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New Sponsor and Subcontractor Requests

If a sponsor or subcontractor is not currently in CERES, you must submit a request for a new organization to the Sponsored Research Business Systems Team.

Processing Time

Please note that processing sponsor and subcontractor requests usually takes 2 – 10 business days, depending on how involved the screening/verification process is. 

While you are waiting for a new sponsor or subcontractor to be added, do not choose a different entity to serve as a temporary placeholder.

  • While you are waiting for a new sponsor, you may select the “TBD” sponsor as a placeholder. Keep in mind that a proposal CAN be submitted while the sponsor is still “TBD” in CERES, so after submitting a request for a new sponsor, proceed as usual with the proposal development and submission.
  • However, for a new subcontractor, you must wait for the subcontractor profile to be set up before you can add the subcontractor and subcontract budget information to CERES.


Why can processing take up to 10 days?

Adding a new entity is data entry, right, so why does it take so long? No! Adding a new entity not just data entry. The screening and verification of a new entity are important compliance procedures that involve both the Sponsored Research and Export Controls offices and must be completed before we will add an entity to CERES.

What can make processing take longer?

Most commonly – though not an exclusively – the following features can cause screening an entity to take longer:

  • Foreign entity
  • Not much official / publicly available info
  • Entity is unresponsive/slow to respond
Why can’t I use a “TBD” subcontractor?

You can move forward with a proposal that has a “TBD” sponsor, but you have to wait for a subcontractor profile to be set up…why is that? Northwestern is accountable to the prime sponsor for its subcontractors. Therefore, before we can include any entity as a subcontractor on a proposal, we must verify that the entity is a legitimate organization (“they are who they say they are”) and in good standing (e.g. NOT debarred/suspended).

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