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Policy No: 2045
Responsible Office: Sponsored Projects Administration
Last Review Date: 06/08/2020
Next Required Review: 06/08/2022

External Proposal Submission Policy


1. Purpose

With the advent of electronic proposal submission, it is extremely risky to submit proposals at the last minute. SPA has experienced rejections by sponsors with same–day proposals because errors prevented submission through e-systems. In order to avoid rejections of late or incomplete proposals, it is necessary to adopt rules guiding submission of proposals to external sponsors.

As a customer service unit of the University, SPA is dedicated to assuring timely submission of accurate and fully compliant proposals. To achieve this commitment, SPA must have adequate time for review and to work with investigators and unit grant administrators to resolve potential issues which could otherwise result in rejection or decreased odds of funding.

2. Applicability

This policy applies to Academic Affairs, Research and Economic Development and Medical Affairs faculty and staff, or anyone else submitting proposals to an external sponsor on behalf of the University to request support for sponsored projects. The policy applies when the University is the direct award recipient and instances in which the University is a collaborator/sub awardee. The policy also includes those pre-proposals or any type of submission prior to a full proposal which requires authorized official approval and/or submission via a sponsor system.

3. Definitions

Proposal: A document prepared for submission to an external agency for funding consideration.

Principal Investigator (PI): The University principal who is responsible for the overall project, including sponsored activity, financial oversight and compliance with sponsor and University policies.

Business elements: Segments of a proposal including but not limited to budget, budget justification, cost share commitment, identification of required resources, bio-sketches, supporting documents for subrecipients, compliance documents, and FCOI documents.

Sponsor: A federal agency, private entity, non-profit organization, institution or other external entity that provides funding or other support for sponsored activity.

Submission: Action taken to officially transmit the proposal to the external funding agency.

Unit: Department, College or other recognized University area from which the proposal originates.

Grant Administrator: The individual, usually resident within a unit, who has contact responsibility for proposals and is familiar with the unit’s internal business process.

24-hours: This time period must occur during normal operational hours for the University and SPA, which excludes holidays, weekend days, or emergency closings.  If the proposal deadline occurs during a holiday or another day when the University is closed, the 24-hours would advance from the last operational day prior to the submission deadline.

Transmittal Sheet: Paper document to be used only during time of recognized Cayuse disruption caused by events outside of the University’s control. Transmittal sheets will be used only when campus-wide notification is presented by SPA. 

4. Policy Guidelines

All proposals must be transmitted through Cayuse and received by the Office of Sponsored Projects Administration Office (SPA) AT LEAST 24-HOURS IN ADVANCE OF THE SPONSOR DEADLINE. Submissions received less than 24-hours prior to sponsor deadline WILL NOT be submitted. Some exceptional circumstances may constitute approval of a waiver of this internal deadline (see 5.1).

For a complete and full review, proposals, amendments, and supplements must be routed through Cayuse and received by SPA at least three business days in advance of the sponsor deadline. Proposals which are not received by this deadline are subject to minimal review and potentially risk not being accepted by sponsor e-systems because there is insufficient time to revise.

NOTE: This policy only addresses the requirements of SPA. Additional requirements made by units might possibly advance deadlines but cannot displace the requirements of this policy.

5. Procedures

5.1  Review Procedures

NOTE: It is essential that unit grant administrators be available during the anticipated review and submission process. Lack of necessary communication and participation by these individuals can delay review and impact submission.

Proposals received at least three days in advance of sponsor deadline: will have business elements in final form but the Scope of Work or Narrative may still be in draft, given the Scope of Work is detailed enough when presented to connect to budget and other business elements. These proposals will be given a detailed review by SPA staff to assure compliant submission to sponsor. If a draft Scope of Work or Narrative is used for review and routing purposes for those proposals at least three days in advance of the deadline, the final Scope of Work or Narrative should be uploaded to Cayuse to be included in the Cayuse proposal prior to submission to sponsor.

Proposals received less than three days (but more than 24-hours) in advance of sponsor deadline: will receive fundamental review to the extent reasonable, given the complexity of the proposal, time allowed for review, and possible need of revision. All required proposal elements should be in final form, including the Scope of Work or Narrative. 

Proposals received less than 24-hours in advance of sponsor deadline: will NOT be submitted to the potential sponsor. Any proposals refused submission under these conditions will be the responsibility of the PI and not SPA.

Special Circumstances: Under exceptional circumstances, the Executive Director of Sponsored Projects Administration will allow a proposal to be submitted which is received less than 24-hours in advance of the sponsor deadline if a Late Submission Waiver is approved by the Dean of the College/School and the Vice President of Research and Economic Development. Approved waivers must be uploaded to Cayuse and accompany the routing proposal.

Late Submission Waivers may be approved under the following conditions:

    • APPROVED WAIVERS AND EXCEPTIONS:
      • Official University emergency closure;
      • PI serious illness, injury, or death of a key individual;
      • Documented notification of the funding opportunity made public less than two weeks prior to the deadline;
      • Sponsor technical system complications experienced, with documented support from the sponsor;
      • Temporary or ad hoc service by a PD/PI on an NIH advisory group during the two months preceding or the two months following the application due date. Examples of qualifying service include: participation in an NIH study section/special emphasis panel, NIH Board of Scientific Counselors, Program Advisory Committee, or an NIH Advisory Board/Council. Qualifying service does not include participation in NIH activities other than those involved in extramural/intramural peer review or NIH Advisory Council/Board service.

NOTE: Proposals approved for submission by waiver will not be reviewed and will only be submitted as time permits; however, no guarantees can be made by SPA that submissions will be error-free or will ultimately be accepted by the sponsor.

5.2  Procedures for Submission During Cayuse Disruption*

In the event of Cayuse system disruption caused by events outside the University, SPA will require a signed Transmittal Sheet to be routed prior to proposal submission. The fully executed Transmittal Sheet should be received by SPA no later than five working hours prior to the deadline for submission. When Cayuse is restored to full service, all information should be entered into Cayuse SP by the unit to record submission history. *SPA will release a campus-wide notification if these procedures are required.

5.3  Requirement to Meet Outstanding Reports

It is necessary for Principal Investigators to have all outstanding reports submitted and approved by a sponsor prior to submitting additional proposals for funding consideration. This condition is mandated by the sponsor. Failure to meet this requisite action may cause future proposals to be ineligible for funding consideration. 

6. Enforcement

The responsible parties for oversight and enforcement of this policy are:

Policy Oversight: Vice President for Office of Research and Economic Development.

Policy Enforcement: Executive Director, Sponsored Projects Administration.

7. Related Documents

Not Applicable.