How do I apply?

USIP’s grant program recently transitioned to an online grants management system. USIP uses this system to manage all grant competitions and related materials, and it will be used by all applicants, reviewers, grantees, and USIP staff for each step of the application process and grant administration. To register for a specific grant opportunity or competition, go to Click the Register for an Account button to begin the registration process. Applicants will be asked for the following information to register:

  • Project Director’s full name and email address
  • Name of Applicant Organization
  • Proof of Non-Profit Status

USIP staff will configure your account and email you directly with further instructions on how to access the system.  Please be in touch with the relevant point of contact for the competition or write to if you have questions.

What is a concept note?

Most USIP calls for proposals require applicants to submit a concept note--a brief document that summarizes a proposed project’s context, objectives, activities, outputs and outcomes, budget, timeline, and monitoring and evaluation plan. Concept notes are generally quite succinct and should be no longer than 4-5 pages. Please review the requirements for each individual call for proposals. Unfortunately, because of the large volume of concept notes USIP receives, Institute staff cannot provide feedback on concept notes that are not selected to advance in the review process.

What is a full application?

After the deadline for submitting concept notes for a specific grant opportunity passes, USIP staff undertake a review of all submitted concept notes. Applicants whose concepts notes are selected to move forward will be asked to prepare and submit (via the online grants management system) a full application that provides additional detail about the intended project context, objectives, activities, outputs, impact, budget, timeline, and monitoring and evaluation plan, as well as information regarding the applicant organization, including an institutional financial assessment, and the project staff. Guidelines for full applications will be provided only to those whose concepts notes are selected to move forward in the grant process.

May I apply as an individual?

No. Proposals submitted by individuals not affiliated with an eligible institution will not be accepted for any USIP grant opportunity. Applicants must be affiliated with a nonprofit or public institution. Individuals seeking funding may wish to consider applying for a USIP Jennings Randolph Senior Fellowship.

What types of institutions are eligible to apply for funding?

Nonprofit, public and academic institutions in the U.S. or abroad are eligible. U.S. nonprofit organizations must possess 501(c)(3) status prior to applying for a USIP grant and provide documentation of such status with their full application. Non-U.S. organizations must submit proof of nonprofit registration, along with an English translation if applicable, with their full application.

What are the deadlines for USIP grant opportunities?

There is no singular, general deadline for USIP grant opportunities. Such opportunities are posted on USIP’s website throughout the year, and the deadline for submitting concept notes is listed on each individual grant opportunity. USIP cannot accept any concept notes that reach the Institute after the stated deadline for an opportunity has passed.

If I submit an application to a USIP grant opportunity when will I learn of its outcome?

USIP grant staff will be in touch with you as your proposal moves forward through the vetting process. USIP is committed to thoroughly reviewing all concept notes and full applications as quickly as possible.  Depending upon the specific call for proposals, applicants will be informed of the final decisions on grant awards generally within 4-5 months from the date full proposals are submitted.

What is USIP’s grant proposal review process?

Once a full application has been submitted it undergoes a rigorous review by USIP staff and by external peer reviewers who have expertise on the particular topic(s).  A docket of recommended proposals, including reviewers’ assessments, is reviewed by the Executive Office and ultimately by USIP’s Board which makes the final decisions on awards. If an application is approved with conditions, the applicant must meet those conditions before a grant is finalized.

What types of projects are eligible?

A wide variety of projects are eligible depending on the specific grant opportunity. It is important to review carefully the guidelines in the call for proposals to which you are submitting a concept note. Proposed projects that do not clearly relate to the call for proposal will not be considered. All projects must accord with USIP's peace and conflict resolution mission.

Can my organization submit more than one proposal to the same opportunity?

It may submit proposals to more than one call for proposals at a time, but must clearly indicate doing so in all applications. The organization must also ensure that project personnel are not slated to work on more than one USIP-funded project at a time.

How do I prepare a budget?

Your budget request should be an estimate of the funds needed to complete the proposed project within the proposed timeframe.  USIP does not have guidelines for how much activities are likely to cost. This differs from one project to the next.

May I submit a request for funding that includes indirect costs?

Applicants may include in the proposed budget up to 10% of the direct project costs being requested from USIP.  The Institute will fund up to 10% of the direct project costs in the approved budget.

How much money can I request?

Information about the specific grant opportunity will normally include the expected budgetary range of Institute awards under that opportunity.  Within that range, the amount of an award will be based on the proposed budget and work plan, and on negotiations with successful applicants. USIP’s grants officers can provide additional guidance regarding whether a budget proposal is appropriate once an applicant has submitted an application.

Am I required to show funding needed for the project from other donors in addition to that being requested from USIP?

The budget for the project should reflect the total amount you will need to complete the project that you are submitting to USIP for consideration. If your request to USIP is to cover a portion of the funding needed to complete the project, you must provide information about the other donors--both those donors that have already committed funding for the project and those to whom you have already submitted (or plan to submit) applications for additional funding.