Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Grants Management

Federal agencies are embracing artificial intelligence (AI) to improve how the government delivers services to the American people. In the grants world, AI has served as a powerful tool for clarifying funding criteria, strengthening funding applications, and analyzing regulatory data. GrantSolutions Federal lead Jay Black sat down with Department of the Interior (DOI) Deputy Assistant Secretary Andrea Brandon at the National Grants Management Association Annual Grants Training to discuss how AI can be leveraged by grantors and recipients to simplify the grant process.

AI Use Cases for Federal Agencies

The discussion highlighted multiple ways Federal agencies are using AI to benefit both grant recipients and staff members. Jay brought up how GrantSolutions Partner agencies have access to an AI-powered text analyzer tool, which reviews Notice of Funding Opportunities and recommends clearer language that would be easier for a recipient to understand. Andrea indicated that DOI utilizes this tool to ensure recipients can interpret funding criteria and provide the appropriate data in their applications.

Additionally, Andrea mentioned that DOI is working to integrate AI into staff training to help maximize workflow efficiency and identify areas of strengths and weaknesses. She said that the goal is for AI to act as a “personal trainer” for staff as progress in their roles, particularly those within the complex grants management process. Issues such as repeat questions from staff would be flagged by the AI system for supervisors to address and clarify.

AI Tools for Recipients

The audience also heard about the many ways organizations seeking funding can use AI to improve their applications. Specifically, Andrea made the point that AI is “leveling the playing field” for recipients that do not have resources for a grant writer or legal expert. She provided the example of generative AI tools like ChatGPT that can analyze an application, compare it to one that was successfully funded, and suggest stronger language that better complies with a grant program’s criteria.

OMB Guidance & the Future of AI Implementation

Looking forward, Jay and Andrea discussed how future guidance from the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will shape the implementation of AI in the Federal government, outlining both the push for innovation and consideration of ethical implications. They agreed that agencies will need to balance issues of cybersecurity and data integrity with the administration’s overall goal of incorporating AI technology into government programs and services.

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