Best Practices Guidelines

Internal Competition Timeline

Internal competition deadlines are planned based on sponsor deadlines and managed by the Office for Research Development (ORD)

  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 ORD has not yet announced, please contact our   office 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 Development 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 ORD 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 Development (ORD)'s attention, we will coordinate a Limited Submission Opportunity (LSO), with the relevant program data posted on our Office for Research Development 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, ORD may request an abbreviated internal Notice of Intent (NOI) 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 NOIs have been collected, a pre-proposal will be requested of each applicant if there are more applicants than slots available.
  • Pre-proposals will be peer-reviewed, and the approved applicant will be selected on that basis. If ORD receives an insufficient number of Letters of Intent, applicants will be approved on a first-to-apply basis.
  • NOI's must be submitted through the SMARTSHEET Platform.

The abbreviated NOI 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.

If the number of NOIs exceeds the sponsor's limitation, an invitation to submit an internal pre-proposal will be sent soon after that, along with its deadline. Faculty should email if they submitted an NOI and did not receive an invitation to submit an internal pre-proposal since the email may have been filtered in the junk mail. Pre-proposals will be due shortly after the pre-proposal invitation is sent.

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, grammar)
  • Qualifications of investigators and collaborators
  • Investigators' track record of successful planning and development of competitive proposals for submission to external sponsors

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 ORD 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 ORD 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 ORD 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 ORD has not yet announced, please contact our office with the competition's name and a link to or PDF of the funding announcement as soon as possible.