Proposal Review and Approval Process

The RSP PreAward staff serves faculty and staff by facilitating applications for external funding. To do so, RSP requires a comprehensive pre-submission review of all proposals to ensure complete and accurate applications and compliance with sponsor and university policies. The proposal review process includes PI/PDs notifying RSP of their intentions to apply to an external sponsor, RSP review of all proposal materials, internal routing and approval, and proposal submission.

At times RSP may request changes that will bring a proposal into compliance with guidelines and policies, and/or suggest changes that will enhance a proposal’s competitiveness. When the proposal is complete and all approvals have been secured, RSP provides institutional endorsement of the proposal and either submits the proposal or authorizes the PI/PD to submit the proposal to the sponsor.

Approval and Review Process if UNI is a Subrecipient on a Grant or Contract

When UNI PI/PDs collaborate with external partners, UNI is most likely a subrecipient in another institution's or organization’s project. UNI’s portion of the proposed project and budget are treated as proposals to an external sponsor.  Subrecipient proposal must go through the standard proposal review and approval prior to submission of UNI’s final materials to the lead organization. In such cases, the “submission date” for the internal review process is the date UNI materials are due to the lead organization.

After RSP approval, PreAward staff will prepare a standard subcontract proposal endorsement letter authorizing the lead organization to include UNI in their proposal.

Special Considerations for Collaborative Proposals When UNI is the Lead Applicant

When UNI is the lead applicant of a collaborative proposal where one or more institutions or organizations will receive subaward funds, UNI PI/PDs must obtain an indication of approval to participate in the proposal and project from each organization’s Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) or a designee, an office such a sponsored programs office or research office. The approval may come as a signed letter of endorsement and should include a measure of the organization’s staff time and effort, and the amount of any subaward funds. An endorsement letter template is available.

Per UNI’s internal deadlines for proposal review, outlined below, all collaborator materials must be received no less than 7 full working days prior to the submission date of the full proposal.

Several federal agencies, such as the National Science Foundation, formally recognize collaborative proposals as a distinct type of application with unique submission requirements and processes. PI/PDs should check with RSP when considering any type of collaborative proposal.

Proposals to Limited Submission Competitions

Sponsors may restrict the number of proposals allowed to be submitted to a specific funding opportunity by the university or by the PI/PD. These are referred to as “limited submission” opportunities. RSP monitors UNI applications to limited submission opportunities in order to ensure equitable selection of proposals to be put forth on behalf of the university, and to prevent potential disqualification of UNI proposals due to more than one application being submitted. PI/PDs are responsible for notifying RSP PreAward staff as early as possible if they are considering submitting a proposal to a limited submission competition. In some instances, internal competitions will be held to select the UNI proposal(s) to be submitted.

Faculty and staff should refer to RSP’s Guidelines for Limited Submission Competitions for specific guidance and a list of limited submission competitions to which UNI commonly applies.  

Internal Deadlines for Proposal Review

RSP can provide the highest level of service to faculty and staff when adequate lead time is given to review and approve a proposal prior to submission. RSP staff must frequently review and submit many different proposals with similar deadlines. To most efficiently manage proposal activity, RSP uses the following internal deadlines for all proposals:

1. As soon as possible or at least 12 full working days prior to the submission date - Notify RSP of intent to submit and confirm timeline. This allows RSP to allocate time and staff resources to best assist submitting faculty and staff, and to schedule time for review of the submission.

2. At least 7 full working days prior to the submission date – Provide RSP with a project budget and budget justification, along with a version of the narrative suitable for review.

3. At least 2 full working days prior to the submission date – Provide RSP will all final proposal documents and a completed Proposal Routing and Approval Form (PRAF). RSP will conduct a final file review and approve the proposal. RSP will then submit the application or authorize the PI/PD to do so.

Late Submission to Internal Deadlines

Proposals submitted to RSP after the internal deadlines will be processed on a first-come-first-served basis. Priority is given to those proposals that have been submitted on time and are complete. The PI/PD assumes the risk that late or incomplete proposals may not be submitted, or may be submitted without adequate review. Such a proposal may be withdrawn from funding consideration should it contain errors that would preclude UNI’s acceptance of an award.



See Also:

Steps in Grant/Contract Proposal Review and Approval Process

Sponsored Projects Submission Policy