A grant is used when the sponsor anticipates no substantial programmatic involvement with the recipient during the performance of the project. Grants are among the most flexible award mechanisms.
A cooperative agreement is used when the purpose of the project is similar to that of a grant, butsubstantial programmatic involvement of, or coordination by, the funding agency is anticipated.
The transferring of a substantive portion of the research/program effort of the prime award to another institution or organization.
A contract is used when the principal purpose is to provide a prescribed service or "good" for the direct benefit or use of the funding agency.
A consultant is an independent contractor engaged to provide expert advice or services, typically for short or intermittent time periods.
Unlike funds governed by agreements, gifts are awarded irrevocably and, generally, without contractual requirements (again, generally "no strings attached").
Common Types of Funding Announcements
Broad Agency Announcement (BAA)
An announcement of a federal agency’s general research interests. Invites proposals, and specifies general terms and conditions for award.
Eg: ARO, ONR, AFOSR BAA’s.
Program Announcement/Program Solicitation (PA/PS)
Announcement of sponsor’s intent to support a general area of research, or some other activity, that furthers the goals and mission of the sponsor.
Eg: NIH Parent Announcements, NSF Program Solicitations.
Request for Application (RFA)
An announcement that indicates the availability of funds in a more "specific," or "targeted" area of interest to the sponsor.
Eg: NIH DP2, New Innovator.
Request for Proposal (RFP)
An announcement that specifies a topic of research, methods, product delivery, and category of applicants. (Proposals in response to an RFP generally result in a contract.)
Eg: DoD SBIR/STTR with Corporation
Science and Engineering Indicators 2012
The federal government provides the bulk of funds for academic R&D; during the past two decades, its share has fluctuated around 60%.
The federal government provided 59% ($32.6 billion) of the $54.9 billion of academic spending on S&E R&D in FY 2009. The federal share was somewhat higher in the 1970s and early 1980s.
Six agencies provide almost all (97% in 2009) federal academic R&D support—the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Department of Defense, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Department of Energy, and Department of Agriculture.