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How to Apply

The application window for the FY23 Stage 1 NOFO is now closed. Applications were due October 10, 2023 at 5 PM ET. Late applications will not be accepted. 

To view the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), click here. The NOFO is also posted on Grants.gov.

Below are general instructions for submitting an application for the FY23 Notice of Funding Opportunity. Detailed information is provided in the NOFO, which interested applicants should review in its entirety.  For a simplified version of the process, see the Preparing Your Stage 1 Planning and Prototyping Grant resource. Note that all materials should be submitted at https://usg.valideval.com/teams/USDOT_SMART_2023/signup. Nothing should be submitted on Grants.gov.

Preparing Your Application

  • Learn about the SMART Grants Program: Review the SMART Grants Program Fact Sheet and Notice of Funding Opportunity to determine if your project is a good fit for the program. The Frequently Asked Questions page addresses common programmatic questions. 
  • Review USDOT’s grants resources: The DOT Navigator is a resource to help communities understand the best ways to apply for grants, and to plan for and deliver transformative infrastructure projects and services. 
  • Read the application instructions (NOFO): Carefully follow the requirements described in Section D of the NOFO to prepare your application. If your application does not include the required components in the required format, it may not be considered.
  • Explain your project in plain language: Using plain language and avoiding jargon will help present your concept clearly. The Federal Government has a website with plain language writing resources and DARPA’s set of questions known as the “Heilmeier Catechism” is a long-standing reference for data and technology proposals.
  • Fill out the required Standard Forms (SF).  

Submitting Your Application

Get your proposal in early. Allow for time to troubleshoot technical issues and submit by the deadline. Contact support@valideval.com or smart@dot.gov with any technical issues. Make sure to review the following before beginning your application:

Applying to SMART:

  • Begin the process with SAM.gov: Before preparing your materials, you must have a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) number in order to apply. To request a UEI, please visit SAM.gov. Note this may take up to 30 days. 
  • Register with Valid Eval: Valid Eval is a third-party web-based evaluation platform used by USDOT and other Federal programs to support program evaluation.  Applicants will submit their applications via Valid Eval.
    • Go to Valid Eval’s signup page to sign up. Use your email address to register. This should take approximately 10 minutes and can be done ahead of submitting your application. If you already have an account with Valid Eval, you do not need to register again.
  • Submit application: When you are ready to submit your application go to the same sign-up link as above.
    • Login to your account.
    • Answer all the registration details and key information questions found on the page. 
    • Upload the completed Standard Forms and Proposal Document (the proposal document should be 1 pdf that contains the Project Narrative and Required Appendices) at the bottom of the page. 
    • Click on “submit your application”.
    • You will see a confirmation page letting you know your submission is complete. 
    • If any required details on the page are missing, you will need to scroll up the page and complete the missing details before you can submit your application. Details are not saved if you exit this page before seeing the confirmation page.
    • Once submitted you can return to your application until the NOFO closes, by logging into https://usg.valideval.com/ using the login credentials you created at signup. You can also add additional team members to your profile who may need to be included on any feedback notifications.  

After You Submit:

  • Award notifications: After the USDOT has completed its review process, all applicants will receive an email notification as to whether or not their application was selected for an award.  
  • At that time, applicants will have access to information detailing their project's review process.