8 Oct 2022


Different Types of Grants

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Grants are sums of money awarded to an individual or an organization to finance a particular activity. Federal agencies and various profitable and nonprofit organizations have grant programs. These grants are given to fund projects to solve identified needs in society. Applicants for grants must submit proposals which will be reviewed by grant makers. There are different types of grants serving different purposes as seen below: 

Block Grants 

Block grants are large sums of money awarded to state and local governments by the federal government. Block grants serve general purposes such as community development and law enforcement. This type of grants comes with few strings attached such that the federal government can dictate how the local government spends the money. In a federal nation, the state and federal government have unique powers and responsibilities, however, federal government can influence the state government using grants. 

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Nonetheless, block grants have a number of advantages. They are less restrictive compared to other forms of grants. The state and local authorities have some level of autonomy in using the grant. The biggest disadvantage of a block grant is misuse of the money. States and local governments are known to misuse the grant money in certain occasions since the federal government does not monitor their spending. An example of a block grant is temporary assistance for needy families (TANF). 

Employment Grants 

Employment grants are given to organizations to support their business by hiring, training and retaining new employees. Employment grants are supposed to help an organization expand so that the organization can hire more people. There are many types of employment grants available to organizations depending on what the organization specializes in. Hence, types of employment grants are: retraining grants, vocational rehabilitation grants, job counselling grants and labor union grants. It is worth noting that a bigger percentage of employment grants is awarded to non-profit organizations, healthcare agencies, colleges, tribal institutions and schools. An example of an employment grant is an aboriginal-focused program that funds organizations that work towards improving the long-term employability of Aboriginal people. 

Though NGOs are also the biggest source of employment grants, the federal government through Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) also funds organizations to implement the necessary training need by employees for job placement. An advantage of employment grant is that it is used to instill knowledge and develop skills among the employees so that they can improve their employment prospects. However, one disadvantage is that organizations applying for employment grants must meet certain requirements. 

Program Grants 

Program grants are the most frequently used type of grants. The purpose of program grants is to provide support to high caliber researchers so that they can pursue comprehensive and collaborative research activities to address societal issues within a given area. Program grants are more complex in scope and budget than an individual research grant. Teams applying for program grants are expected to do extensive research and come up with new knowledge that will address the issue at a global level. 

Program research grants are given for a longer period of time, typically for 1- 5 years, due to the extensive nature of the research. An example of a program grant program is Medical Research Council programs aimed at controlling infectious diseases in a specific population. 

The main advantage of program grant is that it awards highly skilled researchers with huge amounts of money so that they can study an issue and come up with practical ways of solving the issue. Also, the researchers are given a high level of autonomy in spending the money as long as they achieve their objective. However, a major drawback for program grant is the application process. Researchers go through a very tasking application process and yet they might not receive the grant. 

Technology Grants 

Technology grants are awarded to individuals, small businesses, nonprofits, and schools to help them acquire the necessary technology to improve their productivity and knowledge. Technology grants are offered by the governments and organizations to institutions that use technology to bring positive change. An example of a technology grant is the Assistive Technology Scheme targeting schools, the scheme helps schools to purchase equipment for special education for students with special needs. 

The main advantage of technology grant is that it is used to improve the lives of the recipients. Technology grants are used to purchase the right technology which are used to address greater societal problems. Unfortunately, technology grants come with restrictions. The recipients are monitored to ensure that they implement everything as per the proposal (Cisco, 2016). 

Construction Grants 

Construction grants are available to public and nonprofit private entities to fund construction projects. Construction grants are given to organizations that create usable space or improve existing space, for instance, making buildings accessible to handicapped individuals. Applicants of construction grants respond to funding opportunity announcements (FOA), and in some cases the government provides construction funding for ongoing programs. An example of construction grant is library construction grant program aimed at improving that states of libraries across the country. 

The most notable advantage of construction grants is that they are used to improve that state of important buildings in the community such as libraries, community halls and airports. One disadvantage associated with the grant is that the applicant of the grant has to meet a lot of requirements in the FOA, and the government will have a degree of control on the usage of the grant money. 

Research Grants 

Lastly, a research grants are awarded to researchers and research institutions. A research grant is almost similar to a program grant, the only difference is that a research grant can be awarded to a research institution to support continuation of the research facility. A research grant is awarded for any period up to five years as long as the researchers provide clear justification for longer timescale (Bozemann & Gaughan, 2007). Research grants emphasize on the need for novel collaborations particularly among researchers from different countries. However, there are small scale research grants that can be even awarded to undergraduate students. Research grants are diverse in nature, for instance, the department of health can support a research on childhood obesity because it is a rising health issue in the U.S. and across the globe. 

An advantage of research grant is that it gives the researchers a degree of flexibility regarding the subject of the research and the usage of the grant. While the research grant is known to cover longer periods, the most common complaint among researchers is that the grant money is not usually enough to cover the expensive and lengthy research. 

In conclusion, there are different types of grants. Each grant is unique on its own in that it has different advantages and disadvantages. The existence of different types of grants show that anyone with a good idea or a research proposal to address societal issues can attain the much need funding. 


Bozeman, B., & Gaughan, M. (2007). Impacts of grants and contracts on academic researchers’ interactions with industry.    Research policy ,    36 (5), 694-707. 

Cisco. (2016). Product Grant Program: Technology grants to community organizations. Retrieved from: http://csr.cisco.com/pages/product-grant-program 

Study.com. (2016). Block Grants: Definition & Examples. Retrieved from: http://study.com/academy/lesson/block-grants-definition-examples.html 

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