I just returned from a little vacation to find this announcement [M‑10–16] from OMB regarding Grants.gov, confirming what many already understood: agencies are instructed to resume using Grants.gov’s “Apply” functionality for all grant programs that are eligible.
This is not a surprise announcement. Agencies were given permission to use alternative systems for Recovery Act grant applications but now that there is less urgency in play, Grants.gov should again be the one Federal government grant application portal.
According to the memo, Grants.gov can now process “at least 8,400 applications per day, with no noticeable degradation of performance” which, given the situation prior to the Recovery Act, is indeed a significant improvement.
Grants.gov’s future is still unclear, however. GSA has been working on a pilot project to develop an alternative means of accepting grant proposals, modeled on the technology behind FedBizOpps. There have also been repeated complaints about the time it takes to design, develop, test, and deploy new grant applications forms on Grants.gov, a process that recurs year after year as Congress and agencies adjust grant application criteria.
Regardless, we have always supported the idea of a single portal for all grant applications, so a “return to normal”, with Grants.gov fulfilling this role, is positive news for grantees. Agencies will need to figure out how to achieve their grant objectives using this system, by one means or another.