National Historical Publications & Records Commission

Professional Development Grant Announcement

Grant Announcement:

Professional Development Grants for Archives and Historical Publishing

The National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), a part of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), supports projects that promote the preservation and use of America's documentary heritage essential to understanding our democracy, history, and culture.

The following grant application information is for Professional Development Grants for Archives and Historical Publishing.

There are two competitions each year in this category. Applicants may apply against either deadline.

First competition:
Funding Opportunity Number: PRODEV-201006

  • Draft Deadline (optional):   April 1, 2010
  • Final Deadline:   June 3, 2010

NHPRC support begins no earlier than January 1, 2011.

Second competition:
Funding Opportunity Number: PRODEV-201010

  • Draft Deadline (optional):   August 2, 2010
  • Final Deadline:   October 7, 2010

NHPRC support begins no earlier than July 1, 2011.

The deadline for this opportunity has passed. New guidelines may be available in June 2011. These guidelines may be used for reference, but should NOT be used to prepare an application.

Grant Program Description

The National Historical Publications and Records Commission seeks proposals to improve the training and education of professionals in the archival and historical publishing communities.

Projects can be for professional education curriculum development; for basic and advanced institutes; or research seminars. Surveys, focus groups, and other activities to understand these professions and their educational and training needs are also eligible. In general, projects should anticipate results that will affect individuals in more than a single state. If your project is focused only on a single state, the proposal narrative must explain why the State Historical Records Advisory Board in your state cannot manage the proposed project. If staff review cannot find the information, the application will be ineligible.

This program does not support requests from individuals for their own training, education, or professional advancement.

For a comprehensive list of the Commission's limitations on funding, please see What We Do and Do Not Fund (

Award Information

A grant normally is for one to three years and up to $150,000. The Commission expects to make up to 4 grants in this category, for a total of up to $300,000 during the two rounds in a fiscal year.


  • United States nonprofit organizations and institutions
  • Colleges, universities, and other academic institutions
  • State or local government agencies
  • Federally-acknowledged or state-recognized Native American tribes or groups

Applicant organizations must be registered in Central Contractor Registration (CCR) prior to submitting an application, maintain CCR registration throughout the application and award process, and include a valid DUNS number in their application. Details on CCR registration and requesting a DUNS number can be found at the Central Contractor Registration website.

Ineligible applications will not be reviewed.

Cost Sharing

Cost sharing is required. It is the financial contribution the applicant pledges to the cost of a project. Cost sharing can include both direct and indirect expenses, in-kind contributions, non-Federal third-party contributions, and any income earned directly by the project. The NHPRC will provide up to 50 percent of the total project costs.

Application and Submission Information

Applicants should follow the instructions on how to fill out the online forms and apply electronically using the Application Instructions for information on how to fill out the application forms.

The NHPRC generally requires that grant applications be submitted via In the event that is experiencing technical difficulties that prevent submission, applicants must first attempt to resolve the issue with the Contact Center (800-518-4726). If cannot solve the problem, applicants may request an alternative. To make use of the NHPRC backup system, applicants must contact the Grants Program Specialist at (202) 357-5010 no later than 3:00 PM Eastern Time on the day of the deadline with their valid Contact Center trouble-ticket number.

A complete application includes the Application for Federal Assistance (Standard Form 424), Assurances -- Non-Construction Programs (Standard Form 424B), a Project Narrative, Summary, Supplementary Materials, and Budget. In order to ensure eligibility, applicants should first review the Federal grant administration rules and regulations governing grants from the NHPRC listed in the Administering an NHPRC Grant section.

Project Narrative

The Project Narrative is a description of the proposal. It should be no more than 20 double-spaced pages in 12-pt type on 8.5 x 11 inch paper with standard margins.

Please organize your narrative in sections:

1. Describe your project's overall purpose and long-term goals. Be sure to identify explicitly the audience for your project and explain the need for this type of professional development, including, if applicable, in the federal workforce. Refer to studies that have demonstrated the need for this project. Explain how the project builds on your organization's professional knowledge, training, and experiences. Describe the size and nature of the project's audiences and how you intend to reach them. Explain how the activities proposed will have a significant impact on professional practices.

2. Describe the plan of work for the grant period. Describe in detail the types of activities you intend to engage in and the relationships among them. Outline each stage of the planned work and include the costs for each major stage. Be certain to include enough time to evaluate the impact of the project on participants and the field. If needed for clarification, include in the supplementary materials charts that identify the people, time, and resources needed for each stage.

3. Describe the products you will produce for the completed project. These may include reports, survey data and summaries, training sessions, recommendations, curriculum material, and other products, as well as related publicity. Describe the audience for each proposed product and the intended outreach plan. Justify what you will charge for any product. Describe how you are going to track the use of the products created through your project.

4. For the people or positions in the proposal, provide a narrative explanation of the qualifications of the staff that will contribute to the success of this project. Demonstrate that the project staff has the skills, educational background, and experience appropriate to the project. Explain the roles of all staff named in the project budget, both for those already on staff and for those to be hired. Include descriptions of outside project advisors, reviewers, and evaluators. In the supplementary materials, provide a résumé of not more than two pages per person for all staff named in the project budget. For those staff or consultants to be hired for the project, provide position descriptions or call for consultants.

5. List four to six measurable objectives. Focus on quantifiable results that reflect what you intend to accomplish and complete during the grant period. For example, how many people, from the target audience, will be reached by the project; how many participants will gain, retain, and use knowledge over the short and long-term; how many publications will describe the project.

Project Summary

The Project Summary should be no more than 3 double-spaced pages in 12-pt type on 8.5 x 11 inch paper with standard margins, and it should include these sections:

  • Project's Purpose and Significance
  • Methods
  • Plan of Work for the Grant Period
  • Products to be completed during the Grant Period
  • Names, Titles, Institutions, Phone Numbers, and E-Mail Addresses of the Project Director and Key Personnel
    Please ensure that the project director listed on this summary is the same person listed in Section 8 (f), of the SF 424. If your institution requires a different contact person on the SF 424, please explain in one sentence.
  • Performance Objectives

Supplementary Materials

Attach up to 20 pages of Supplementary Materials to your Narrative, including:

  • Résumés of named project staff (please use only institutional addresses and phone numbers) (required)
  • Position announcement for any new positions to be paid for by grant funds (required, if applicable)
  • Detailed work plan charts (required)
  • Statements of commitment to the project by partners or interested groups

If these materials are available on a web site, please provide a URL.

Project Budget

You must submit a budget on the NHPRC Budget Form available on the Application Instructions page. Note that the form itself contains additional instructions. You may include with your application a narrative budget supplement for budget categories that require further detail. Provide specific budget figures, rounding to the nearest dollar.

Applicants will be asked to compute the project costs to be charged to grant funds as well as those that will be supported by the applicant through cost sharing, which includes both direct and indirect expenses, in-kind contributions, non-Federal third-party contributions, and any income earned directly by the project. All of the items listed, whether supported by grant funds or cost-sharing contributions, must be reasonable and necessary to accomplish project objectives, allowable in terms of the applicable federal cost principles, auditable, and incurred during the grant period. Applicants should review the appropriate Office of Management and Budget circulars on cost principles.

Charges to the project for items such as salaries, fringe benefits, travel, and contractual services must conform to the written policies and established practices of the applicant organization. In addition, successful applicants will be required to certify that they have adequate accounting and timekeeping procedures to meet Federal requirements.

Budget Categories

In preparing the budget, please follow the suggestions below in each of the categories:

Salaries:   List each staff position and the full salary to be charged to the project and show the percentage of time each staff member will devote to the project. Indicate which positions are to be filled for the proposed project and which personnel are already on the staff of the applicant institution. Grant funds may be used to pay the salaries of only those individuals actually working on the project. You may count the time provided to the project by advisory board members.

Fringe Benefits:   Include employee benefits using your organization's standard rates. No separate benefits should be included for positions that are computed at a daily rate or using honoraria.

Consultant Fees:   Include payments for consultant services and honoraria. Provide justification for large or unusual consultant fees. Include consultant travel expenses in the "Travel" category.

Travel:   Include transportation, lodging, and per diem expenses. The NHPRC does not fund staff travel to professional meetings unless the travel is essential to accomplish the goals of the project.

Supplies and Materials:   Include routine office supplies and supplies ordinarily used in professional practices. Justify the cost of specialized materials and supplies in a supplemental budget narrative.

Services:   Include the cost of duplication and printing, long-distance telephone, equipment leasing, postage, contracts with third parties, and other services that you are not including under other budget categories or as indirect-cost expenses. The costs of project activities to be undertaken by each third-party contractor should be included in this category as a single line item charge. Include a complete itemization of the costs in a supplemental budget narrative.

Other Costs:   Include costs for necessary equipment above $5,000, stipends for participants in projects, and other items not included in previous grant categories. The NHPRC does not provide grant funds for the acquisition of routine equipment such as office furnishings and file cabinets, but we may allow for the purchase of archival equipment, such as shelving units, and technical equipment, such as computers and peripherals, essential for a project. Include technical specifications for equipment over $5,000 in a supplemental budget narrative.

Submission Dates and Times

First competition

  • Draft (optional) Deadline: April 1, 2010
  • Final Deadline: June 3, 2010

Applications must be submitted electronically by midnight Eastern Time on June 3, 2010.

NHPRC support begins no earlier than January 1, 2011.

Second competition

  • Draft (optional) Deadline: August 2, 2010
  • Final Deadline: October 7, 2010

Applications must be submitted electronically by midnight Eastern Time on October 6, 2010.

NHPRC support begins no earlier than July 1, 2011.

Deadline Policy: Given that technical or administrative difficulties with may periodically delay the timely submission or receipt of applications, the Commission staff will make provisions for the receipt of such applications past the established deadline. Under these circumstances, applicants with technical or administrative issues related to must contact NHPRC staff at (202) 357-5010 as soon as possible, but no later than by 3:00 PM Eastern Time on the published application deadline. Applications that fail to meet deadlines for reasons other than those noted will not be considered for funding.

Application Review Information

The NHPRC staff will acknowledge receipt of the application soon after we receive it. The following evaluation criteria and weights will be used by NHPRC staff and other reviewers to form recommendations:

Criteria for Professional Development Projects

  1. Ability of the project to address important needs in the education and training of professionals in the archival and historical publishing communities. (30 percent)
  2. Ability of the project to improve best practices in the training of archival and historical editing professionals, and the transferability of these methods for wider use in these communities, including those who work in the federal government. (30 percent)
  3. Ability to complete the project's proposed objectives, judged by the qualifications of the staff and the reasonableness of the work plan and budget (including cost share). (25 percent)
  4. Effectiveness of the dissemination plans for the project's results. (15 percent)

Application Review Process

After submitting a proposal, do not discuss the pending application to the NHPRC with any Member of the Commission. Commission Members must ensure fair and equitable treatment of all applications and do not discuss proposals with individual applicants.

  • Peer Reviewers
    We may ask 5 to 10 external peer reviewers to evaluate the proposal.
  • Commission Staff
    Approximately 3 months after the submission deadline, the Project Director receives blind copies of reviewers' comments and questions from the Commission staff. Applicants have an opportunity to expand on the material provided in the application, clear up any misconceptions, and generally strengthen the proposal before the Commission meeting. Staff makes overall recommendations to the Archivist, who chairs the Commission, based on the appropriateness of the project in meeting the Commission's goals, the proposal's completeness, conformity to application requirements and overall eligibility, and answers to the questions letter.
  • The Commission
    After reviewing proposals, the comments of peer reviewers, the applicants' responses to the reviews, and evaluations by the Commission staff, Commission members deliberate on proposals and make funding recommendations to the Archivist of the United States who, as Commission Chairman, has final statutory authority and selects award recipients. Throughout this process, all members of the Commission and its staff follow conflict-of-interest rules to assure fair and equal treatment of every application.

Award Administration Information


Grants are contingent upon available appropriated funds. In some cases, the Commission will adjust grant amounts depending upon the number of recommended proposals, priorities, and total budget. The Commission may recommend that the Archivist approve the proposal and extend an offer of a grant with applicable terms and conditions, or it may recommend rejection of the proposal.

Grant applicants will be notified within 2 weeks after the Archivist’s decision.

Agency Contact

Applicants are encouraged to contact Lucy Barber, Deputy Executive Director, 202-357-5306, who may:

  • Advise the applicant about the review process;
  • Answer questions about what activities are eligible for support;
  • Supply samples of successful applications;
  • Read and comment on a preliminary draft. Applicants should submit a draft at least 2 months before the deadline.

For more information on how to comply with Federal regulations, see our Administering a Grant section.

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