Best Practices Guidelines

Internal Competition Timeline

Internal competition deadlines are planned based on sponsor deadlines and managed by the Office for Research Advancement (ORA):

  1.  When sponsor deadlines change from one year to the next, the internal competition schedule will change as well. Anticipated dates for future internal competitions are considered approximate until sponsor deadlines are confirmed.
  2.  Competition timelines are set to allow adequate time for internal submissions, review, and full proposal preparation – at least eight weeks or more.
  3.  While we work to stay informed about LSO opportunities, it is not possible to be aware of all limited submissions.  Should you identify a limited opportunity of interest that ORA has not yet announced, please contact our   office at with the competition's name and a link to or PDF of the funding announcement as soon as possible and it will get added to the website list. 
  4.  If the Office for Research Advancement is notified of a limited submission opportunity with insufficient time to conduct an internal competition, an internal competition may not be announced. Available submission slots may be awarded on a "first to notify" basis. This may vary based on the details of a given opportunity; however, the general guideline is six weeks or less to justify the "first to notify" basis.
  5.  Some programs may have additional internal deadlines for College/School/Unit-level review; check with your Unit director, department Chair, or Dean's office to ensure that deadlines at that level of assessment are met.
  6. The ORA will use this internal submission procedure for all situations where there is a practical amount of time between receipt of the first notice from an interested faculty member and the date of the funding agency deadline.

When limited submission programs come to the Office of Research Advancement (ORA)'s attention, we will coordinate a Limited Submission Opportunity (LSO), with the relevant program data posted on our Office for Research Advancement Limited Submission Website.

Internal Review Process

  1. Call for Notices of Intent to Apply
  2. Internal Peer Review
  3. Notify PI's of the projects selected to apply to the LSO


  • For select solicitations, ORA may request an abbreviated  initial notification from any faculty member interested in the program. The purpose is to gauge the level of interest and begin assembling a review panel if needed.
    • In this case, once the initial notifications have been collected, a full Notice of Intent will be requested of each applicant if there are more applicants than slots available.
  • NOIs will be peer-reviewed, and the approved applicant will be selected on that basis. If ORA receives a single NOI, applicants will be approved on a first-to-apply basis.
  • NOI's will be submitted through the InfoReady Platform starting in summer 2023.

The abbreviated initial notification will include:

  • PI Information: Name, email department, or unit
  • Descriptive Title of the Project
  • Funding Opportunity
  • # of applications allowed
  • Funder Deadline
  • Abstract: One or two paragraphs or bullet points that provide an overview of the objective of your proposed research, how you plan to do it, and the expected outcome.

When possible, the internal application requirements will mirror the funding sponsor's requirements to reduce duplication or extraneous paperwork. Depending on those requirements, internal applications may require any subset of these items:

  • Abbreviated CV or biographical sketch of the PI including previous agency experience if applicable
  • Brief (2-page maximum) project summary
  • List of collaborators on this project
  • For opportunities requiring cost share or match, a description of the mandatory institutional cost share for the project and how the cost share would be met [if known], and a letter of cognizance from Dean/Chair indicating support of the cost-share or match.
  • For proposal resubmission, copies of program reviews of prior submission and response to reviewers' remarks.
  • For major equipment acquisition, a description of where the instrument will be housed and a plan for equipment use sustainability.
  • A summary of the proposed project. The summary should address the essential criteria of the funding announcement. For instance, summaries for NSF projects should include discussion of Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts.
  • Current biographical sketch or CV in the sponsor's format of the PI, and submission of biographical sketches or CVs of up to four other senior key personnel
  • List of key personnel and their roles
  • Applicants may also be asked to submit names of faculty members with knowledge of the proposed research area to serve as internal competition reviewers.

The submissions are reviewed and ranked by a review committee composed of peer faculty. Names of potential reviewers are solicited from the Research Council, Associate Deans for Research, and the applicants themselves. When possible, review committees are composed of faculty members from each college, school, or unit represented in the applicant pool.

The requirements of each opportunity drive review criteria. In general, internal applications will be reviewed based on the following criteria:

  • Likelihood of success based on program objectives and review criteria in the agency solicitation
  • Relevance to university's or college's strategic direction
  • Presentation of the project (the clear plan of action, a summary of the project)
  • Qualifications of investigators and collaborators
  • Investigators' track record of successful planning and development of competitive proposals for submission to external sponsors
  • Potential of the project to create impactful outcomes including integration of diversity, equity, and inclusion with research

Feedback for authors of both successful and unsuccessful internal competition proposals may be available from the review committee. Additional resources, such as advice from key administrators and proposal development support from the ORA office, may be offered for those researchers whose proposals are chosen to go forward.

  • Candidates (i.e., proposal submitters) selected as internal competition winners must ensure they know the funding agency's additional requirements beyond the internal competition.
  • Candidates must also complete all regular internal approval processes, including submitting the final application to the sponsor via OSRAA. Candidates are responsible for contacting the appropriate office(s) to prepare and submit the full application.
  • Suppose a proposal is submitted to a funding agency but not funded. In that case, the review committee or ORA may request feedback from the researcher (e.g., written reviews from the sponsor, ratings/rankings/scores) to better select and prepare proposals for the next round of the internal competition.
  • Suppose a candidate is no longer able to apply for a limited submission opportunity. In that case, the PI must notify ORA immediately to allow another colleague the chance to move forward with a submission.
  • Failure to submit a final proposal to the funding agency after being selected as an internal competition winner will be a significant factor in considering future internal competition applications from a candidate.

Should you identify a limited opportunity of interest that ORA has not yet announced, please contact our office at with the competition's name and a link to or PDF of the funding announcement as soon as possible.