Internal Deadlines for Proposal Submission

SPAdmin shares your goal of submitting competitive proposals.  Our role in the submission process is three-fold:

  • Quality assurance relative to sponsor guidelines
  • Compliance check with sponsor and UNMC policies
  • Institutional authorization

Professional courtesy and common sense go a long way to support successful submission.  The sooner you can provide your proposal to SPAdmin, the better job we can do reviewing it, incorporating any needed changes, and submitting it.  Unfortunately, we’ve experienced an increase in the number of “near misses” recently and identified a need to institute internal deadlines.  These should be seen as minimums; more advanced notice is welcomed and encouraged.

Policy statement

To reduce the risk of a proposal missing the sponsor’s deadline or being withdrawn for non-responsiveness, the following internal deadlines are in effect:

Departments notify SPAdmin of their plan to submit a proposal at least two weeks before the sponsor’s deadline.

Complete proposals are due to SPAdmin at least three whole business days before the sponsor’s deadline.

For example, if your proposal must be received by the sponsor at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, then it is due to SPAdmin by 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday.

Notification consists of:

  • Identification of sponsor and program
    • If the program guidelines are not readily available online, please provide a copy

A complete proposal consists of:

  • A set of internal forms in ADIS routed to SPAdmin for review
  • If electronic submission, the proposal completed in the electronic submission system and access granted to SPAdmin
    • If access cannot be granted to SPAdmin, then please download a copy
  • If paper submission, a review copy of all documents that will be sent to the sponsor
    • SPAdmin recommends waiting for our approval before printing the final copy, in case any changes are needed

Exception to complete submission

To maximize the amount of time investigators can work on their narratives, the following documents can be submitted in draft form, with the final version due one day before the sponsor’s deadline:

  • Abstract
  • Research plan
  • Bibliography


When you notify SPAdmin of your plan to submit a proposal, we:

  • Review the program guidelines and contact the sponsor if any clarification is needed
  • Ensure all system registrations are current
  • Ensure all institutional assurances are in place
  • Ensure adequate SPAdmin staffing at the time of submission, including authorized signer

When you provide SPAdmin with a copy of your proposal, we:

  • Check for conformance with sponsor guidelines
  • Check for compliance with university and sponsor policy

Internal forms:

  • Demonstrate that the appropriate institutional rates were used to calculate salaries, fringe benefits, and indirect costs
  • Gather unit signatures that signify endorsement of the proposal

For electronic submissions, time is needed for a proposal to be received and validated.  On deadline days, government and sponsor servers experience increased traffic and slower response times.

For paper submissions, time is needed for package transit, delivery, and tracking.  Circumstances beyond our control can prevent packages from being delivered as scheduled.

Additional time needed

If your proposal meets any of the following special criteria, then please allow additional time:

  • Complex program project grant
  • International collaboration
  • Limited submission
  • Subcontract-out
  • Voluntary cost-sharing

How proposals are prioritized

All reasonable efforts will be made to submit each proposal to the sponsor before the external deadline.  In fairness to those investigators who meet the stated internal deadlines:

  • Proposals that are received by the stated internal deadlines are processed in the order in which they are received
  • Proposals that are received late are processed after all timely proposals have been processed

Value added

In addition to providing institutional authorization to submit a proposal, SPAdmin checks for errors that may cause your proposal not to be considered:

  • Page limits
  • Font faces and sizes
  • Margins
  • File formats
  • Form versions
  • Required content
  • Prohibited content

Should an award be made, SPAdmin can set up the award faster if we had adequate time to review the proposal and

  • Correct any errors in salaries, fringe benefits, and indirect cost calculations
  • Identify any compliance issues that require special handling

Risks associated with not meeting internal deadlines

PIs who miss internal deadlines assume the risk that:

  • There is insufficient time for adequate review
  • Errors cannot be corrected
  • A proposal is rejected by a sponsor for being late
  • A proposal is withdrawn by UNMC because of an outstanding compliance issue
  • A proposal is administrative withdrawn by a sponsor for being non-responsive

Making last-minutes changes can have a ripple effect that decreases the competitiveness of your proposal.

Please note:

  • After you provide your proposal to SPAdmin, please remain available by telephone or email so that we can communicate with you about any changes needed.
  • SPAdmin’s regular office hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.  SPAdmin expects proposals to be submitted by 5:00 p.m.  If a sponsor’s deadline falls – and you anticipate submission – outside of regular office hours, please make arrangements with SPAdmin at least one business day in advance (e.g., after-hours submission, submission done by department).
  • If UNMC is a subcontractor on another university’s proposal, our external deadline may be earlier than the proposal due date.  That is, our information may be due to the other university in time for its sponsored programs office to review it before proposal submission.