If you have ever applied for a grant before, you know that it is usually a long and sometimes daunting process. The reviewers take several months just to judge your proposal, if not longer, and the difference between being accepted and rejected means the difference between having the financial resources to carry out a passion project. In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at the grant review process, showing that NIW applicants who go through some sort of grant review are better equipped to receive a national interest waiver.
How Does the Review Process Work?
In order to understand the review process better for NIW applicants, let’s take a closer look at the Environmental Protection Agency and their grant programs. Every year, the EPA awards more than 4 billion dollars in funding to organizations such as non-profits but also to individual researchers. Technically, anyone can apply for these grants, but the issue becomes whether or not an organization or individual is well-suited to receive such grant money, and if the EPA or other guiding institution feels as though awarding the applicant will be in the organizations best interest based on their grant proposal.
Your grant proposal needs to clearly outline an overview of the problem/issue for which grant money is being disbursed in the first place, your methodology/innovation for conducting research, the outcomes you are seeking, and most importantly how you are going to budget such an endeavor over a well-defined period of time. These elements are essential for applicants, and they also teach NIW applicants the specifics of being eligible for a certain award.
If your grant is reviewed, and you are a successful candidate who is awarded funding from a prestigious institution, this will almost solidify your chances of being granted an NIW given that the rest of your application contains no errors. Here is what the grant review process entails:
- A panel of qualified reviewers has evaluated your competitive application
- A panel of qualified reviewers has decided your application is worthy of funding
- The applicant in question is able to clearly define a well-proposed budget in response to conducting research
- The applicant has an expert level understanding of the issue area of which grant funding is being offered for
All of these points will be recognized by USCIS officers who are adjudicating your NIW application. This is why the review process is so important for grants. It is a long vetting process that ensures only the best applicants will receive funding.
Terms and Conditions
In addition to being able to clearly write a grant proposal, grants also have terms and conditionalities that need to be followed up with. For example, any grant recipient of the EPA or perhaps the NIH needs to submit quarterly reports back to the granting organization following up with monitoring and evaluation data about how their research/project is going. Abiding by the terms and conditions of a grant is usually rigorous, involves compliance, and moreover, shows how disciplined applicants have to be in order to keep seeing disbursements of their funding.
Overall, this process is very useful for NIW applicants because if you are able to comply with the terms and conditions of a grant, then you should be set up nicely in your NIW application to state how you are going to achieve your proposed endeavor (you’ve already done so as a grant recipient).
Even if an NIW applicant has not received a grant in the past, they should familiarize themselves with the process of applying for one. IN turn, they might discover other items to include in their own NIW application in terms of financial budgeting as well as the time frame of their proposed endeavor.
EPA Grants Page: https://www.epa.gov/grants