, including those protecting confidentiality and personal privacy. The rights and privacy of people who participate in IMLS-supported research must be protected at all times. Thus, data intended for broader use should be free of anything that could lead to disclosure of the identity of individual participants. You should identify and explain the reasons for any limitations in your data management plan.

For the purposes of this section, “data” is defined consistent with OMB guidance (please see 2 C.F.R. § 200.315). We reserve a royalty-free, worldwide, nonexclusive, and irrevocable right to: (1) obtain, reproduce, publish or otherwise use the data first produced under a grant; and (2) authorize others to receive, reproduce, publish, or otherwise use such data for federal purposes.

Access to Work Products and Documents from IMLS-Supported Projects

How should we share our work products from IMLS-supported projects?

All work products resulting from IMLS funding should be distributed for free or at cost unless we have given you written approval for another arrangement. We encourage IMLS grant recipients to share their work products (including publications, datasets, educational resources, software, and digital content) whenever possible through free and open-access journals and repositories. We expect you to ensure that final peer-reviewed manuscripts resulting from research conducted under an award are made available in a manner that permits the public to access, read, download, and analyze the work without charge. Wide dissemination of the results of IMLS-funded projects advances the body of knowledge and professional practice in museum, library, and information services.

What project documents might IMLS make openly accessible?

We may share grant applications, work products, and reports with grantees, potential grantees, and the general public to further the mission of the agency and the development of museum, library, and information services. We require that your final report include one copy of each written product you create, unless otherwise instructed. These materials may be disseminated broadly and made available in a variety of ways and formats.

What do we need to know about copyright and works produced with IMLS support?

You may copyright any work that is subject to copyright and was developed under an award or for which ownership was purchased. However, we reserve, for federal government purposes, a royalty-free, worldwide, nonexclusive, and irrevocable right to reproduce, publish, or otherwise use the work and authorize others to reproduce, publish, or otherwise use the work. We encourage you to make your woks produced with IMLS support widely available, including through the use of open licenses.

What do we need to know about digital products produced with IMLS support?

IMLS is committed to expanding public access to federally funded digital products (i.e., digital content, resources, assets, software, and datasets). We ask that you answer questions that address specific aspects of creating and managing digital products in the Digital Product Form. The form provides additional instructions and guidance. Click here to access the Digital Product Form.

Conflict of Interest Requirements

What conflict of interest requirements must we follow?

As a non-federal entity, you must follow IMLS conflict of interest policies for federal awards. You must disclose in writing any potential conflict of interest to an IMLS Program Officer, or to the pass-through entity if you are a subrecipient or contractor. This disclosure must take place immediately whether you are an applicant or have an active IMLS award.

The IMLS conflict of interest policies apply to subawards as well as contracts, and are as follows:

  • As a non-federal entity, you must maintain written standards of conduct covering conflicts of interest and governing the performance of your employees engaged in the selection, award, and administration of subawards and contracts.
  • None of your employees may participate in the selection, award, or administration of a subaward or contract supported by a federal award if he or she has a real or apparent conflict of interest. Such a conflict of interest would arise when the employee, officer, or agent, any member of his or her immediate family, his or her partner, or an organization which employs or is about to employ any of the parties indicated herein, has a financial or other interest in or a tangible personal benefit from an organization considered for a subaward or contract. The officers, employees, and agents of the non-federal entity must neither solicit nor accept gratuities, favors, or anything of monetary value from subrecipients or contractors or parties to subawards or contracts.

If you have a parent, affiliate, or subsidiary organization that is not a state, local government, or Indian tribe, you must also maintain written standards of conduct covering organizational conflicts of interest. Organizational conflicts of interest means that because of relationships with a parent company, affiliate, or subsidiary organization, you are unable or appear to be unable to be impartial in conducting a subaward or procurement action involving a related organization.