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Institutional Endorsement of Proposals when Submissions are Limited by External Funding Agency


Establish a process to select among proposals for external funding when the agency limits the number of submissions that may be submitted by investigators at a single institution.

Applies to: 

Investigators responding to solicitations from external funding sources imposing limits on the number of submissions.

Policy Statement: 
  1. Procedures followed when the number of submissions per institution is limited
    1. Generally, when limited submission opportunities are identified, an announcement will be posted to the KU Research website, and a notification will be disseminated to faculty, researchers, deans and directors. Interested respondents will be asked to submit a Notice of Intent (NOI) for a specified deadline, normally one week after the opportunity is announced. If the number of NOI received does not exceed the number of allowed proposals, all investigators will be encouraged to proceed and will be directed to Pre-Award Services or their preferred research center for assistance with proposal submission. If KU-L and KUMC are considered one institution, the announcement and subsequent selection will be coordinated between KU Research and KUMCRI.   

    2. If the number of NOI received exceeds the number of allowed proposals, the respondents will be asked to submit a brief pre-proposal for a specified deadline. The Associate Vice Chancellor for Research (AVCR) will convene an internal committee usually consisting of three members to evaluate the pre-proposals based on the criteria specified in the program announcement, and select the appropriate number to be endorsed for submission. The AVCR coordinates the committee evaluation process and will select the pre-proposal(s) going forward based on the recommendations of the committee 

    3. All investigators will be informed promptly of the committee's decision, and provided with brief written feedback from the committee. They will also be encouraged to contact the relevant Associate Vice Chancellor for Research for additional information about factors that influenced the committee's decision.

      Some limited opportunities are focused on a specific field of study or open to only a specific group. In these cases, it will be more appropriate to target the opportunity to those who match the specificity. When the opportunity is limited to particular departments or schools, chairs and/or deans will be involved in the selection process.

  2. Criteria for review committee selection

    The make-up of the review committee will be determined by the Associate Vice Chancellor for Research. If the limit on the number of submissions applies to KUMC and KU-L jointly, then this decision will be made in consultation with representatives of KUMC, and the committee will ordinarily include faculty from both campuses. Committee members will be selected from faculty with the expertise necessary to evaluate the quality of the proposal, and experience with the criteria applied by national review committees. For proposals involving major instrumentation or institutional infrastructure, the reviewers are often selected at the dean or center director level. To the extent possible, review committees will not include members from the same departments as the investigators submitting pre-proposals.

    Investigators who submit a pre-proposal may include suggestions of faculty members whom they believe are especially well qualified to evaluate pre-proposals. They may also communicate concerns they may have about potential committee members’ conflicts to the assigned AVCR.

  3. Criteria for evaluation of pre-proposals

    The criteria used for evaluating pre-proposals reflect the criteria stated in the program announcement. In preparing pre-proposals, the investigator(s) should pay careful attention the criteria used by the review committee. In each case, the review committee seeks to determine whether the investigator is aware of the important issues that must be considered as expressed in the program announcement. Consequently, investigators are advised to pay careful attention to the specific instructions provided by the funding agency. Nonetheless, several general considerations can be elaborated that are commonly included in program announcements:

    • What is the specific problem(s) to be addressed in the proposal?
    • Why is this problem important and how would a resolution contribute to our overall understanding of the issues raised?
    • Is there a clear implementation plan that proceeds logically toward the resolution of the identified issues?
    • What will be the impact of the work derived from this support?
    • Other issues of varying importance depending on the funding source.
    • The track record (publication/grant funding record) of the applicant(s).
    • Involvement of students/minorities in the project
    • Dissemination of knowledge gained from the project.
    • Impact of funding on an individual investigator.
    • Ability to engage individuals from diverse disciplines.
    • A clear project management plan (especially for large projects)

If a proposal has been submitted to the external funding agency the previous year and showed considerable promise, but was not funded, this consideration is weighed into the final decision.


Office of Research

Approved by: 
Vice Chancellor for Research
Approved on: 
Friday, March 16, 2007
Effective on: 
Friday, March 16, 2007
Review Cycle: 
Annual (As Needed)

To an increasing extent, granting agencies, especially NSF and NIH, are turning to limited submission as a means of restricting the number of proposals that may be submitted by a university in response to a given program announcement. In instances when more investigators wish to submit proposals than the agency limit allows, the KU Office of Research has developed procedures designed to select the most competitive proposals as fairly and objectively as possible and to do this expeditiously in order to give investigators the maximum opportunity to prepare their proposal.

Proposals, Internal Competitions, Limited Submission, Review Criteria
Change History: 

02/06/2020: Updated Contact section.
10/01/2018: Updated Contact section.
01/18/2018: Updated Contact section. 
02/22/2016: Policy revised to expedite the review process. Changes endorsed by the Faculty Senate Research Committee prior to final approval from the Vice Chancellor for Research.
07/02/2014: Updated references to 'Office of Research' to reflect accurate title; selected 'Lawrence' for required Campus field; reformatted List of Sections and Policy Statement to add outline structure; created anchors for main topics of Policy Statement, and added the links to those from List of Sections; reformatted Contact; updated and reformatted link under Related Other; provided headings for Steps I - IV under Procedures.
9/10/2012: Change Contact information.

Research and Sponsored Projects Category: 
Research and Sponsored Projects

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