How to Score Extra Points on Your Grant Application by Meeting the Funding Priority

By Beverly A. Browning

Want to score some extra points on your grant application? You can get an edge on the competition by meeting the funding agency’s funding priority for a specific grant competition. Funders often identify one or more priority target populations, geographic areas, or performance criteria and award a funding preference to applications that document that they meet that preference.

For example, when NASA issues a NOFA for classroom-based space exploration education and summer camps, it may include an opportunity for grant applicants to earn an extra five or ten funding priority (read: bonus) points if their program will be located in the Alaska and Pacific Rim regions.

If NASA receives 400 applications and plans to award only 20 grants, the grant applicants who write the best-of-the-best narratives and also meet the funding priority will be at the top of the point list for funding recommendation.

Because of funding priority, a normal 100-point application (the best peer review rating possible without the funding opportunity) may be given an extra 10 points, for a total of 110 peer review points — a huge advantage over not-so-competitive grant applications. It could provide just the boost you need.