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Limited Submissions

Limited Submissions

The U of I has a limited submission selection process because government agencies, private foundations, and corporate sponsors often accept only a limited number of proposals, applications, or nominations from a single institution (thus the term "Limited Submissions").

A list of current Limited Submission opportunities


The OVCR oversees the limited submission selection process and chooses the proposals that will be submitted. The normal process for selection is outlined below, although exceptions are made in certain situations, for example, when the deadline is short, when the program is highly focused, or when a strategic interest of the University is impacted.  The OVCR normally delegates responsibility for programs related to graduate student education and research to the Graduate College and may delegate responsibility for other specialized funding opportunities to other campus units. The delegated unit is responsible for the application process, reviews, and campus approval and may follow procedures different from those outlined below.

Faculty and other researchers wishing to pursue a limited submission opportunity must work with the OVCR or the delegated unit. A researcher responding to a limited submission opportunity must follow the process outlined below and obtain campus approval prior to sending a proposal to the Sponsored Program Administration.

Transmitting Information about Limited Submission Opportunities

The OVCR will notify the research community of limited submission funding opportunities in a biweekly announcement and will perform a "downselect" when we receive significant interest from a number of researchers for a particular opportunity. If another unit will make the selection, this will be indicated in the notification to the research community.

The OVCR sometimes does not announce new or narrowly targeted opportunities, but instead relies on relevant administrative units to identify the opportunities and notify their researchers. Researchers intending to compete for such an opportunity are expected to submit a notice-of-intent at least 14 weeks prior to proposal submission to make OVCR aware of the opportunity and their interest. This will allow the OVCR to determine the need for an internal downselect.  Researchers who do not notify the OVCR at least 14 weeks prior to the sponsor's deadline are not guaranteed consideration in an internal downselect for such opportunities.

Downselect Process

The normal selection process is straightforward: the OVCR announces opportunities, researchers express interest, then proposals are selected. See specific details below. 

Campus Announcement

The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research announces opportunities via a biweekly e-mail announcement. Join our mailing list. 

Notice of Intent 

Interested researchers are asked to submit a Notice of Intent by the posted date (typically at least 14 weeks prior to the sponsor deadline). For each principal investigator and co-investigator, the Notice should include: 

  • Name
  • Title 
  • Phone Number 
  • University Email Address
  • Proposal Title 
  • Funding Agency
  • Link to Funding Opportunity Announcement

This information will facilitate the selection of reviewers. The submission of a Notice of Intent is optional, but highly encouraged.

Pre-proposal Application

The researcher must submit an electronic pre-proposal by the posted date (typically 12 weeks prior to sponsor deadline).  Researchers who do not submit a preproposal by the posted date are not guaranteed consideration in an internal downselect.

Pre-proposal guidelines vary according to the funding opportunity.  Please contact for pre-proposal instructions for the limited submissions opportunity of interest.

Selection Advisory Panel

The OVCR uses the Notices of Intent to identify a selection advisory panel. For research proposals, panels usually comprise associate deans for research (ADRs), institute directors representative of appropriate disciplines, and faculty identified by the ADRs or the OVCR. In cooperation with colleges/institutes, additional faculty may be recruited to serve on the panels. When the funding opportunity is from a private foundation, the panel usually includes a representative of the Office of Foundation Relations.

Selection Process 

Selection advisory panel members review and rank the pre-proposals, taking into account which pre-proposal teams will have the best chance of success in external competition and which pre-proposals are best aligned with the University's strategic goals. They may meet to discuss the combined rankings. The recommendations are forwarded to the VCR for approval. Panel members are encouraged to provide written feedback to be shared with applicants, along with any informal feedback that may be helpful in formulating a final decision. To ensure that PIs have adequate time to prepare final proposals, the reviewers and the OVCR work to provide PIs with a rapid response.

Selection Notification

The OVCR electronically notifies the colleges/institutes, ADRs, department heads, and OSP. The OVCR also sends applicants written feedback from the review panel.

Faculty Responsibility

Researchers who are selected to apply for limited submission opportunities are expected to work with the appropriate administrative units to prepare strong proposals and to submit those proposals by the designated deadline. A researcher who declines the selection must notify the OVCR as soon as possible so that another researcher may compete.