Through its competitive grant process, EDA evaluates all project applications to determine the extent to which they:
- Align with EDA’s investment priorities,
- Effectively address the creation and/or retention of high-quality jobs,
- Document that the applicant can or will leverage other resources, both public and private, and
- Demonstrate the applicant’s capacity to commence the proposed project promptly, to use funds quickly and effectively, and provide a clear scope of work that includes a description of specific, measureable project outputs.
EDA’s investment priorities are designed to provide an overarching framework to guide the agency’s investment portfolio to ensure its investments contribute the strongest positive impact on sustainable regional economic growth and diversification. Competitive applications will be responsive to the evaluation criteria listed under each individual funding announcement, including at least one of the following investment priorities:
- Collaborative Regional Innovation
Projects that increase the development and growth of innovation clusters1 which, based on objective economic data, are existing regional competitive strengths. Such initiatives must engage relevant stakeholders; facilitate collaboration among urban, suburban, and rural (including tribal) areas; provide stability for economic development through long-term intergovernmental and public/private collaboration; and support the growth of existing and emerging industries.
- Public/Private Partnerships
Projects that use both public and private sector assets and complementary investments by other government/public entities and/or nonprofits.
- National Strategic Priorities
- encourage job growth and business expansion in manufacturing, including advanced manufacturing, sustainable manufacturing, and manufacturing supply chains;
- assist communities severely impacted by the declining use of coal;
- increase economic resiliency, including resilience to the effects of natural disasters and climate change;
- assist with natural disaster mitigation and recovery;
- are aimed at restoring or improving urban waters and the communities that surround them; and
- assist and/or support:
- information technology infrastructure (for example, broadband or smart grid);
- communities severely impacted by industry restructuring;
- job-driven skills development;
- access to capital for small- and medium-sized and ethnically diverse enterprises;
- innovations in science and health care; and advancement of science and research parks, other technology transfer, or technology commercialization efforts.
Projects that support high-growth businesses and innovation-based entrepreneurs to expand and compete in global markets, especially investments that expand U.S. exports, encourage foreign direct investment, promote the repatriation of jobs back to the U.S, and position U.S. firms to become leaders in global industries.
Projects that promote job creation and economic prosperity through enhancing environmental quality and developing and implementing green products, processes, places, and buildings as part of the green economy. This includes projects that encourage job growth, business expansion, and innovations in energy-efficient technologies and clean energy, including alternative fuel technologies. Additional information is available on EDA’s website at https://www.eda.gov/pdf/GreenGrowthOverview.pdf. (PDF)
Investments that strengthen diverse communities that have suffered disproportionate economic distress and job losses and/or are rebuilding to become more competitive in the global economy, including economic development initiatives that help unemployed and underemployed young adults obtain the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed.