Life Cycle Overview

The Grants Life Cycle has three major stages: pre-award, award, and post-award. The applicant / recipient and awarding agency have unique roles in each stage. The duration of an award may vary depending on the nature of the project. General descriptions of each stage are provided below; however, actual assistance awards may differ due to unique circumstances or legislation requirements. For a more in-depth look at the grants process, please visit the Department of Health and Human Services website.

Grants Life Cycle

Grants Life Cycle: Pre-Award

Grants Life Cycle: Award

Grants Life Cycle: Post-Award


The pre-award phase begins when the agency plans for the solicitation through Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFOs) and ends after applications have been reviewed and scored. Applicants submit assurances and certifications verifying compliance with federal statutes as part of the pre-award process.

Key Pre-Award Activities
Applicant CDC
  1. Review notice of funding opportunity (NOFOs) to determine eligibility
  2. Develop an internal strategy prior to submitting application, as required by the NOFO
  3. Complete required registration [i.e., System for Award Management (SAM),, and eRA Commons]
  4. Develop and submit application, as required by the NOFO
  1. Select assistance mechanism
  2. Develop NOFOs
  3. Post NOFO to
  4. Determine applicants eligibility
  5. Conduct review of applications
  6. Notify successful and unsuccessful applicants

Most grants are made through a competitive application process; however, many grants are noncompetitive. A grant may be awarded without Competition if either Congress or the CDC determines that a single organization is the best resource. Noncompetitive grants can include new awards, supplements, extensions, and continuations.

The competitive process begins with the awarding agency (i.e., CDC) publishing the NOFO on The NOFO describes in detail the purpose of the award, eligibility requirements, estimated award amount(s), application deadline, funding time period, and method of selection.

Applications that meet the eligibility requirements, respond to the established requirements of the NOFO, and are submitted on-time are reviewed and scored based on the criteria published in the NOFO.

Research applications are reviewed for both scientific merit and ability to meet programmatic needs. Non-research applications are reviewed for ability to meet programmatic needs.

For more information visit, How to Apply.


After the review of all applications, the awarding agency will determine whether an award will be made. If an applicant is successful, then the agency will notify the applicant by issuing a Notice of Award (NoA). If the applicant is unsuccessful, the agency will notify the applicant, via correspondence, and provide specific details relating to the decision.

Non-research grant recipients will be assigned to your grants in GrantSolutions. The Principal Investigator and the Authorizing Official noted on the grant application will be assigned automatically or be issued new GrantSolutions accounts if needed. All non-research grants are managed in GrantSolutions. You can learn more on our GrantSolutions for Grantees web page.

Key Award Activities
Recipient CDC
  1. Discuss and revise budgets, as necessary
  2. Submit assurances and certifications
  3. Receive a copy of the NoA via email
  4. Draw down the money to legally accept the terms and conditions (T&C) of the NoA.
  1. Provide notification of award/non-award to applicants
  2. Analyze budget requests
  3. Negotiate budgets, as necessary
  4. Review assurances and certifications
  5. Send the NoA to applicant

Awards are made according to rank, score, and specific selection criteria stated in the NOFO and are subject to availability of funds.

For more information, visit Already have a CDC Grant?


The post-award phase begins when a successful applicant, known as a known as a recipient, expends awarded funds and starts work on achieving the outcome(s) of the grant. This phase encompasses ongoing monitoring of the funded project.

The post-award phase concludes after the period of performance ends and closeout activities are completed.

Key Post-Award Activities
Recipient CDC
  1. Expend awarded funds
  2. Perform proposed activities in accordance with the NOFO and application
  3. Submit timely programmatic progress and financial reports, as required by NoA
  4. Report any changes in the project or proposed activities, as appropriate
  5. Submit documentation required for closeout
  6. Participate in audit activities, as appropriate
  1. Monitor performance in accordance with the NOFO
  2. Ensure compliance with the terms and conditions of the NoA
  3. Oversee closeout activities
  4. Participate in audit activities, as appropriate

Upon receipt of a NoA, recipient begin performing the proposed activities in accordance with the terms and conditions of the NoA.

Recipient provide periodic programmatic and financial reports to the awarding agency, as required by the terms and conditions of the NoA . The agency reviews the programmatic and financial reports and works with recipient throughout the post-award phase to ensure all required documentation is submitted and accurate.

Closeout occurs after the end of the period of performance. This is a process that ensures recipient have met all financial and reporting requirements.

For more information, visit Already have a CDC Grant? logo