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I know you can apply for fellowships for individual students, but I'm not talking about funding only for one's self. Let's say I noticed a grant that was solicited on grants.gov and I wanted to apply for it. Can I do that? The nature of these grants is to supply the awardee with funding for experimental set-ups, student funding (undergrad/grad), and other various research supplies.

& As a follow up question, is it possible to apply, if your PI is applying for this funding as well. Basically, could I send in a proposal and my PI could as well? Are there some restrictions here? I've read through the solicitation's eligibility and couldn't find anything about multiple names being on different proposals, or if we were to apply separately, then having the funding go to the same group under different names. Just curious if anyone knew. I'll write back, if I find more info.

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Technically, in the US, most grants are not normally submitted directly by the principal investigator, but are instead sent in via a "grants office" that acts as the interface between the principal investigator and the funding agency.

Consequently, in addition to the grant-specific funding rules you have from a specific funding agency, you also have to deal with whatever restrictions your university grant-office has. For instance, it's not likely that your grants office will accept a proposal submitted by a graduate student instead of by a faculty member or similar personnel (lecturer, research professor, etc.).

In general, though, you need to read the requirements of the individual granting agency, as well as ask your local grants office.

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For your first question: you'd have to read the funding agency's rules for an authoritative answer. I think the most likely case is that there are no restrictions on who may apply for the grant, and proposals from students would be considered, at least in principle.

However, your chances of getting such a proposal accepted would be somewhere between extremely slim and none. The review panel is going to have serious doubts that a student will have the necessary experience and expertise to successfully manage and carry out the project. Your proposal would have to convince them that you do, and unless your circumstances are very unusual, this will probably be impossible. Given the substantial time and effort needed to prepare a grant proposal, it's almost certainly not worth it.

For your second question: the PI normally lists on the grant application all everyone participating in the project who will be supported by the grant, including students. Those people are normally not eligible to apply for their own funding. And if you are not on the grant, then you're nominally working independently of the PI, and why would an agency want to award grants to two different people to do the same thing?

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    the most likely case is that there are no restrictions on who may apply for the grant — Really? I would expect exactly the opposite. – JeffE Aug 8 '13 at 12:20

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