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Proposal Submission Deadline Policy

To help sustain its position as the number 1 public U.S. university in research expenditures, the University of Michigan has a proposal review deadline policy for the submission of external funding proposals.

DeadlineThe Proposal Submission Deadline Policy (the Deadline Policy) establishes explicit, fair and uniformly applied levels of service for processing proposals. It was developed in coordination with research administrators, faculty, deans, and other U-M leaders.

Many schools and colleges have implemented their own policies to align with this new U-M policy.

Levels of Review

A proposal for external funding will receive one of two levels of review — full or limited — depending on when the final version of the proposal and its accompanying finalized Proposal Approval Form are received in the Office of Research and Sponsored Projects.

  • Full Review: A full review ensures compliance with both U-M and sponsor requirements, and is provided for proposals submitted to ORSP with a lead time of 32 business hours or more (or the equivalent of four business days) prior to the submission deadline on the PAF.
  • Limited (Institutional Only) Review: A limited review ensures compliance with U-M requirements, and is provided for proposals submitted to ORSP with a lead time of at least 15 business hours prior to the submission deadline. A limited review does not provide a check for compliance with the sponsor’s guidelines.

Calendar Examples with Levels of Review

Here are some calendar examples to help you plan. Click the image to view more.
Calendar Examples - Levels of Review

Proposals at Risk

Proposals receiving a full or limited review will be submitted by the submission deadline entered on the PAF, provided any ORSP-identified changes are completed in a timely fashion by the principal investigator’s team.

Proposals that arrive at ORSP fewer than 15 business hours prior to the submission deadline will be assigned “at risk” status. Ultimately, ORSP cannot guarantee “at risk” proposals will be submitted by the submission deadline, or that they will be complete or correct upon submission.

Importantly, “at risk” proposals will neither be prioritized over timely proposals nor submitted without receiving a limited review for institutional compliance.

Deadline

Additional details on each review:

Full Review

For proposals submitted to ORSP with a lead time of 32 business hours  (the equivalent of four business days) prior to the Submission Deadline entered on the Proposal Approval Form (PAF), ORSP staff will provide a full review to ensure they are compliant with both U-M’s and the sponsor’s requirements.  Any known terms and conditions of the sponsor that would be binding upon the issuance of a resulting award will also be reviewed for acceptability under U-M policy.

Provided that any (and only) ORSP-identified changes are made in a timely fashion by the PI or his/her Project Team, final proposals and PAFs received in ORSP by the 32 business hour internal deadline will be submitted by the Submission Deadline entered on the PAF and successfully received by the sponsor.  In addition, ORSP guarantees that the proposal will not be administratively returned by the sponsor without review or declined for funding on the basis that an item on ORSP’s Full Review Checklist (see page 2) is non-compliant.

Limited (Institutional Only) Review 

For proposals submitted to ORSP with a lead time of 15 business hours prior to the Submission Deadline (e.g., in the case of electronic submissions, no later than 9:00 a.m. one business day before the sponsor’s deadline), ORSP will guarantee that the proposal will be submitted by the Submission Deadline entered on the PAF, provided any ORSP-identified changes are completed in a timely fashion by the PI’s team and ORSP staff have prior experience with the sponsor’s electronic proposal submission system (if applicable). However, with this shorter lead time, ORSP will give the proposal a limited review for compliance with U-M’s requirements; it will not provide a review for compliance with the sponsor’s guidelines. As a result, ORSP cannot guarantee that a proposal receiving a limited (institutional only) review will be complete or correct when submitted, nor that ORSP could accept the terms of an award on behalf of U-M.

​Summary of Service Levels

Service Level Standard

Business Hours Prior to Submission Deadline that Final Proposal and Finalized PAF are Received in ORSP

Review Levels

At Risk

 

<15 Business hours

 

Full Review*

≥ 32 Business hours
 

Limited (Institutional Only)
Review
**

< 32 to 15 Business hours

Proposal Checked for Compliance with U-M Requirements

Proposal Submitted by Submission Deadline

 

Proposal Checked for Compliance with Sponsor Guidelines

 

 

Terms & Conditions Binding Upon Award Reviewed for Acceptability

 

 

Proposal Successfully Received by Sponsor

   

*  Full Review: ≥ 4 business days

** Limited (Institutional Only) Review: < 32 to 15 Business hours (i.e., no later than 9:00 a.m. one business day before the submission deadline)


Quote Mark

In today’s increasingly competitive and highly regulated funding environment, it has never been more important to balance faculty efforts to secure sponsored research funding with the need to safeguard the university’s research enterprise from significant instances of noncompliance.

Through an extensive process of stakeholder engagement, I believe we have designed a deadline policy that strikes this balance.
 - Craig Reynolds, executive director of research and sponsored projects

Proposals that arrive at ORSP fewer than 15 business hours prior to the Submission Deadline will be assigned “at risk” status. ORSP will give first priority to the proposals in the queue that have met U-M’s internal deadline for the two service levels described above. ORSP will endeavor to submit an “at risk” proposal by the Submission Deadline entered on the PAF provided no timely proposals are in the queue ahead of it, and there is sufficient time for ORSP to conduct a limited review. Ultimately, ORSP cannot guarantee “at risk” proposals will be submitted by the Submission Deadline or will be complete or correct upon submission.

Now that the policy has been implemented, as of January 6, 2020, the U-M Office of Research will review data on the impact of the policy in order to assess whether any changes are needed. As part of the assessment, the U-M Office of Research will determine whether a formal waiver should also be required to send a proposal to ORSP with fewer than 15 business hours lead time.  

 

 

 

Thank you for helping us sustain U-M’s position as the nation’s leading public research university. 

As the nation’s largest public research university, U-M submits more than 7,700 proposals each year on behalf of its faculty. It has ranked No. 1 in research volume among the nation’s public universities for nine consecutive years, with $1.62 billion in research expenditures for fiscal year 2019.

FAQs

ORSP requires a Final Proposal no later than 32 hours before the Submission Deadline. Your school/college/institute/center may require additional reviews and lead time. You should engage with your unit leadership to learn more about their requirements and deadlines.

An administrative shell that made its way to ORSP would be returned as Incomplete. ORSP will not review a proposal until it has been "finalized" in eRPM.

 

However, Your school/college/institute/center may have a policy to allow or require you to submit an administrative shell for their review.

Most likely. The schools, colleges, institutes, and centers must meet the U-M deadline. Your school/college/unit has most likely worked through its own internal policies to ensure alignment with the new proposal submission deadline policy. Consult with your unit leadership to learn more about their requirements and deadlines.

There is no U-M wide deadline policy calculator as school/college/unit deadline requirements vary to align with U-M’s overall policy.

 

Section 6 of the PAF, tiled “Submission Information,” will display the times and dates by which the PAF and final proposal must arrive in ORSP in order to qualify for a Full or Limited Review, calculated from the Submission Deadline you enter on the PAF.

 “Final” means ready for ORSP submission at any time (i.e., ORSP could submit to sponsor within 2 minutes or 2 days after it’s routed to ORSP). ORSP may need to provide additional documentation or signatures, but everything else is in its final form.

 

When a PAF is returned as Incomplete, that means the proposal is not “submission-ready” or Final in some significant way. For example, it may be missing some required component or the PI/Project Team has not granted ORSP access to the proposal in the sponsor’s electronic system (when ORSP is responsible for submission). In these cases, ORSP will return the PAF for the Project Team to complete its work, an action that strips the assigned review type and "resets the clock" for determining the level of review (Full or Limited) the proposal will receive.

 

When a PAF is returned for Changes, that means the proposal is Final (e.g. all required components are complete) but ORSP has identified for the PI/Project Team some aspect of the proposal that must or should be changed (i.e., a Required or Recommended change). When a PAF is returned as needing Required or Recommended changes, the action does not "reset the clock" for determining which level of review the proposal will receive.

 

Yes, but not without risk. Your request will not be prioritized over other proposals that have yet to be reviewed. It’s also important to recognize that resubmitting your proposal first requires that the original proposal be withdrawn, or assessed as Incomplete. Depending on the number of unreviewed proposals ahead of your request, your resubmission may be delayed so close to the sponsor’s deadline that it would be highly inadvisable to withdraw an otherwise high quality proposal on the chance that the resubmission will be successful and on time.

 

No. If you leave the Submission Deadline field blank, the policy will not apply, however, note that the University requires all proposals for externally-funded grants and contracts to be routed for review and approval through eRPM prior to submission to the sponsor.

The Target Date is the date by which you would like ORSP to submit a proposal or negotiate an agreement. It is optional and considered to be a non-binding request that ORSP will attempt to accommodate when reasonable time is given, but ORSP can make no guarantees that it will be able to do so.

 

A Target Date can be provided alone (i.e., there is no Submission Deadline), in combination with a Submission Deadline, or not at all.

 

For example, you may wish to enter a Target Date for when you would like a contract to be negotiated and there is no sponsor deadline. Another use of a Target Date is when you would like for your proposal to be submitted earlier than the Submission Deadline, i.e., earlier than is necessary to meet the sponsor's published deadline.

The sponsor's deadline is the date by which the sponsor has stated proposals must be received in order to be considered for funding.

 

The “Submission Deadline” (a.k.a., the "Send By" date) is the last date that a proposal can be submitted in order to be received by the sponsor’s deadline.

 

In the case of an electronic proposal submission, the Submission Deadline and the sponsor's deadline are the same. In the case of a hardcopy proposal submission to a sponsor where overnight courier service is available, the Submission Deadline is at least one day before the sponsor's deadline. In the case of a hardcopy proposal submission to a sponsor where courier service may take an extended period of time, the Submission Deadline is at least several days (or more) prior to the sponsor's deadline.

 

In a Full Review, ORSP ensures compliance with U-M policies, other U-M requirements, and sponsor requirements. A Full Review may result in ORSP requesting Required and/or Recommended Changes. Required Changes must be made in order for ORSP to submit by the sponsor’s deadline. Recommended Changes are optional, though considered to be best practice. A Full Review is provided if the approved PAF and Final proposal arrive in ORSP 32 or more business hours prior to the Submission Deadline.

 

Remember that your school/college/unit may have its own internal deadline proposal submission policy.

In a Limited (Institutional Only) Review, ORSP only ensures compliance with U-M policies or other U-M requirements. This review will only result in Required Changes, if any. The proposal will not be submitted unless Required Changes are made. A Limited (Institutional Only) Review is provided if the approved PAF and Final proposal arrive in ORSP fewer than 32 business hours, but at least 15 business hours, prior to the Submission Deadline

 

Remember that your school/college/unit may have its own internal deadline proposal submission policy.

 

An approved PAF and Final proposal are deemed "At Risk" if they arrive in ORSP fewer than 15 business hours prior to the Submission Deadline. "At Risk" proposals may not be submitted to the sponsor in time, and they won’t be reviewed for completeness or correctness or compliance with any sponsor guidelines. To fairly support all U-M faculty, ORSP gives priority to the proposals in the queue that have met U-M’s internal deadline for Full and Limited Reviews.

 

ORSP will endeavor to submit an “At Risk” proposal by the sponsor’s deadline provided no timely proposals are in the queue ahead of it, and there is sufficient time for ORSP to conduct a Limited Review. ORSP cannot, however, guarantee “At Risk” proposals will be submitted by the sponsor’s deadline or will be complete or correct upon submission.

 

Yes, but that guarantee is conditioned on the PI/Project Team submitting to ORSP the changes that ORSP identified in a timely fashion. If the PI/Project Team submits changes too close to the sponsor's deadline, then ORSP cannot guarantee the proposal will be submitted.

Required Changes relate to compliance with U-M policies or other U-M requirements. A proposal will not be submitted until these Required Changes are made. Recommended Changes are offered to make the proposal compliant with a sponsor requirement. Recommended Changes are optional.

 

Proposals needing Required Changes will not be submitted.

 

A Required Change is requested whenever an item on either the PAF or the Final Proposal must be corrected in order to be compliant with U-M policies or other U-M requirements. Required Changes must be made before a proposal may be submitted.

 

If you are unsure whether you have correctly made the Required Changes identified by ORSP, please contact the ORSP Project Representative assigned to your PAF.

 

Recommended Changes refer to sponsor requirements, and the item is disallowed by the sponsor. Required Changes refer to U-M institutional requirements. In this case, failure to make the Recommended Change may result in the proposal not being funded, being funded for an amount that is lower than requested, or being fully funded but restricted by U-M to prevent a disallowed cost.

 

If the PI/Project Team chooses to ignore the Recommended Changes ORSP has identified, the proposal might not comply with the sponsor’s guidelines and could be rejected without review.

 

ORSP recommends changes to help proposals meet sponsor guidelines. ORSP requires changes when they are needed to ensure compliance with U-M institutional requirements.

During a Limited Review, ORSP only checks certain items for compliance with institutional policy and other U-M requirements. Any corrections must be made prior to submission and thus fall in the category of Required Changes. The suggested "grantspersonship" changes that would otherwise be caught during a Full Review are not checked during a Limited Review.

The University of Michigan business day ends at 5:00 p.m., ET. Therefore, you may need to adjust the Submission Deadline to ensure it gets to the sponsor in time. 

 

If the sponsor deadline is later than 5:00 p.m. ET., the deadline policy will calculate the review type in relation to 5:00 p.m. ET of the Submission Deadline entered on the PAF.

 

If the sponsor deadline is earlier than 5:00 p.m. ET., then (1) the earlier time must be noted on the PAF, and (2) the deadline policy will still calculate the review type in relation to the later 5:00 p.m. ET of the Submission Deadline entered on the PAF.

 

Note that many sponsors often consider the local applicant institution time as the deadline, even if they are in a different time zone.

It depends on multiple factors outside ORSP’s control, including how many other proposals are in the queue and staff availability. The proposal will be classified as "At Risk" and it might not be submitted to the sponsor in time. To fairly support all U-M faculty, ORSP will not prioritize “At Risk” proposals over proposals in the queue that have met U-M’s internal deadline.

 

In handling such a significant proposal, it is critical that your team mitigate risk at every level, and this includes building in time to adhere to internal and external deadlines.

The Executive Director of ORSP,  the Associate Deans for Research, and the chief research administrators of the various schools and colleges will inform the faculty who submit "outside the system" that such practices are against U-M policy. Individuals who show a pattern of disregard for the internal deadline policy may be brought to the attention of the Vice President for Research, who may impose additional administrative measures in consultation with the appropriate Associate Dean for Research.

The Submission Deadline may be updated as needed until such time as the PAF is finalized. Alternatively, a Target Date may be provided in lieu of a Submission Deadline.

 

No. ORSP may still submit your proposal after conducting a Limited (Institutional Only) Review, but there might not be enough time for "At Risk" proposals to ensure they meet the Submission Deadline.

No. The deadline policy will apply to limited submissions as it does to all proposals. ORSP will endeavor to submit your proposal if it is "At Risk," but ORSP cannot guarantee that it will be submitted by the Submission Deadline.

Proposals arriving in ORSP after the 15 business hour deadline will be “At Risk.” The deadline policy applies the same to collaborative proposals as it does to all proposals. ORSP will endeavor to submit an "At Risk" proposal, as long as there are no timely proposals already in the queue and there is sufficient time to conduct a Limited (Institutional Only) Review.

No, but ORSP will endeavor to submit your proposal if it is "At Risk." The reality is that there is simply not enough time to guarantee that "At Risk" proposals will be submitted by the Submission Deadline.

Yes. The new U-M policy is meant to create a clear, fair and level playing field for everyone who prepares a proposal for external funding.

No. Consistent with ORSP's mission to both enable and safeguard the conduct of research at U-M, ORSP will always review a proposal for institutional compliance before submitting it to the sponsor.

No. The new U-M policy is meant to create a fair and level playing field for everyone who prepares a proposal for external funding. Proposals that are submitted timely to ORSP should not be penalized for doing so.

No. Sixty percent (60%) or more of ORSP staff members' time is dedicated to other mission-critical activities unrelated to proposal submission (e.g., award setup, management and closeout, unfunded agreement negotiation, etc.) and they need every free moment to attend to this other work.

Yes. The cross-campus deadline policy working group designed the eRPM workflow to have a number of trigger points in the PAF lifecycle that automatically generate a warning email.

Yes. ORSP is prepared to staff the office as needed during peak volumes to process proposals that meet the internal deadline for Full and Limited Reviews.

No exceptions will be made. That said, ORSP will endeavor to submit "At Risk" proposals. The absence of an exception mechanism is a recognition of the fact that there is simply not enough time to guarantee that late-arriving proposals will be submitted by the sponsor's deadline.

As described, ORSP will not begin its review because ORSP has not been granted access to submit your proposal in the sponsor's system.  Your proposal should not have been finalized since you are still working on the Project Description. Instead of being reviewed, your proposal will be returned as Incomplete and your PAF returned to the state of "Awaiting Final Proposal." You must grant ORSP access and re-finalize your PAF in order to qualify for a review.

If the PAF never arrived in ORSP for review, the PAF state will change to "Sponsor Deadline Missed" for 30 days, during which time the Project Team may update the Submission Deadline field to enable further processing. If after 30 days the Submission Deadline has not been updated or the PAF has not been forwarded to ORSP, the PAF state will change to "Cancelled."

 

If the PAF arrived in ORSP as an “At Risk” proposal, the PAF state will again change to "Sponsor Deadline Missed" for 30 days, during which time the Project Team may update the Submission Deadline field to enable further processing. If after 30 days the Submission Deadline has not been updated or the PAF is not forwarded to ORSP, the PAF state will change to "Cancelled."

 

If the PAF arrived in ORSP and qualified for a Full or Limited Review, but was not submitted by the sponsor deadline, ORSP leadership will reach out to the PI to discuss next steps.

The state of the PAF will change to "Sponsor Deadline Missed" and a system-generated email notification will be automatically sent to the Principal Investigator and Project Team.

 

Questions?

If you have questions, reach out to your Research Administrator or to your designated ORSP Project Representative.