Note: This is the second post in our ‘What Is’ series about the grant lifecycle and grant types.
A “discretionary” grant is a grant in which a federal agency selects the awardee (i.e., grant recipient) based on merit and eligibility. After you apply for a discretionary grant on Grants.gov, the applications are sent to the federal agency for a competitive review process and final funding decision.
- Applications for a specialized type of research are likely to undergo rigorous peer review by a panel of subject matter experts
- Personnel in the federal agency also review the applications, and then make funding recommendations using the peer review results and their own assessments
- After multiple layers of review, a final funding decision is made based on the quality of the application and how well the proposed project will fulfill the program’s mission
So, what’s unique about a “discretionary” grant?
For discretionary grants, the federal awarding agencies review, assess, and evaluate the quality of the grant application to inform their funding decisions—it’s a competitive process.
There are other types of grants, such as mandatory, formula, or block grants, where federal agencies have less discretion in the final funding decision. For these types, grants are awarded based on the minimum eligibility and qualification requirements prescribed by legislation.
We’ll discuss these other grants as we continue our What Is series. Look for our next article in the series—What Is a Mandatory Grant?