Research & Innovation limited submissions policy
October 30, 2021
The objective of this limited submission policy is to encourage the development of competitive research proposals through a transparent and consistent process that does not place undue burden on faculty.
What is a limited submission?
Limited submissions are those funding opportunities from federal, state or foundation sponsors that limit the number of submissions an institution may submit. The sponsor sets the limit, which may be per funding cycle deadline, per funding track, or per discipline/topic area. If more than the allowed number of proposals are submitted, the sponsor could return all submissions without review. Sometimes, the sponsor will review the first proposal they receive, rejecting all subsequent submissions. Therefore, it is imperative that an organized and transparent internal selection process takes place so the most competitive research proposal is submitted by the University.
At the University of Nevada, Reno, the vice president for research and innovation (VPRI) oversees the limited submission internal selection process and makes the final determination. The associate vice president for research (AVPR) is charged with implementing the internal announcements, administering the down-select process, and communicating the resulting decision.
Every effort is made to identify limited submission funding opportunities and to coordinate an internal review process well in advance of the agency due date. However, if a researcher identifies a limited submission, and an internal deadline has not been announced through the ResearchNotes email list or Pivot, that researcher must email the associate vice president for research at email@example.com to obtain permission to submit. Depending on the agency timeline and the level of expressed interest, permission to submit may be granted on a first-come, first-served basis. Alternatively, an internal competition may be organized and an internal deadline announced.
There are many limited submission funding opportunities offered by various sponsors. Research & Proposal Development Services curates these opportunities to identify those that align with our institutional research strengths, or are otherwise expected to receive sufficient faculty interest. For those limited submission funding opportunities that do not align with our institutional research strengths, or are not expected to receive sufficient faculty interest to warrant an internal competition, there will be no internal deadline posted in the email to the ResearchNotes list serve or on the Funding Opportunity page on Pivot. If faculty would like to apply to one of these limited submissions, they are responsible for submitting an email of intent as soon as possible to firstname.lastname@example.org. Depending on the agency timeline and the level of expressed interest, permission to submit may be granted on a first-come, first-served basis. Alternatively, an internal competition may be organized and an internal deadline announced.
Limited submission process
For limited submissions that receive sufficient interest, or those in high-priority research areas, an internal selection process will take place in order to determine the most competitive proposal.
Limited submission funding opportunities will be identified primarily through Pivot. Once identified, an internal deadline will be established. Ideally, this internal deadline will allow for at least two weeks for faculty to prepare the internal pre-proposal and at least two weeks for the process of ranking preproposals and providing rankings to the VPRI. If circumstances dictate that this ideal timeline be shortened, the priority will be to maintain the longest possible length of time between the notification of the selected Principal Investigators (PIs) and the due date to the sponsor. This is to ensure the maximum portion of the overall timeline is given to the selected researcher or researchers for preparing the full proposal submission to the sponsor.
The steps of the internal selection process include: identification, pre-proposal submission, external ranking, VPRI decision, PI notification and follow up.
Step 1: Identification
Limited submissions are identified and internal deadlines are assigned to them on a weekly basis. They are communicated to faculty in two ways:
- ResearchNotes: An email with all current limited submissions and internal deadlines is distributed to the ResearchNotes list serve every other week. If there is no internal deadline posted, the researcher is responsible for emailing the AVPR at email@example.com with their intent to submit as soon as possible. Depending on the agency timeline and the level of expressed interest, permission to submit may be granted on a first-come, first-served basis. Alternatively, an internal competition may be organized and an internal deadline announced.
- Pivot: The most comprehensive, though not exhaustive, list of limited submission funding opportunities can be found on Pivot, the University’s grant funding database. Internal deadlines for pre-proposals are posted at the bottom of Pivot’s Funding Opportunity page. Internal deadlines are updated or added weekly. If there is no internal deadline posted, the researcher is responsible for emailing the associate vice president for research at firstname.lastname@example.org with their intent to submit as soon as possible. Depending on the agency timeline and the level of expressed interest, permission to submit may be granted on a first-come, first-served basis. Alternatively, an internal competition may be organized and an internal deadline announced.
Step 2: Pre-proposal submission
Some limited submissions will have an internal due date by which a pre-proposal must be submitted.
These due dates will be listed in the ResearchNotes email, and the funding opportunity detail page on Pivot.
All pre-proposals must be submitted by 5 p.m. on the posted deadline through the limited submissions online application.
If the AVPR does not receive any pre-proposals by the due date, approval to submit may still be given to interested PIs on a first-come, first-served basis.
Unless otherwise noted, all pre-proposals must be in the following format:
- Three-page project description addressing the proposal-specific review criteria (references may be included on additional pages)
- Standard biosketch for PI and Co-PIs in the format stipulated in the funding opportunity announcement (FOA)
- One-page summary of budget for the total project period
In addition to the standard pre-proposal format above, the following information will be collected with each pre-proposal submission via the online form:
- Title of funding opportunity
- Title of proposal
- PI name
- List of up to four Co-PIs
- Co-PI rank
- Co-PI department
- Co-PI college
- Amount requested
- Acknowledgement of cost share commitment, if applicable
- If the proposal has been previously submitted to the sponsor in response to the same FOA, a PDF file of the reviewer comments and a one-page summary of PI response to those comments must be uploaded.
- Acknowledgement that, if chosen as the University of Nevada, Reno’s applicant for this limited submission funding opportunity, the submitting PI is responsible for completing their submission to the sponsor by the posted deadline.
- Acknowledgement that if the PI is not able to submit by the sponsor deadline, they will notify email@example.com immediately of this decision. Failure to notify the AVPR could result in ineligibility to reapply for future cycles of the same limited submission funding opportunity. Persistent failure to submit to the funder, after being internally selected for a limited submission, could result in ineligibility to reapply for future limited submissions.
- Acknowledgement that the AVPR may request sponsor reviews for non-funded proposals.
Step 3: External ranking
All pre-proposal submissions are reviewed externally by The Implementation Group’s external review service, or, if the turn-around time is limited, internally by an interdisciplinary committee of faculty members from several colleges and departments (as appropriate for the call). In certain instances, a combination of external and internal panels will be used. The final decision is made by the VPRI.
Pre-proposals should abide by the regular rules of grantsmanship. Reviewers will evaluate pre-proposals against the broad criteria points below:
- Responsiveness to the FOA
- Scientific merit
- Alignment with the sponsor’s funding priorities
- Assessment of competitiveness within the context of the funding landscape
- Responsiveness to review comments from previous submission, if applicable
- Any other criteria deemed important to the particular funding opportunity
Step 4: Decision and PI notification
Pre-proposal rankings are returned to the AVPR and the VPRI, who make the final determination. Their decision criteria include:
- Ranking and evaluation by external review service/review panel
- Alignment with UNR’s strategic research objectives
- Cost share considerations
- Any other criteria deemed important to the particular funding opportunity
Any resubmission will be treated as a new proposal. Resubmissions will not be given preference.
Within two to three business days of receiving the ranking from the pre-proposal reviewers, and according to the criteria outlined above, the VPRI will make a determination. The AVPR will email each PI with the decision, whether approved to submit or not.
Approval emails are sent to the PI who submitted the proposal, and copied to the following individuals:
- Proposal capture manager
- Director of sponsored projects
- Chair of PI’s department
- Dean of PI’s college
- Research grant coordinator of PI’s college
Decline emails are sent to the PI who submitted the proposal, and copied to the following individuals:
- Proposal capture manager
Step 5: Follow up
Faculty who are selected to submit their proposal must work with the appropriate administrative support service to ensure their full proposal is as competitive as possible.
Each faculty member who is selected to apply for a limited submission has the following responsibilities:
- Submit their full proposal to the sponsor by the deadline.
- Notify the AVPR immediately if they will not submit their full proposal to the funder by the deadline. If time permits, another pre-proposal may be selected to proceed. Failure to submit the selected proposal to the sponsor by the deadline will result in notification to the PI’s dean and chair, and persistent failure to notify the AVPR could result in the PI’s ineligibility to reapply to future cycles of the same limited submission funding opportunity.
- A change in lead PI must be submitted to the AVPR for approval.
- Submit a copy of the full proposal to the AVPR if requested.
Submit sponsor reviews for non-funded proposals to the AVPR if requested.