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Proposal Deadline Policy FAQ

Read the slide deckor  view the recording of the Proposal Deadline Policy Q&A Session (Thursday, March 16).


Does the policy apply to deadlines of April 3 (or later) OR proposals routed on April 3 (and thereafter)?

The new policy applies to proposals routed to Sponsored Research on April 3 and thereafter. The first deadline the new policy applies to is Monday, April 10. To be guaranteed on-time submission to the sponsor, proposals due on April 10 should be routed to Sponsored Research by April 3 (or earlier).

What about proposals due within the five business days after CERES goes live? Will there be a grace period to allow time to build proposals in the new system?

Proposals in CERES will be reviewed on a first-in, first-out basis in line with the policy. SR recommends focusing on routing proposals first that are due shortly following the system launch. 

Timing & Queuing

How do you calculate at least five (5) business days before the published deadline?

To calculate five business days, start counting at 1 the day before the sponsor due date. (The sponsor's due date is Day 0.) University closures and holidays are not counted. For example, five business days prior to the Monday, June 5, 2023 deadline is Friday, May 26, due to the university holiday on Monday May 29.

June 5 deadline example displayed in calendar format

By what time are proposals due on the internal deadline due date?

There is no hard time-of-day deadline on the actual internal due date. Since the systems (IE and CERES) can reflect the actual time of receipt, as long as the time stamp is on or before the internal due date, we will accept that as on-time.

Is first-in, first-out being managed by capsule or across the University? 

First in, first-out will be managed by capsule. 

Where can units see the proposal queue, including a designation for proposals submitted outside policy? 

Capsule Business Reps can access the Capsule Dashboard to see the number of proposals by capsule.

How will Sponsored Research handle sponsor-initiated proposals when a faculty member is invited to submit with a short turnaround time?

Proposals with documentation of sponsor invitation without a published deadline will be submitted within five (5) days of SR receiving a complete, compliant proposal.

Is there a prioritization for proposals that come into SR the day they are due?

Proposals are reviewed and submitted on a first-in, first-out basis, in the order they are received. Compliant, complete proposals, submitted on time will not be deprioritized by late proposals.

If I get my proposal in to SR at least five (5) business days but there are adjustments needed, will my proposal still be considered on time for guaranteed submission?

Proposals that are ready to submit at least five (5) business days before the deadline are guaranteed submission. If a corrected proposal is received after the five (5) business day deadline, it is not considered on time. In other words, if the proposal needs to be corrected and then is re-routed to SR less than five (5) business days before the sponsor deadline, it is not on time – even if the proposal was originally routed to SR five (5) or more business days in advance of the sponsor deadline.

Will any exceptions be made to the priority of submission?

Proposals are submitted based on their arrival into the queue. All applications will be treated the same regardless of scale or deadline date.

How will faculty and RAs know where they are in the full queue? If CERES allows them to swap out science documents after it is submitted to SR, how can they judge how long they may have for that to be done?

In CERES, the proposal moves to Specialist Review (SR) after the final level of departmental approval is in place. The PI certification needs to be complete before the final departmental approver can approve.

Review & Comments

What constitutes a complete proposal?

A complete proposal application is comprised of the final technical, administrative, and supplementary documents and internal requirements for an application that are ready for submission.  This includes all necessary department, school, institutional approvals and requirements such as cost share approvals.

What level of review will be done if a proposal is routed to SR at least five (5) days before the sponsor deadline?

All proposals will receive the same level of review based on SR proposal review criteria.

Will there be an additional five (5) business day deadline for a pre-review of the "admin shell"?

Reviews are no longer separated, i.e., there are no distinct administrative and final reviews.  There is one review of the final, complete, compliant, accurate, application for submission to the sponsor. Proposals should arrive as final and complete – this includes complete technical and administrative components. 

What is the SR commitment on turnaround time to review a proposal received per the policy? When can we expect comments back from SR after routing a proposal?

SR targets up to two (2) business days for reviewing a proposal. The implementation of this policy will prevent any delays in review of submissions getting deprioritized by last minute proposals.

What if SR has a question and sends it back but our answer doesn't change anything in the proposal. Will it still lose its spot and be considered late?

For a quick question or clarification, the email functionality connected to the funding proposal will be utilized and the FP will not be returned; however, a response will be required within a reasonable timeframe to ensure that the application is not in a holding pattern in SR for an extended period of time.

Will the RA have another chance to upload new versions of documents prior to submission? What happens if SR has no clarifications to request?

Proposals should only be routed to SR when the complete, compliant application is ready to submit. When SR has no corrections to request, they will proceed with submission to the sponsor (for system-to-system proposals).

Will the "admin shell review" process continue under the new policy?

Reviews are no longer separated, i.e., there are no distinct administrative and final reviews.  There is one review of the final, complete, compliant, accurate, application for submission to the sponsor. Proposals should arrive as final and complete – this includes complete technical and administrative components. (See also slide 15 from March 16th Q&A session.)

Submission & Notifications

If proposals are ready for submission five (5) days prior to due date, when will the proposal be submitted to the sponsor by SR?

If SR did not request revisions in a proposal, then it is being submitted upon completion of the review. The goal is to submit proposals as early as possible.

Will SR verify the proposal is ready to be submitted with the PI/Department?

Submission to SR will serve as the indicator and verification that the proposal is final and ready to be submitted to the sponsor.

Will SR return a proposal automatically if the science is missing or will SR perform the review and note the missing science so that it can be addressed by the department? Can we submit proposals for dept review without uploading the science documents?

SR will return incomplete proposals without review. Local business process will apply for earlier steps in the process, including department review.

Will SR still submit my proposal if it arrives at SR the day it is due?

SR will do its best to submit all applications; however, any complete application arriving after the five (5) business day deadline will not be guaranteed for submission.

Will SR still submit applications that come in after 5:00PM?

Submission cannot be guaranteed for proposal applications that arrive after 5:00PM or that are not complete.

SR does not review the science, so why is there a need to complete the science 5 business days before the deadline?

The sponsor requires a full proposal package to submit. Effective with the new policy Sponsored Research will proceed with submitting proposals if no corrections are identified. Therefore the complete science needs to be included. Refer to the Sponsored Research Proposal Deadline Policy for additional context.

If my application has been submitted to the sponsor and there are changes needed, will SR resubmit?

If a proposal was successfully submitted, SR will not resubmit unless there are institutional compliance reasons for doing so.

What types of proposals are most at risk of not being submitted?

Any proposal that is incomplete or arrives after the five (5) business day deadline is not guaranteed for submission.  Applications with additional complexities, such as those that require acceptance of award terms, should be submitted as early as possible in order to facilitate that review.

Will Sponsored Research send a notice if a proposal submission is rejected due to lack of time? Who will SR notify if a proposal is not submitted?

If a proposal is rejected by a sponsor system and SR receives a rejection notice or notification that a proposal has been withdrawn, SR will forward the notice to the RA and PI.

Other Questions

Who will be accountable when faculty do not provide documents by the deadline? When RAs receive short notice of a due date?

The faculty member is accountable /responsible for communicating deadlines and providing documents to RA’s and accepts the risk of a failed submission (to the sponsor) if a complete, compliant proposal does not arrive in SR at least five (5) business days ahead of the sponsor’s deadline.

Does this policy apply to RPPRs?

We have a high rate of RPPR’s arriving to SR late. Though the policy does not explicitly apply to RPPR’s, it’s a best practice to follow the guidelines from the policy for submission of RPPR’s.

If the "route for specialist review" means the proposal is ready for submission, how do we assure SR confirms with the PI the science documents are final in case they are being updated or found an error?

SR will not require ready for submission confirmation as routing and submission of the proposal to SR is the indication it is ready to be submitted.

How will after the fact proposals be handled? Currently those are not prioritized.

After-the-fact proposals are handled via the award acceptance process. Proposals to sponsors should be routed for review by Sponsored Research *prior* to submission to the sponsor.

Who are capsule business reps? Why not give access to everyone to view the queue?

Capsule business representatives attend Quarterly Business Meetings with their SR capsule team, and have access to capsule-based reports. In CERES, similar reports will be embedded into the application and will be accessible to all CERES users.

Who should be contacted about this policy?

Email policy-related questions to

How will the policy be enforced or how will it (proposals) be managed? Who will enforce them? Will there be a protocol to handle repeat late offenders?

Sponsored Research will enforce the deadline policy. Sponsored Research leadership will provide updates to the VPR.

Can our DA/Chair be granted ASO authority to submit proposals?

The Authorized Organizational Representative is in Sponsored Research, delegated authority granted by the Vice President for Research, who has delegated authority from the University President.


In light of submission timing being dependant on fully correct submission, does CERES have more internal error checking features than InfoEd?

For system-to-system submissions, RAs should execute the 'Validate Submission' activity prior to routing for approvals. This activity first runs validations; once those pass, then the system checks (for NIH proposals) eRA Commons validations.

Can science be edited for system-to-system proposal submissions after the proposal is routed to SR for review?

No. In CERES, system-to-system proposals should arrive in SR with the SF424 record in ‘Valid for Submission’ state, with all required components included and ready to submit.

How do F&A waivers and PI Waivers get approved before we route for review if they are now required to be completed when we do?

In CERES, these waivers are routed for approval via Ancillary Reviews, which can be initiated at any state in the Funding Proposal workflow, including Draft.

Will edits to the proposal record as a whole be allowed if review notes require changes?

In the Clarifications Requested state, the Funding Proposal, Budget and SF424 are all editable in CERES.

I believe that the PI has edit access to the CERES record. Given that the PHS 398 Research Plan page is unlocked while the proposal is in specialist review, what happens if the PI uploads a revised document in that area after we submit for specialist review?

Editing the SF424 during Specialist Review is not recommended, as SR will be proceeding with submission if no corrections are identified from the 'Reviewed' column on the Proposal Review Criteria.

How can we can ask questions of Sponsored Research before submission so that we will get answers quickly?

For CERES-related questions, RAs should continue to request help via SR's email account. In addition, the Huron team will provide weekly drop-in office hours through the summer.

There are circumstances where a PI will be traveling and unable to access the VPN or the system to approve the proposal for pre-route, so it's been helpful to be able to route for approvals early to capture their approval and then be able to finalize and edit the record, before sending to SR, in case we receive anything from Co-Investigators later. With the shift Ceres, will this strategy no longer be feasible? And, if that's the case, what guidance do you have in that circumstance?

PI certification in CERES is separate from the departmental approval workflow, and can occur at any point in the Draft and Department Review states.

When is the proposal freeze?

Please see CERES Cutover Timeline. April 13 is the last date to submit proposals for review in InfoEd. All proposals received in SR by 5 pm April 13 will be reviewed and submitted from InfoEd.