Proposal Submission and Timeline


It is the responsibility of the PI to route their proposal for timely submission to the sponsor. For proposals where the internal approval process is started less than three (3) business days prior to the sponsor's deadline, the PI accepts the risks of the proposal missing the deadline or being rejected for errors.

Please check with your pre-award specialist about the appropriate internal approvals checklist, a comprehensive guide on what you need to complete before proposal submission.

  • If the application is to be submitted electronically, the Office of Research will provide technical support (including uploading documents, if necessary) and take care of the electronic signature. For many electronic submissions, there are parts that must be completed by the PI and parts that must be completed by the Office of Research. Plan to be available on submission day to answer last minute questions, especially for electronic submissions. Occasionally, questions arise that are not covered in the application guidelines. If a paper application is required, the Office of Research will manage copying and shipping.

    Deadlines vary widely among sponsors and sponsor programs. Proposals must be submitted to sponsor no later than 5PM on the due date, regardless of the sponsor's deadline. 

  • In some cases, identical proposals may be submitted simultaneously to more than one sponsor provided each sponsor is advised that this has occurred. Careful attention must be given to agency restrictions on the submission of identical proposals to multiple sponsors. Please consult the Office of Research well in advance of any deadlines.

  • Email a copy of the abstract, budget, and budget justification to the Office of Research for pre-approval. They will follow up with some more question required for the Cayuse system. The budget is usually the most time consuming portion of a proposal to check, and advance copies allow us to help correct possible errors while the text is still in its draft stage.

    Email or call OR if the proposal is being submitted in response to a specific Broad Agency Announcement, Request for Proposals, Research Announcement, etc. so that we can review the proposal along with the solicitation guidelines.

    Allow time for corrections and make sure a contact is available. In many cases, proposals are ready to be signed and submitted without further correction or revision. However, there are times when corrections need to be made, particularly if a budget has not been sent in advance or if a PI is applying to a sponsor with which s/he or the OR is unfamiliar. Allowing time for corrections helps to ensure the proposal is at its best when it is sent out. The PI and/or a departmental/divisional contact must be available to make corrections until the proposal is ready to submit to the sponsor.


This timeline is not intended to represent the most the Office of Research can do, but the minimum the Office of Research will do. If possible, the Office of Research will provide a more thorough review of the proposal and will let PIs know when a proposal will receive less than a complete review due to time constraints.

  • At last three weeks prior to the deadline:

    • Please notify the Office of Research preaward staff ( of your intent to submit a proposal by sending a link to the program to which you intend to apply. A preaward staff member will contact you to discuss how the office can support your proposal; they will also review program guidelines and develop a checklist and timeline for completing and submitting the proposal.

    At least two weeks prior to the deadline:

    • Start circulating Cover Pages, Letters of Support/Commitment or other program-specific documents that require signatures from your Chair, Dean, President, etc.
    • Provide narrative and budget drafts to preaward staff to enable them to enter project data into/initiate electronic routing through Smart Grant. You will still be able to edit your proposal while it is going through the approval process. You, your chair, and your dean will all need to approve the proposal in Smart Grant. If your Chair/Dean requires a final draft approval, make sure you finish your proposal early so the approval process can be completed in a timely manner.

    At least 3 days prior to the deadline:

    • All documents for submission must be received by preaward staff to guarantee an on-time submission.
  • If drafts are received at least 10 days prior to submission:

    • surface editing support (punctuation, spelling, readability)
    • budget development (salaries, fringe, supplies, equipment, travel etc.; relevance to project description, cost-sharing)

    If drafts are received at least 7 days prior to submission:

    • comparison of proposal to sponsor's guidelines (e.g. forms and formating, proposal checklist)
    • compliance issues (e.g., human/animal subjects, health and safety, conflict of interest)

    If final documents are received at least 3 days prior to submission:

    • final review of documents, including budget and compliance check
    • proposal pack to PI for final review

    If the completed proposal is received less than 24 hours prior to submission, the pre-award team will review and submit the proposal as time allows, but cannot assure successful submission of proposals.