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Proposal Review & Submission

Acting in the capacity of the University’s designated authorized institutional official, Sponsored Research staff review and approve all sponsored research proposals on behalf of the Principal Investigator and the University.  Sponsored Research provides a pre-submission proposal review to ensure a complete proposal and compliance with sponsor and Northwestern institutional policies. At times Sponsored Research requests changes that will bring the proposal into compliance with guidelines and policies or suggests changes to enhance funding success. When the proposal is complete, Sponsored Research provides institutional endorsement of the proposal.

Sponsored Research Proposal Review

SR Proposal Review is a set of review criteria and related routing processes for Sponsored Research review, endorsement, and submission of competing grant proposals. SR Proposal Review provides a streamlined and standardized review process of sponsored research proposals and enables Sponsored Research staff to focus on areas of risk/compliance.  Please note that SR Proposal Review criteria specifically exclude corporate / pharmaceutical funding and RPPR submissions.

Effective April 3, 2023: In order to guarantee on-time sponsor submission, a complete proposal package needs to arrive in Sponsored Research, ready to submit to the sponsor, at least 5 business days or earlier before a deadline.​ Final proposal packages that arrive after the 5-day cutoff will be submitted on a first-in, first-out basis. Any remaining non-compliant proposals at the end of the business day on the deadline will not be guaranteed submission.​ Fully compliant, final, ready to submit proposals arriving in SR on time will be submitted ahead of the deadline​. They will not be deprioritized by late/same-day arrivals​.

Additional information is available here:

Institutional Endorsement and Submission to Sponsor

CERES System-to-System proposals are institutionally endorsed by Sponsored Research’s Authorized Official and submitted directly to the sponsor electronically. Non-system-to-system proposals are also endorsed by Sponsored Research’s Authorized Official. The CERES funding proposal record should indicate to Sponsored Research how endorsed correspondence should be addressed and routed to the sponsor. Hard copy proposals/signature pages may be picked up at Sponsored Research after institutional endorsement for subsequent submission to the sponsor by the unit or PI.

Sponsor Decision Timing

The average interval between the submission of a proposal and the award of a grant from Federal agencies is from six to ten months. Principal investigators should take this delay into consideration in planning for the submission of proposals.