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Limited Submission Grant Programs Request for Proposals (RFP) Procedures & Guidelines

Effective: January 11, 2006
Updated: July 25, 2018


Many funding agencies restrict the number of proposals or applications that may be submitted by universities in response to a given grant program.

In Limited Submission Grant Programs, the sponsor restricts the number of applications or proposals a campus can submit. The guidelines for these programs require institutions to screen pre-proposals or nominations to determine which applications will be submitted for competition. The following procedure has been developed for Florida State University (FSU) limited submissions competitions.

Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) Procedures

A staff member from the Office of Research Development (ORD), will check funding databases,, and other resources weekly to identify new limited submission opportunities and any opportunities found will be posted to the FSU Limited Submissions website. Please be aware that although every effort will be made to find opportunities, there is no guarantee that the list is comprehensive. Anyone who wishes to apply to a limited submission RFP that is not posted on our website should contact ORD immediately. ORD &/or OVPR office staff will review the guidelines, establish an appropriate internal review date, and post the RFP to the website.The following information will be posted for each solicitation on the website:

The following information will be posted for each solicitation on the website:

  • Agency name (e.g., United States Department of Education)
  • Program Name (e.g., Research in Innovative Approaches to Fusion Energy Sciences)
  • Agency Deadline (e.g., July 10, 2009)
  • Internal Deadline for uploading of documents (e.g., May 10, 2009)
  • Short description of the program (pasted from e.g.,, the sponsor)
  • Specific limitation (e.g., one PI per university, one PI per department)
  • Link to website where full text of RFP can be found
  • Internal Status (whether a PI has been chosen or not, and if not, to contact ORD)

The opportunities can be sorted by the fields listed above. Typically, the internal deadline will be sixty (60) days before the agency deadline. In the case of an RFP where the time line does not allow for sixty days' notice, the date of the internal deadline will be thirty (30) days before the agency deadline. If the deadline is less than thirty (30) days, the opportunity will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis with the opportunity marked as closed when the first Principal Investigator (PI) requests to apply, and their name will be listed on the website. On rare occasion some grants may require a variation to these guidelines due to the individual grant program’s policies. For example, grant programs that require a pre-counseling period may require alteration to the typical schedule. Therefore PIs are encouraged to check the website before assuming an internal deadline for a limited submission. For programs that require a letter of intent, the date of the required letter of intent will be considered the external deadline. Due to the high number of questions that can occur on the day of submission or just before, internal deadlines for complex grant programs that would fall on a Friday or Monday may be moved to a Thursday or Tuesday, respectively.

Faculty procedures

Pre-proposals are to be uploaded to FSU's Limited Submission portal as a single pdf (described below). Once a PI has uploaded his or her pre-proposal to the website, the pre-proposal will be electronically routed to the PI's director/chair and dean. Once the chair and dean have approved the pre-proposal, the system considers the application complete.  The submission of the pre-proposal AND the approval signatures (by the PI’s director/department chair and dean) must be received before 5pm on the posted internal deadline.

Pre-proposal requirements: 

  1. Pre-proposals must consist of a single PDF including:
    • A description of the scope of the project, expected/intended outcomes, the personnel involved, and existing resources, no more than two (2) pages in length
    • Detailed budget (i.e., salary, fringe, travel, tuition, equipment, subcontracts, indirect costs, as applicable) no more than one (1) page in length
    • Curriculum vitae (Note: if multiple faculty members are part of the proposal, please include the 2 page CV just for the Principal Investigator, and then list the names of the other collaborators on the white paper)
    • Cost sharing commitment letters (if applicable), each no longer than one (1) page in length
  2. Digital approval by the director/department chair and dean is required by 5pm on the internal deadline. Once the pre-proposal is submitted by the PI, the appropriate director/department chair and dean will be contacted automatically via email for approval of the submission.  It is the responsibility of the PI to contact those individuals designated to sign for their approval beforehand, to alert them of this upcoming email and to ensure that they have sufficient time to review the application and approve it by the internal deadline. Limited submissions applications are not complete until director/department chair and dean approval is received.

On rare occasions a funding agency will require a different format for a pre-proposal or white paper. Any changes to these typical requirements will be described on the limited submission online portal.

Competition review:
The FSU internal deadline ensures that the Vice President for research has adequate time to review and receive input from FSU senior experts in the related fields of the particular grant program and that the PI(s) selected to apply will have sufficient time to complete a full proposal.  The criteria for each limited submission competition review will match the criteria and mission of the particular agency for that limited submissions, as well as the strategic plans for the university and the feasibility of success of the proposed project. 

ORD will notify all applicants of the Vice President for Research's decision, and the successful applicant(s)' name(s) will be posted on the Limited Submissions website. If the pre-proposal is selected from the internal competition, the PI will need to work with Sponsored Research Administration, FSU Foundation, or the FSU Research Foundation for private funds, in the usual way to prepare, route and submit your proposal to the agency. 

Withdrawal of selected applicant:
Any faculty member who is chosen but decides not to apply must notify the Office of Proposal Development immediately upon their decision. If the selected applicant withdraws his or her proposal, the applicant who received the next highest ranking from the Vice President for research will be notified that s/he may submit a proposal.  

Submissions without approval:
If a PI submits a proposal through SRA or the Research Foundation without following these procedures and does not get approval to submit, the University will not allow the proposal to go forward.