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Partners' Plans

Partners' Plans
& Results
Pages with this graphic describe the NIFA budget-performance cycle. Navigating through this cycle can be accomplished by following the links in the text or by clicking on the various components of the graphic above.

NIFA achieves its mission to advance knowledge for agriculture, the environment, human health and well-being, and communities through its two functions of program leadership and Federal assistance. Ninety-six per cent of NIFA's funds go out the door as grants supporting research, education, and extension programs on topics as diverse as genomics to nutrition education.

To receive these funds, NIFA's partners must submit plans, either as proposals or as plans of work, and report on the results of their activities. These plans and reports serve as the primary source of information for the agency regarding grantee plans and results from work supported by NIFA funds, and thus serve as the foundation for evaluating progress towards program goals and effectiveness of NIFA programs. The agency is working with its partners to improve reporting on outcomes (changes in knowledge, action, and/or condition) to better support these needs.

NIFA funds two basic types of grants: proposal-based and formula-based.

Proposal-Based Grants

Proposal-based grants are awarded by the agency through competitive programs, where proposals are awarded based upon the recommendations of peer-review panels, or as directed by Congress.


Once NIFA receives an appropriation for a proposal-based program (competitive or other grants), it develops a request for applications (RFA) based on stakeholder input. In addition, NIFA National Program Leaders (NPLs) obtain input from proposal peer-review panels, attendance at professional meetings, research findings, and their other interactions with scientists, universities, and stakeholders. The resulting RFAs are posted on the NIFA Web site and on Grants.gov. These RFAs form NIFA's plans for accomplishing the goals of the program.

In response to these RFAs, researchers, educators, and extension professionals submit proposals outlining their projects in support of the program's goals. These proposals describe anticipated results (outputs, outcomes, and impacts), as well as background and proposed methodology. Thus, awarded proposals form our partner's plans for accomplishing the goals of the program.


NIFA learns of the results of proposal-based grants through progress reports grantees are required to submit to the agency while the grant is active. Once the grant has terminated, the agency is dependant on project directors voluntarily informing NPLs of the outcomes originating from NIFA funding.

For more information on grant reporting, see the CRIS and One Solution Web pages.

Formula-Based Grants

NIFA provides support for research and extension activities at land-grant institutions through Federal funds that are appropriated to the states on the basis of statutory formulas. Formula grants are awarded to the institutions which then divide them into multiple projects or programs within the authority of the program.


Prior to receiving funds, recipients of Smith-Lever 3(b) & (c), Hatch, Evans-Allen, and 1890 extension formula grants are required to have NIFA-approved Plans of Work in place on a rolling five-year basis. These Plans are required to describe stakeholder input processes, how stakeholder input is considered, planned programs based on logic models, and plans on resource allocation to the planned programs.

Other formula-based programs supported by the agency require approved plans or proposals prior to receiving funds.


Recipients of Smith-Lever 3(b) & (c), Hatch, Evans-Allen, and 1890 extension formula grants are required to submit annual reports describing the previous year's stakeholder input processes and utilization, and the results of work on planned programs in a logic model format. The long-term, on-going relationship established by these formula programs facilitates the reporting of outcomes resulting from many years of NIFA-sponsored work.

Other formula-based programs supported by the agency require reports at a program or project level on results from funded work.