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STEM Expert Facilitation of Family Learning in Libraries and Museums (STEMeX) - A National Leadership Grants Special Initiative

STEM Expert Facilitation of Family Learning in Libraries and Museums (STEMeX) – A National Leadership Grants Special Initiative FY16 Notice of Funding Opportunity

Federal Awarding Agency:

Institute of Museum and Library Services

Funding Opportunity Title:  

STEM Expert Facilitation of Family Learning in Libraries and Museums (STEMeX) – A National Leadership Grants Special Initiative – FY16 Notice of Funding Opportunity

Announcement Type:   

Notice of Funding Opportunity

Funding Opportunity Number: 

NLGSPECIALINITIATIVE-STEMEX-FY16

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 May 1, 2016

Anticipated Date of Notification of Award Decisions:

September 2016 (subject to the availability of funds and IMLS discretion)

Beginning Date of Period of Performance: 

Not earlier than October 1, 2016

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, 1800 M Street, NW, 9th Floor, Washington, DC 20036-5802.

A. Program Description

What is this special initiative?

National Leadership Grants for Libraries (NLG-Libraries) and National Leadership Grants for Museums (NLG-Museums), under which this special initiative falls, support projects that address challenges faced by the library and museum fields and that have the potential to advance practice in those fields.

This joint NLG-Libraries and NLG-Museums special initiative invites proposals for research on informal educational approaches that leverage community Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) professionals in the broadest sense. Funded research projects will create a foundation for reaching children and families from diverse economic, geographic, social, and cultural backgrounds, with different levels of knowledge about STEM.

We are interested in proposals for design-based research projects that develop and explore models for inquiry-based STEM programs delivered by scientists, engineers, and related technical practitioners (STEM experts) to children ages 6-10 and their families. In particular, proposals should address the role of expert oral narratives (e.g., storytelling, personal histories, and analogies) as part of object-based science inquiry (Dahlstrom, 2014). Proposals should include information about how findings from this research will be applicable in both museum and library settings.

STEM experts are invaluable community resources for conveying the processes of scientific inquiry as well as the practices of STEM (Flick, 1990; France & Bay, 2010; Hobbs & Davis, 2013; Montano, 2012; Morrison & Estes, 2007; Tala & Vesterinen, 2015) which provide an essential foundation for science literacy (AAAS, 1993; Bybee, 1997; DeBoer, 2000). Many communities have a wealth of STEM experts including academic researchers, hydrologists, dental hygienists, road engineers, art conservators, and many others. At the same time, libraries and museums are eager to feature "faces of science" in their programs. In both school programming and informal learning contexts, important progress has been made to instill STEM inquiry skills and practices through role-based programs and by connecting learners to experts (Chen, 2014; Eberbach & Crowley, 2009; Farland‐Smith, 2009; Howitt, Rennie, Heard, & Yuncken, 2009; Navid & Einsiedel, 2012; Rennie, 2012; Zhai & Dillon, 2014). Demand has increased for diverse informal learning mechanisms that connect STEM experts with the public, such as citizen science programs, science cafes, maker events, site visits to research and development facilities, onsite museum research labs, and online hangouts. However, the library and museum fields have not fully engaged in research to understand the roles of community STEM experts within family learning experiences.

This special initiative seeks projects that will build upon models and frameworks such as but not limited to those exploring connected learning (Ito et. al, 2013); object-based learning (Paris, 2002); problem-based learning (Hmelo-Silver, 2004); making and tinkering (Vossoughi & Bevan, 2014); and sociocultural learning among children and families (Bamberger, 2014; Cox-Peterson et., al, 2003; Haden, 2010; Kisiel, Rowe, Vartabedian, & Kopczak, 2012; Zimmerman, Perin & Bell, 2010). Any products should be adoptable and adaptable by museums and libraries of various sizes, disciplines, and resources. The desired outcome for young children and their families will be engagement with STEM professionals that enhances skills in scientific inquiry and interest and affinity with STEM within a range of real life contexts.

Because we are calling for members of different communities to work with and learn from one another, we encourage collaboration and outreach (e.g. de Lacalle, & Petruso, 2012). It is essential that researchers define and operationalize constructs that are key for their projects, such as learning, engagement, inquiry, and argumentation. In addition, project proposals should use pedagogical approaches and techniques that enhance children’s identification with experts and interest in STEM careers and build STEM knowledge that becomes part of decision-making in everyday life. Successful proposals may suggest pathways to explore how to engage parents in activities involving experts in their children’s learning activities. Project results will support family learning in a variety of library and museum contexts.

Proposals should describe how STEM experts can use objects--broadly defined and including specimens collected by researchers, collection materials and their representations, experts’ equipment, electronics, books, photographs, models and journals--to scaffold the development of STEM knowledge and skills and promote interest in, and affinity, with STEM among family members. We anticipate the results of funded projects will explore how the processes of inquiry and related practices in STEM are embedded within the life stories and related problem-solving activities of experts. In addition, we seek results that will provide connections to the enriching environments offered by museums and libraries and will thus support and contextualize such STEM explorations.

An important consideration in funding proposals is the potential of projects to generate research findings that will serve as the basis for tools and resources that will support ongoing application across both museums and libraries. Successful projects will be intentionally designed to articulate and refine models, techniques, and approaches that can help museum and library professionals from institutions of varying sizes and disciplines facilitate family learning of STEM content and increasing awareness of scientific processes.

Awards will support two-year research projects. Proposals should describe how research teams will use an iterative, design-based research approach (Barab & Squire, 2004) to develop practices and models for various library and museum contexts. IMLS expects project staff funded through this special initiative to share their research findings with IMLS, the staff of other projects funded under the same initiative, and with a third-party evaluator through periodic teleconferences, email, and in-person convenings.

Potential supplemental funding may be provided (subject to the availability of funding, IMLS discretion, and written notice) for up to three additional years to implement curricula and programs after the research results are reviewed. Supplemental funding may support testing frameworks or models at increased scale, an evaluation of scaling, the creation and refinement of a toolkit, additional testing of frameworks or models in diverse cultural contexts, and identification of approaches to enhance adoption within libraries and museums. The goal of supplemental funding is to move the body of knowledge and related products towards applicability in a broad range of institutional and community contexts.

What are the characteristics of successful projects?

Successful projects will develop and explore models for inquiry-based programs delivered by STEM experts to children and their families. These projects will build on prior theoretical and empirical work about how children learn (e.g. Benjamin, Haden, & Wilkerson, 2010; Fender & Crowley, 2007; Herrenkohl & Guerra, 1998; Jant, Haden, Uttal, & Babcock, 2014; Kim & Crowley, 2010; Scherz & Oren, 2006; Weisberg, Sobel, Goodstein, & Bloom, 2013; Wilson, Krakowsky & Herget, 2010) and address learning during a key period of children’s social, cognitive, and identity development (ages 6-10). In addition, such projects will produce research results that are inclusive of children and families from diverse economic and cultural backgrounds. The research should explore the role of expert oral narratives (e.g., storytelling, personal histories, and analogies) and problem-solving as part of object-based inquiry within real world STEM contexts. Successful projects will study and formalize a learning model for science-based family learning experiences. Competitive research projects will simultaneously address learning in both libraries and museums, incorporating existing learning sciences theory (Sawyer, 2014) and appropriate modes of inquiry (Penuel & Frank, 2015) that can translate across institution types.

Research should be designed so as to explore some of the following questions and areas of opportunity:

  • how the processes of inquiry and problem solving are embedded within the life stories and personal experiences of STEM experts
  • methods for understanding the nature of inquiry and how to apply it within both library and museum settings
  • how STEM expert narratives can shape parent-child conversations during hands-on activities that will impact children's interest and understanding of STEM
  • potential effects of STEM expert narratives on children’s and families’ engagement in areas such as language skills, real world problem solving abilities, or parental comfort with supporting their child’s learning
  • potential effects of objects combined with STEM expert narratives in guiding families towards gaining new STEM knowledge and skills
  • how potential impacts of STEM expert narratives are connected to a family’s knowledge of and/or comfort with STEM topics

We are interested in the development and refinement of frameworks and guidance on approaches to working with STEM experts in order to enhance family STEM learning. Such products could include:

  • identifying the impacts that STEM expert narratives may have in enabling children to use general cognitive mechanisms and artifacts in developing knowledge to make predictions, generate explanations or inferences, and other practices in science and engineering
  • a working framework about where to best place STEM experts' narratives within the family's inquiry process
  • recommendations about where and how objects are best used within the inquiry process in combination with STEM experts’ narratives
  • determining how certain types of STEM experts’ narratives and their placement within the inquiry process can engage parents in their child’s learning
  • identifying ways parents can support children's memory and cognitive development within inquiry-based activities
  • identification of how the effectiveness of narratives may be dependent on the family's pre-existing knowledge of/comfort with STEM processes
  • an understanding of how the effectiveness of narratives may be dependent on differing cultural contexts around STEM processes
  • recommendations about STEM experts' delivery modes and content that will support parents in actively learning science with their children

We also seek to bridge gaps between how museums and libraries currently approach using experts in their programs.

Given the specificity and range of elements involved in developing a successful proposal for this initiative, potential applicants are strongly encouraged to contact IMLS program staff before submitting a proposal.

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 FY2016, 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:

  1. 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.
  2. IMLS promotes museums and libraries as strong community anchors that enhance civic engagement, cultural opportunities, and economic vitality.
  3. 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.

How much money can my institution apply for?

Awards in this special initiative may be made up to up to $1,000,000.

Where can I find the Authorizing Statute and Regulations for this Funding Opportunity?

Statute: 20 U.S.C. §9101 et seq.; in particular, §9162, and §9171 et seq. (Museum Services).

Regulations: 45 CFR Chapter XI and 2 CFR Chapter 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) has streamlined and consolidated grant requirements.  The Grant Reform can be found at 2 CFR Part 200. With certain IMLS-specific additions, IMLS regulations at 2 CFR Part 3187 formally adopt the 2 CFR Part 200 Grant Reform. The Grant Reform as adopted by IMLS at 2 CFR Part 3187 will be effective for all awards made after December 26, 2014.

B. Federal Award Information

Total amount of funding expected to be awarded

$2,500,000

Anticipated number of awards

3

Range of awards

Up to $1,000,000

Average amount of funding per award

$700,000

Type of assistance instrument

Grant

Anticipated start date

Not earlier than October 1, 2016. Projects must begin on October 1, November 1, or December 1, 2016.

Anticipated period of performance

October 2016-November 2018. Project activities may be carried out for up to two years.

The funding in the above Federal Award Information is subject to the availability of funds and IMLS discretion.

C. Eligibility Information

What are the eligibility requirements for this program?

The information below outlines eligibility requirements for a museum entity or library entity, and some institutions may be eligible as both. An institution will not be asked to identify as a museum or library, but will be asked to identify the organization type on the SF424S and the organization unit type on the Program Information Sheet (Section f).

To be eligible as library entity, 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;
  • 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
  • qualify as one of the following:
    • a library or a parent organization, such as a school district, a municipality, a State agency, or an academic institution, that is responsible for the administration of a library. Eligible libraries include public libraries, public elementary and secondary school libraries, college and university libraries, research libraries and archives that are not an integral part of an institution of higher education and that make publicly available library services and materials that are suitable for scholarly research and not otherwise available. Research libraries must be under the supervision of at least one permanent professional staff librarian and be either generally recognized as possessing unique, scholarly research materials and services that are made available to the public, or able to demonstrate that such is the case when submitting an application to IMLS
    • a private library or other special library, but only if the State in which it is located determines that the library should be considered a library for purposes of Library Services and Technology (see 20 U.S.C. 9121-9165)
    • an academic or administrative unit, such as a graduate school of library and information science that is part of an institution of higher education through which it would make application
    • a digital library, if it makes library materials publicly available and provides library services, including selection, organization, description, reference, and preservation, under the supervision of at least one permanent professional staff librarian
    • a library agency that is an official agency of a State or other unit of government and is charged by the law governing it with the extension and development of public library services within its jurisdiction
    • a library consortium that is a local, statewide, regional, interstate, or international cooperative association of library entities that provides for the systematic and effective coordination of the resources of eligible libraries, as defined above, and information centers that work to improve the services delivered to the clientele of these libraries or
    • a library association that exists on a permanent basis; serves libraries or library professionals on a national, regional, State, or local level; and engages in activities designed to advance the well-being of libraries and the library profession

To be eligible as a museum entity, you must meet 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, including the criteria in 3(a) above, 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

(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 3(a) above may apply on behalf of the museum.

Note to applicants: In order to receive an IMLS award, you must be in compliance with applicable requirements and be in good standing on all active IMLS awards.

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.

What are the requirements for cost sharing?

Cost sharing is not required for research grants. Click here for further information on cost sharing.

How many applications can we submit to this special initiative?

An institution may only submit one application to this special initiative.

What if I fail to meet the eligibility requirements?

We will not review or 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

Are there registration requirements in order to submit an application?

Before submitting an application, your organization must have a current and active D-U-N-S® Number, 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® and SAM.gov registrations 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 of an award, your application cannot be funded.

What is a D-U-N-S® Number and how do I get one?

Click here to learn more about getting a D-U-N-S® Number.

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

Click here to learn more about SAM.gov Registration.

If your D-U-N-S® and SAM.gov registrations 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 of an award, your application cannot be funded.

What is Grants.gov?

Grants.gov is your place to FIND and APPLY for federal grants.

The Grants.gov program management office was established, in 2002, as a part of the President's Management Agenda. Managed by the Department of Health and Human Services, Grants.gov is an E-Government initiative operating under the governance of the Office of Management and Budget.

Under the President's Management Agenda, the office was chartered to deliver a system that provides a centralized location for grant seekers to find and apply for federal funding opportunities. Today, the Grants.gov system houses information on over 1,000 grant programs and vets grant applications for 26 federal grant-making agencies.

How can I find the application package on Grants.gov?

Use one of the following identifiers to locate the STEMeX package in Grants.gov:

  • CFDA No: 45.312, or 
  • Funding Opportunity Number: NLGSPECIALINITIATIVE-STEMEX-FY16

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.

We require all applicants to apply through Grants.gov. Please note that the entire completed application must be submitted online through Grants.gov.

Click here to learn more about Grants.gov registration and Tips for Using Grants.gov.

Can I request an audio recording of this publication?

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

Can I request a paper copy of this publication?

If needed because of difficulty using Internet or for other accessibility reasons, you may also request paper copies of the materials. Use the STEM Expert Facilitation of Family Learning in Libraries and Museums webpage for IMLS contact information. We are available by phone at 202-653-4789.

What federal laws do I agree to comply with when I submit my application?

Click here to read the IMLS Assurances and Certifications

When and where must I submit my application?

For the STEMeX Special Initiative, Grants.gov will accept applications through 11:59 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time on May 1, 2016.

We strongly recommend that you REGISTER EARLY for DUNS and SAM.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.

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, on which it is closed.

What happens after I submit my application to 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. Once your submission is retrieved by the grantor agency, you will receive a third email. You can check the status of your application(s) after submission in Grants.gov, by using the "Track My Application" feature. You may also check the status of a submission by logging into your Grants.gov account using the Applicant Login and clicking on the "Check Application Status" link.

What documents are required to make a complete application?

The Table of Application Components below will help you prepare a complete and eligible application. You will find links to more information and instructions for completing 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.

How should the application components be formatted, named, and sequenced?

  • Document format: Aside from the SF424 listed below which is created in Grants.gov, all application components must be submitted as PDF documents.
  • Page limits: Note page limits listed below. 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.
  • Document order:  In Grants.gov, attach all application components in the sequence listed below. 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 below as a checklist to ensure that you have created and attached all necessary application components.

Any document you create must be converted to PDF format before submitting it. Click here for assistance in converting documents to PDF. Do not send secured or password-protected PDFs; we cannot process these files.

 

Note that IMLS does not permit the authorized representative to be the same person as the project director on the SF-424-S.

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

Digital Stewardship Supplementary Information Form

IMLS PDF form

Digitalstewardship.pdf

Conditionally Required Documents

Proof of Nonprofit Status

PDF document

Proofnonprofit.pdf

Federally Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement

PDF document

Indirectcostrate.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

Required Documents

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

Click here for instructions on:
How to Fill Out the SF-424S

Abstract

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?

  • Explain how your project will address the challenge identified in this funding initiative.

  • How does your project benefit the museum and library fields?

  • What activities will you carry out and in what time frame?

  • What are your project’s intended outcomes?

  • What are your performance goals, and how will you measure your success in achieving your intended outcomes?

This abstract may be used for public information purposes, so it should be informative to other persons working in the same or related fields, as well as to the lay reader. The abstract must not include any proprietary or confidential information.

IMLS Program Information Sheet

Download IMLS Program Information Sheet:
Adobe® PDF (318 KB)

1. Applicant Information:

  1. Legal Name: From 5a on the SF424S.
  2. Organizational D-U-N-S® Number: From 5f on the SF424S.
  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 library is part of a parent organization, such as a university, then enter the name of the university under Legal Name, and the 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 Information: Skip this section.

4. Performance Goals: Select “Learning” and click the box next to the goal that states, “Develop and provide inclusive and accessible learning opportunities.” If your project is funded, a third-party evaluator provided by IMLS will help your project team measure progress toward achieving this goal.

5. Funding Request Information:

  1. IMLS Funds Requested: Enter the amount in dollars sought from IMLS.
  2.  Cost sharing is not required for research grants and will not be considered in the evaluation of applications. If you wish to provide cost share, enter the amount of non-federal funding you are providing. 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 1d, this information must pertain to that unit.

8. Project Elements. Skip this section.

Narrative

Write a narrative that addresses the components listed and explained below. Limit the narrative to ten single-spaced, numbered pages. We will remove any pages above the ten-page limit, and we will not send them to reviewers as part of your application.

  • Use Supporting Documents to provide supplementary material.
  • 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.

How will my narrative be reviewed?

Reviewers with a variety of professional backgrounds read applications and advise us on their merits. They base their evaluations on the information presented in the applications. Your project narrative should therefore be clear, concise, and well organized, with a minimum of technical jargon.

Review criteria are listed below for each section of the narrative. These criteria describe what the reviewers are instructed to consider as they evaluate applications. Keep these review criteria in mind when writing your narrative.

How should my narrative be structured?

Structure your narrative according to the following outline, and be certain to address the bullet points as you write. Address the sections of the narrative separately and in the same order in which they are listed below.

Please be advised that reviewers may also choose to visit your organization’s website, as listed on the SF-424S form provided with this application.

1. Statement of Need

  • What do you propose to do?
  • Explain how your project will address the challenge identified in this funding initiative (as described above in Section A Program Description - What is this Special Initiative?)·
  • How does this project differ from, complement, or build upon previous work in this area?

Review Criteria:

  • Is the project clearly explained?
  • How well does the project address the challenge identified in this funding initiative?
  • Is the research well-grounded in current literature and practice?

2. Impact

  • Describe your performance goals and how the project will generate research findings that will serve as the basis for tools and resources that will support ongoing application across both museums and libraries.
  • Describe how your project’s results may be used, adapted, scaled, and/or replicated in museums and libraries upon the conclusion of your research.

Review Criteria:

  • Are the project’s performance goals and intended results clearly articulated, appropriate, and realistic?
  • Does the project demonstrate the potential for significant benefit to and applicability across the museum and library fields?

3. Project Design

  • Who will plan, implement, and manage your project?
  • Articulate your specific research questions, methods, and design. Describe your theoretical or conceptual framework, what type of data you will gather, and how it will be analyzed, interpreted, reported, and managed. Note: Regarding data management issues, be sure to fill out the Digital Stewardship Supplementary Information Form.
  • When and in what sequence will your activities occur? Note: Include in your plan time to engage with a third-party evaluator who will collectively evaluate the work of all projects funded through this opportunity. This evaluator will work with you on measuring progress toward achieving the IMLS goal of developing and providing inclusive and accessible learning opportunities.
  • What financial, personnel, partnering, and other resources will you need to carry out the activities? Note: You must include $2000 per year in award funds for travel to attend IMLS-designated meetings.
  • How will you track your progress toward achieving intended results?
  • How and with whom will you share your project’s work?

Review Criteria:

  • Do the identified staff, partners, consultants, and service providers possess the expertise and skills necessary to complete the work successfully?
  • Are the theoretical approach, research questions, methods, and design likely to be efficient, and effective in and appropriate to accomplishing the goals of this initiative?
  • Is the schedule of work realistic and achievable?
  • Are the financial, personnel, partnering, and other 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 the work and/or sharing discoveries?

Schedule of Completion

Click here for instructions on:

How to create the Schedule of Completion

Budget Form and Budget Justification

Click here for instructions on:

How to complete the Budget Documents

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 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) has streamlined and consolidated grant requirements.  The Grant Reform can be found at 2 CFR Part 200. With certain IMLS-specific additions, IMLS regulations at 2 CFR Part 3187 formally adopt the 2 CFR Part 200 Grant Reform. The Grant Reform as adopted by IMLS at 2 CFR Part 3187 will be effective for all awards made after December 26, 2014.

What are some examples of allowable and unallowable costs?

The following list includes some examples of generally allowable costs, both for IMLS funds and for cost share (if applicable), in this special initiative.

  • personnel salaries, wages, and fringe benefits
  • travel expenses for key project staff and consultants
  • materials, supplies, software, and equipment related directly to project activities
  • consultant fees
  • publication design and printing
  • design, technical support, printing, non-construction labor
  • training for staff and volunteers that impacts multiple museums
  • 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), in this special initiative.

  • general fundraising costs, such as development office staff or other staff time devoted to general fundraising;
  • 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 and renovation of facilities (Generally, any activity involving contract labor in the construction trades is not an allowable cost.);
  • exhibit fabrication that includes creation of large-scale permanent structures for animals or objects that would involve contract labor of the construction trades (Applicants with questions about the eligibility of exhibition activities should call us immediately.);
  • projects in which the majority of requested funds go to training library or archive staff;
  • contributions to endowments;
  • social activities, ceremonies, receptions, or entertainment; and
  • pre-award costs.

Please note that the above are examples; consult 2 CFR Part 200 and 2 CFR Part 3187 for additional guidance on allowable and unallowable costs.

(Note: If you have questions about the allowability of specific activities, call IMLS staff for guidance.)

Subawards and Contracts

In addition to the activities that you carry out directly, some project activities may be carried out by utilizing IMLS funds for either subawards or contracts. It is your responsibility to make a case-by-case determination as to whether each agreement you make for the disbursement of federal program funds casts the party receiving the funds in the role of a subrecipient or a contractor. (See 2 CFR 200.330 (Subrecipient and contractor determinations).)

There are particular requirements for subawards that you must follow as a pass-through entity (a non-federal entity that provides a subaward to a subrecipient to carry out part of a federal program). (See 2 CFR 200.74 (Pass-through entity) and 2 CFR 200.331 (Requirements for pass-through entities).)  There are other requirements that you must follow if you contract for activities.  (See sections 200.317 through 326 (Procurement Standards).)

Please Note:  You may not make a subaward unless expressly authorized by IMLS.  (See 2 CFR 200.3187.14 (Subawards).)

See 2 CFR Part 200 (in particular, sections 200.330 through 332 (Subrecipient Monitoring and Management) and sections 200.317 through 326 (Procurement Standards) and 2 CFR Part 3187 for further information.

What are the requirements regarding costs for foreign travel?

All air transportation of persons or property that is paid in whole or in part with IMLS funds must be performed in accordance with applicable law, including but not limited to the Fly America Act (49 U.S.C. §40118) (see also 41 CFR 301-10.131 through 10.143). Each separate foreign trip must be itemized in the budget approved by IMLS. Foreign travel that is not included in the approved project budget must be specifically approved in writing by the appropriate IMLS program officer.  

What are my choices regarding indirect costs? 

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 approved, as long as it is approved by the time of award
  • if you have never had a federally negotiated indirect cost rate and you are otherwise eligible, use a rate not to exceed 10% of total modified direct costs or
  • not include any indirect costs

Click here for further information on indirect costs.

List and Resumes of Key Project Staff and Consultants

Click here for instructions on:

How to create the Project Staff and Consultant Documents

Conditionally Required Documents

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

Please consult the table below to determine if any additional documents are required. If any of the conditions in the left column apply to your project, then the documents described in the right column are required. If you do not provide them, your application will be considered incomplete and will be rejected from further consideration.

If ...

Then you must include …

your organization has a federally negotiated indirect cost rate

A current copy of your Federally Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement.

your organization is a nonprofit

Proof of Nonprofit Status

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

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 subrecipients who will receive grant funds or from entities that will contribute substantive funds to the completion of project activities
  • Letters of commitment from consultants 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 experts and/or stakeholders
  • Position descriptions for project staff (if not included with resumes for key personnel) to be supported by grant funds
  • Reports from planning activities
  • Vendor 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
  • 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.

E. Application Review Process

What are the characteristics of successful applications?

  • Broad Impact: Your project should show the potential for far-reaching impact beyond your institution and influencing practice across one or more disciplines or specific fields within the museum and/or library profession.

  • In -depth Knowledge: Your application should reflect 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: Your application should employ novel approaches or techniques new to your project area to strengthen and improve museum services to benefit the audiences and communities being served.

  • Collaborative Process: Your project should incorporate 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: Your project should generate 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.

Is cost sharing considered in the review process? 

Cost sharing is not required for research grants and will not be considered in the review of applications to this special initiative.

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. They are instructed to evaluate applications according to the Review Criteria above.  Reviewer conflicts of interest are identified prior to review, and reviewers who may have conflicts with particular applications are reassigned to review other projects.

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

Reviewers are directed to follow the review criteria described in Section D above.

What are the requirements regarding the designated integrity and performance system?

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 accessible through SAM (currently FAPIIS) (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 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;

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 §200.205 Federal awarding agency review of risk posed by applicants.

When will awards be announced?

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 2016. Funded projects may not begin earlier than October 1, 2016 and not later than December 1, 2016. Project must begin on the first day of the first month and end on the last day of the last month.

F. Award Administration Information

How will we be notified about the results of the grant process?

Official Award Notifications for Grants and Cooperative Agreements will be sent electronically. The award packet sent to the Authorized Representative/Authorizing Official will contain the following:

  • cover letter(s)
  • the Official Award Notifications for Grants and Cooperative Agreements
  • links to the applicable documents, including general terms and conditions, reporting forms, etc.

The Project Director will receive the following:

  • copies of the cover letter(s)
  • a copy of the Official Award Notifications for Grants and Cooperative Agreements
  • links to the applicable documents, including general terms and conditions, reporting forms, etc.
  • when appropriate for a particular funding category, reviewer comments

Applicants who do not receive awards will be notified at the same time.

What is the award period of performance?

The award period of performance will run from the first day of the month in which project activities are undertaken and will end on the last day of the month in which these activities are completed.

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 Awards and the IMLS Assurances and Certifications. Organizations that receive IMLS funding must be familiar with these requirements and comply with 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.

What are the reporting requirements?

Reports are due according to the reporting schedule that accompanies your Official Award Notification for Grants and Cooperative Agreements. Please note that recipients must submit performance reports in the format defined by the IMLS; both interim and final performance reports may be accessible on the IMLS website to support the agency’s commitment to open government, to engage the public in communities of practice and to inform application development and grant making strategies.

For details and forms, please see the Grants Administration page.

What do I need to know about acknowledgement of IMLS support?

Read more about acknowledgement of IMLS support.

What do I need to know about sharing IMLS-supported work products and copyright, and management of digital assets produced with IMLS support?

Read more about sharing IMLS-supported work products and copyright, and management of digital assets produced with IMLS support.

G. Contacts

How can I contact program staff?

See the STEMeX web page for IMLS contact information. We are available by phone and through email to discuss general issues relating to this special initiative.

How can I participate in a webinar?

See the STEMeX web page for information on webinars for this special initiative. Click here for instructions on accessing IMLS webinars from your computer.

H. Other Information

What are the requirements regarding conflict of interest?

You must comply with IMLS’ conflict of interest requirements. These requirements include disclosing in writing to IMLS or pass-through entity any potential conflict of interest.

How long should it take to complete this application?

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, in addition to the time needed for you to answer the narrative questions, 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.

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 1800 M Street, NW, 9th Floor, Washington, DC 20036-5802, and to the Office of Management and Budget, Paperwork Reduction Project (3137-0029), Washington, DC 20503.

How can I become a reviewer?

If you are interested in serving as a reviewer, you may submit your information through our online reviewer application at www.imls.gov/grants/become-reviewer. Please remember to attach your resume. Your information will be considered and, if accepted, your name will be entered into our reviewer database. You will be contacted prior to the next deadline regarding your availability to serve as a reviewer.

There are many benefits to reviewing applications, including enhancing your professional knowledge and serving the museum and library communities. If you are selected to serve, you will be helping IMLS and strengthening our grant review process.

IMLS Clearance Number:

IMLS-CLR-F-0018, Expiration date: 09/30/2017

References:

American Association for the Advancement of Science. (1993). Benchmarks for science literacy. Oxford University Press.

Bamberger, Y. M. (2014). Encouraging Girls into Science and Technology with Feminine Role Model: Does This Work?. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 23(4), 549-561.

Barab, S., & Squire, K. (2004). Design-based research: Putting a stake in the ground. The journal of the learning sciences, 13(1), 1-14.

Benjamin, N., Haden, C. A., & Wilkerson, E. (2010). Enhancing building, conversation, and learning through caregiver–child interactions in a children’s museum. Developmental psychology, 46(2), 502.

Bybee, R. W. (1997). Achieving scientific literacy: From purposes to practices. Heinemann, 88 Post Road West, PO Box 5007, Westport, CT 06881.

Chen, J., & Cowie, B. (2014). Scientists talking to students through videos. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 12(2), 445-465.

Cox‐Petersen, A. M., Marsh, D. D., Kisiel, J., & Melber, L. M. (2003). Investigation of guided school tours, student learning, and science reform recommendations at a museum of natural history. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 40(2), 200-218.

Dahlstrom, M. F. (2014). Using narratives and storytelling to communicate science with nonexpert audiences. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(Supplement 4), 13614-13620.

DeBoer, G. E. (2000). Scientific literacy: Another look at its historical and contemporary meanings and its relationship to science education reform. Journal of research in science teaching, 37(6), 582-601.

de Lacalle, S., & Petruso, A. (2012). The Value of Partnerships in Science Education: A Win-Win Situation. Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education, 11(1), A97.

Eberbach, C.E. & Crowley, K. (2009). From Everyday to Scientific Observation: How Children Learn to Observe the Biologist's World. Review of Educational Research, 79(1), 39-69.

Farland‐Smith, D. (2009). Exploring Middle School Girls’ Science Identities: Examining Attitudes and Perceptions of Scientists when Working “Side‐by‐Side” with Scientists. School Science and Mathematics, 109(7), 415-427.

Fender, J. G., & Crowley, K. (2007). How parent explanation changes what children learn from everyday scientific thinking. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 28(3), 189-210.

Flick, L. (1990). Scientist in residence program improving children's image of science and scientists. School Science and Mathematics, 90(3), 204-214.

France, B., & Bay, J. L. (2010). Questions students ask: Bridging the gap between scientists and students in a research institute classroom. International Journal of Science Education, 32(2), 173-194.

Haden, C. A. (2010). Talking about science in museums. Child development perspectives, 4(1), 62-67.

Herrenkohl, L. R., & Guerra, M. R. (1998). Participant structures, scientific discourse, and student engagement in fourth grade. Cognition and instruction, 16(4), 431-473.

Hmelo-Silver, C. E. (2004). Problem-based learning: What and how do students learn?. Educational psychology review, 16(3), 235-266.

Hobbs, L., & Davis, R. (2013). Narrative pedagogies in science, mathematics and technology. Research in Science Education, 43(3), 1289-1305.

Howitt, C., Rennie, L., Heard, M., & Yuncken, L. (2009). The Scientists in Schools Project. Teaching Science, 55(1), 35-38.

Ito, M., Gutierrez, K., Livingstone, S., Penuel, B., Rhodes, J., Salen, K., ... & Watkins, S. C. (2013). Connected learning: An agenda for research and design. Digital Media and Learning Research Hub.

Jant, E. A., Haden, C. A., Uttal, D. H., & Babcock, E. (2014). Conversation and object manipulation influence children's learning in a museum. Child development, 85(5), 2029-2045.

Kim, K. Y., & Crowley, K. (2010). Negotiating the goal of museum inquiry: How families engineer and experiment. In Instructional Explanations in the Disciplines (pp. 51-65). Springer US.

Kisiel, J., Rowe, S., Vartabedian, M. A., & Kopczak, C. (2012). Evidence for family engagement in scientific reasoning at interactive animal exhibits. Science Education, 96(6), 1047-1070.

Montano, P. A. (2012). Changed Perceptions About Science Communication: A Case Study of STEM Graduate Students in Portal to the Public (Doctoral dissertation, University of Washington).

Morrison, J. A., & Estes, J. C. (2007). Using scientists and real-world scenarios in professional development for middle school science teachers. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 18(2), 165-184.

Navid, E. L., & Einsiedel, E. F. (2012). Synthetic biology in the Science Café: what have we learned about public engagement?. JCOM, 11, 4.

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Penuel, W. R., & Frank, K. A. (2015). Modes of Inquiry in Educational Psychology and Learning Sciences Research. Handbook of Educational Psychology, 16.

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Scherz, Z., & Oren, M. (2006). How to change students' images of science and technology. Science Education, 90(6), 965-985.

Tala, S., & Vesterinen, V. M. (2015). Nature of Science Contextualized: Studying Nature of Science with Scientists. Science & Education, 24(4), 435-457.

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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. Chapter XXXI and 45 C.F.R. Chapter 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 official 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 Executive Order 13166, 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. Part 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. §1681–83, §1685–86), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs; and
  • 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.
  • 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. Part 3185 and 2 C.F.R. Part 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. Part 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. Part 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. Part 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. Part 3186, which adopts the Governmentwide implementation (2 C.F.R. Part 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 CFR 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 CFR part 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), Executive Order (E.O.) 11593, 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 E.O. 11514;

(b) notification of violating facilities pursuant to E.O. 11738;

(c) protection of wetlands pursuant to E.O. 11990, as amended by E.O. 12608;

(d) evaluation of flood hazards in floodplains in accordance with E.O. 11988, 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. Part 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, 1800 M Street, NW, 9th Floor, Washington, DC 20036. 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 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. If you find you do not, you can acquire one 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.

Be sure that the D-U-N-S® Number is the same as the number you use in the System for Award Management (SAM) as part of Grants.gov registration.

SAM.gov Registration

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

Registration cannot be completed in a single day. Some information must be validated by outside parties before your registration can be activated. This includes TIN (Taxpayer Identification Number) validation with the Internal Revenue Service and CAGE (Commercial and Government Entity) validation/assignment with the Department of Defense. The activation timeframe may be longer if the information you provide is flagged for manual validation by any party. You will receive an email alerting you when your registration is active.

You must renew and revalidate your registration in SAM.gov at least every 12 months from the date you last certified and submitted the registration in SAM.gov--and sooner, if your information changes. An expired registration will affect your ability to receive awards or payments, submit applications via Grants.gov, and receive certain payments from some federal government agencies.

Please note that grant payments will be made to the bank account that is associated with your SAM.gov registration.

Grants.gov Registration

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 4 weeks to complete all steps in the Grants.gov registration process. DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE WEEK OF THE APPLICATION DEADLINE TO REGISTER.

Before submitting an application, your organization must have a current and active D-U-N-S® Number, 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.

Tips for Working with Grants.gov

  1. 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.
  2. You must designate at least one Authorized Organization Representative (AOR) to use Grants.gov. Consider designating more than one AOR when you register. This will help avoid last-minute crises in the event that your one AOR is unavailable when you are ready to submit your application. Also, you should update the AOR at Grants.gov when staff at your organization changes, and make sure passwords are current.
  3. Make effective technological choices.
  4. 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, when it is closed.

NOTE:

If you create a document in Microsoft® Word, you must convert it to PDF format before submitting it. Click here for assistance in converting documents to PDF. Do not send secured or password-protected PDFs; we cannot process these files.

How to Fill Out the SF-424S

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

Items 1-4 are automatically filled in by Grants.gov

Item 5. Applicant Information

a. Legal Name: Enter your organization’s legal name as it appears in its SAM.gov registration. See the Notice of Funding Opportunity for eligibility details. If your organization is eligible but does not have the authority to apply directly for funding, enter the name of the parent organization that is submitting the application on your organization’s behalf. In that case, enter the name of your organization in the space provided for "Organizational Unit" on the Program Information Sheet, Question 1d.

b. Address: For Street1, enter your organization’s street address or post office box number, whichever is used for its U.S. Postal Service mailing address. Street2 is not a required field and should be used only when a suite or room number or other similar information is part of the address.

In the ZIP+4/Postal Code box, enter the full nine-digit ZIP code assigned by the U.S. Postal Service. Click here to retrieve your full ZIP code.

c. Web Address: Enter the Web address of the legal applicant organization.

d. Type of Applicant: Select the one 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 Employer or Taxpayer Identification Number (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. Click here for guidance in obtaining a D-U-N-S® Number.

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 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 using 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 proposed period of performance start date and end date for your project in the format mm/dd/yyyy. Your project must begin on the first day of a month and end on the last day of a month, as directed in the program Notice of Funding Opportunity.

Item 7. Project Director

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

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, particularly smaller ones, 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 name and contact 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 relevant federal requirements (the IMLS Assurances and Certifications). 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. If your organization’s mission statement is longer than one page, you may excerpt from it or summarize it to convey the essential points.
  • 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 be undertaken, mark important milestones for the project, and be no longer than one page per project year. If any proposed activity is part of a larger project, make sure the IMLS-funded portion is clearly identified. Click image below for a larger view.

Sample of Schedule of Complection - small

Instructions for Completing Budget Documents

You must provide two budget documents to describe the costs of a proposed project:

Note: If a separate IMLS Budget Form is included in an application for a project partner’s portion of an overall project budget, please include the partner budget as a supporting document. Be sure that the primary IMLS Budget Form and Budget Justification for the lead applicant include summary explanations of all partner budget details. Project partner budgets must comply with all instructions in this Notice of Funding Opportunity regarding allowable costs and methods of budget calculation.

IMLS Budget Form

The IMLS Budget Form is designed to accommodate 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 before you complete the IMLS Budget Form. Please also consult the cost principles in 2 CFR part 200 and 2 CFR part 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 and apply it to your cost share.

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: Fringe benefits may include contributions for Social Security, employee insurance, pension plans, etc. 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: Before completing this section of the IMLS Budget Form, please consult the Notice of Funding Opportunity for the program to which you are applying for any special guidance.

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.

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

5. Contracts and Subawards: List the costs of project activities to be undertaken by a third party, including a formal partner, as a single line item that shows the amount that will be charged to IMLS grant funds and any cost sharing that will be contributed by the third party. Itemize these third party costs in the Budget Justification. List any individuals or groups who will provide consulting services for the project and their fees. Identify each individual or group as either a contract or subaward. Explain the method of computation for fees in your Budget Justification. Click here for more information on partners, contracts, and subawards.

6. Student Support: If you are applying for a program that allows student support, enter those costs in this section. Student support can include costs such as scholarships or fellowships or student participant support costs. Other student items such as wages, materials including books or other supplies, student memberships in professional organizations, and travel should be included elsewhere in the budget (e.g., under supplies, contracts and/or travel categories) and identified as student items (e.g. “student wages”).

7. Other Costs: Use this section for costs that are not assignable to other categories. Please do not use the "Other Costs" section to list items that did not fit in the number of lines allotted for another section. 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.

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

9. Indirect Costs: Indirect costs are the same as "overhead" or "administrative costs." They are costs that are incurred for common or joint objectives and cannot be easily identified with a particular project. Examples are charges for 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. Before completing this section of the IMLS Budget Form, please consult the Notice of Funding Opportunity for the program to which you are applying for any special guidance regarding indirect costs. Click here for more information about Indirect Cost Options.

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

IMLS Budget Form:
Adobe® PDF (212KB)

Cost Share

Cost share is that portion of the project costs that is not charged to IMLS funds. These costs may be supported by your cash outlays; contribution of property and services; and in-kind contributions, such as staff or volunteer time that support project activities.

For more information regarding cost sharing, refer to the specific Notice of Funding Opportunity for the grant program to which you are applying.

All listed expenses, including cost sharing, must be incurred during the award period of performance unless otherwise specified. Federal funds may not be used for cost sharing. All federal, agency, and program instructions regarding use of funds apply to both requested IMLS funds and cost sharing.

Budget Justification

Use the Budget Justification to explain all the costs included in your IMLS Budget Form. Address the purpose for each expense and explain the basis or method of cost computation used to determine each dollar amount. Itemize and explain any costs that you consolidated and summarized in the IMLS Budget Form. Follow the format of the IMLS Budget Form’s section headings.

We encourage you to contribute as cost share the salaries of permanent staff to be employed on a project in proportion to the amount of time they will spend on the project. 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. Explain the role of any outside consultants and contractors to be employed on the project and how each was identified and selected. Document costs for third party service providers through bids or similar means.

List the cost of project activities to be undertaken by a third party under "Contracts and Subawards" on the IMLS Budget Form as a single line item that shows the amount that will be charged to IMLS grant funds and the cost sharing that will be provided by the third party. Include a complete itemization of these costs as part of the Budget Justification. If there is more than one contractor or subrecipient, list the costs of each contract or subaward separately on the IMLS Budget Form and include an itemization as part of the Budget Justification. Click here for guidance for writing a budget justification.

Guidance for Writing a Budget Justification

The Budget Justification is a very important part of your application. Peer reviewers will use it to evaluate the appropriateness of the financial resources you have identified as necessary for your project and IMLS staff will use it to check your calculations and to make determinations regarding the allowability of specific expenses according to the applicable cost principles.

Your Budget Justification should align with your IMLS Budget Form. It should identify the purpose for each expense and explain how you arrived at each cost, including any that you may have consolidated and summarized on the budget form.

Below is a suggested format with examples of what to include.

1. Salaries and Wages

For each person whose salary or wages will be paid with IMLS funds or by cost share, identify them by name, describe his/her role in the project, the percent of time to be devoted to the project, and at what rate of pay. If cost share is being provided by unpaid volunteers, explain how you arrived at the dollar figure used to represent the value of their services.

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 cost figures.

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 cost figures. 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 a third party. Identify each third party by name, describe their importance to the project, the activities they will carry out, and the cost. Explain the basis on which you selected each and detail their qualifications. Provide relevant supporting documents with your application.

Please be aware that 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 characteristics and substance of your relationship with the third party with respect to the activities to be carried out.  Recent changes in Federal grant regulations impact the responsibilities of recipients of Federal awards with respect to contracts and subawards.

As these new regulations would apply to all grants awarded after December 26, 2014, applicants are advised to review the requirements in order to understand their responsibilities under any award.

6. Student Support

If you are applying to a program that allows student support, detail the nature and cost of each scholarship or other form of support. Identify the nature, number, and cost of any student materials including books or other supplies, student memberships in professional organizations, internship expenses, and travel, and explain how you arrived at each cost figure.

7. Other Costs

Use this section for costs that are not assignable 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 and explain the base on which you are calculating the costs here. If you are a non-Federal entity, other than a State, local government, or Indian tribe subject to specific indirect cost requirements, and you have never received a negotiated indirect cost rate, you may elect to charge a rate of 10% of modified total direct costs.  If you do so, explain how you are treating the portion of each subaward or contract in excess of $25,000 in your indirect cost calculation. If you are using an indirect cost rate already negotiated with a federal agency, verify that the agreement is current. If you are using an indirect cost rate proposed to a federal agency for negotiation but not yet finalized, specify the date of your proposal and describe your plan if the rate is not finalized by the time IMLS award determinations are made.

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.

Partnerships

Many IMLS-funded projects involve collaboration. The successful completion of project activities often requires organizations to work together. These partnerships or collaborations can take many forms, both informal and formal. Sometimes partners provide cost share toward a project; sometimes the grantee provides federal grant funds to a partner. Below are some frequently asked questions about partnerships within IMLS grants.

In projects that involve partnerships, what are the responsibilities of the lead applicant and its partners?

In a project that involves one or more partners, the organization that submits the application becomes the grantee if the application is funded.

Partners who receive federal funds must be identified in the application as either a contractor or subrecipient.

The grantee is legally responsible for the use of all grant funds and for ensuring that the project is carried out by the partner(s) in accordance with the terms of the grant and all applicable federal laws, regulations, and requirements. The grantee must be the fiscal agent but may provide federal grant funds to its partners for specific activities or services.  Each partner is legally responsible for carrying out the activities that it agrees to perform and for complying with the terms of the award and all applicable federal laws, regulations, and requirements.

The general rules for situations where federal funds are provided by the grantee to its partner, whether through a contract or a subaward can be found at 2 CFR Part 200 – Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards. Click here to find these regulations.

We encourage the lead applicant to include a letter of commitment from each partner, detailing the activities that the partner plans to perform and indicating that the partner agrees to comply with the terms of the award and all applicable federal laws, regulations, and requirements. Letters of commitment should be signed by a person authorized to sign on behalf of the partner organization.

Are partnerships with federal agencies permitted?

You may partner with federal agencies when appropriate. However, no IMLS grant funds may be provided to the federal agency partner. In addition, it is important to remember that federally appropriated funds, whether they are disbursed directly to you by a federal agency or indirectly through another organization, do not count toward your cost share. Click here for more information about cost share.

Are international partnerships permitted?

While we do not make awards to non-U.S. entities, such entities may partner with eligible U.S. organizations on IMLS-funded projects, subject to applicable law.

Indirect Costs

What are indirect costs?

An indirect cost is an organization’s incurred cost that cannot be readily isolated or identified with just one project or activity. These types of costs are often referred to as “overhead costs.” Typical examples of indirect costs are general telephone service, postage, office supplies, office space expenses, and administrative or financial operations for an entire organization. (See 2 CFR part 200 for additional guidance).

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

You can choose to:

  1. Use a rate not to exceed your current indirect cost rate already negotiated with a federal agency;
  2. Use an indirect cost rate proposed to a federal agency but not yet approved;
  3. 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
  4. Not include any indirect costs.

What is a federally negotiated indirect cost rate, and how do I 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.

How do I use the 10% indirect cost rate?

Except for those non-federal entities described in Appendix VII to 2 CFR Part 200, you may choose to charge a de minimis rate of up to 10% of modified total direct costs (MTDC) if you have never had a federally negotiated indirect cost rate. See 2 CFR part  200 for additional guidance. If you choose to use this rate, you must be careful to avoid double-charging and should exclude, as necessary, from the budget all indirect-cost-type items, such as general telephone service, postage, office supplies and office space expenses, and administrative or financial operations for the applicant's entire organization.

As long as you meet the applicable requirements and have never had a federally negotiated indirect cost rate, you may use this rate with no additional documentation required.

What if my organization is currently in indirect cost rate negotiations with a federal agency, or my organization’s current indirect cost rate will change or expire before grants are awarded in this IMLS program?

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. You must include with your grant application a copy of the indirect cost proposal. 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. It is possible that we may reduce the amount of the award if the final negotiated rate is less than the rate that was used for budget estimates in the application budget. However, we will not increase the amount of the award if the final negotiated indirect cost rate is higher than the rate that was used for budget estimates in the application budget.

Can I apply my indirect cost rate to the cost sharing portion of my application budget?

Yes. You may apply your indirect cost rate to the cost sharing portion of your total direct costs, but you must count it as cost share. 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 Fund column).

Are there any other project costs that cannot be included in my 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 the 10% de minimis rate, you may include 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 CFR sections 200.414(f) and 200.68.)

Project Staff and Consultant Documents

List of Key Project Staff and Consultants

Provide a one-page list of the staff and consultants whose expertise is essential to the completion of the project. 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. Any changes to these key project staff and consultants must be approved by IMLS.

Resumes of Key Project Staff and Consultants

Provide resumes of no more than two pages each for all project staff and consultants identified on the List of Key Project Staff and Consultants described above.

If you cannot identify key project personnel 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.

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.

Requirements for Projects that Develop Digital Content

What are the requirements for projects that develop digital content?

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. Because technology is dynamic and because we do not want to inhibit innovation, we do not want to prescribe set standards and best practices that could become quickly outdated. Instead, we ask that you answer a series of questions that address specific aspects of creating and managing digital assets. Your answers will be used by IMLS staff and by expert peer reviewers to evaluate your application, and they will be important in determining whether your project will be funded.

The form consists of four parts. Part I contains questions relevant to any kind of digital project, while Parts II, III, and IV focus specifically on projects creating digital content, software, and datasets. The form’s embedded instructions will help you decide which questions to answer. You need answer only those questions relevant to your project.

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.

Related Links

Digital Stewardship Supplementary Information Form
Adobe® PDF (87 KB)
Microsoft Word (50 KB)

Resources for Projects Developing Digital Products
www.digitizationguidelines.gov

Guidance for Research Applications

An effective research application should answer the following questions:

What are the specific research questions your 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 the relevance of your proposed research for current practice?

Demonstrate how the research will lead to improved museum or library practice and that you are familiar with current research literature.

What research methods will you use to conduct the research?

Detail the methods you will use and why they are the most appropriate for addressing the question at hand. The methods must be replicable and based on the best practices identified in the scientific literature or by relevant professional associations. Identify the interpretive framework or context you will use.

What type of data will you gather?

Describe the type of research data you will collect and what measures you will take to ensure its validity and reliability. Detail the methods for collecting the 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.

How will you analyze and use the data?

Describe how you will analyze the results of your research and compare 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 you report the information?

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

How will you 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 Stewardship Supplementary Information Form and include it as part of the application to IMLS.

Acknowledgement of IMLS Support

What are the requirements for acknowledging work done with IMLS grant funding?

We require acknowledgement of IMLS assistance in all publications and other products resulting from the project, such as research reports, websites, and presentations.  All work products should reference IMLS and include the associated grant award numbers. Grant recipients will receive further instructions on how to acknowledge IMLS support and tips on how to share information about their projects.

Sharing the Work Products of IMLS-Supported Projects

How is information shared about IMLS projects and for what purposes?

We encourage creators of works resulting from IMLS funding to share their work openly whenever possible through forums such as institutional or discipline-based repositories, open-access journals, or other media. Wide dissemination of the results of IMLS-funded projects advances the body of knowledge and professional practice in museum, library, and information services.

We require that your final report include one copy of each written product you create, unless otherwise instructed. We may share grant applications, 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, including online.

What do I 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.

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 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.

What do I need to know about digital assets produced with IMLS support?

IMLS is committed to expanding public access to IMLS-funded assets, including research data and other digital products: the assets you create with IMLS funding require careful stewardship to protect and enhance their value. They should be freely and readily available for use and re-use by libraries, archives, museums and the public. Applying these principles to the development of digital products is not straightforward; because technology is dynamic and because we do not want to inhibit innovation, the IMLS does not want to prescribe set standards and best practices that would certainly become quickly outdated. Instead, IMLS defines the digital assets your projects should achieve in a series of questions; your answers are used by IMLS staff and by expert peer reviewers to evaluate your application; and they will play a critical role in determining whether your grant will be funded. Together, your answers will comprise the basis for a work plan for your project, as they will address all the major components of the development process. See the Digital Stewardship Supplementary Information Form for more information.

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 Stewardship Supplementary Information 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 CFR 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.

Conflict of Interest Requirements

What Conflict of Interest requirements must I 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.