Guidelines for Limited Submission

Funding agencies are increasingly restricting the number of applications that institutions can submit in response to certain funding opportunities.  UB has procedures for selecting proposals submitted to limited submission opportunities (LSO).

The Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development (OVPRED) oversees the selection process in order to select proposals that have the best chance of winning an award. A selection process is critical since funding agencies sponsoring LSOs could reject all UB applications if the university submits more than the specified number of applications.

On this page:

Identifying Limited Submission Opportunities (LSO)

The OVPRED announces many LSOs to the campus community by listing internal competitions at Limited Submission Opportunities on the website and emailing notices to appropriate deans, department chairs, center directors and faculty. 

The announcements:

  • Identify the opportunity
  • Provide a brief description and link to the funder’s website
  • Include instructions for participating in an internal competition
  • Indicate all submission deadlines

Review process

PIs must submit an internal pre-proposal as requested in the LSO announcement:

The OVPRED creates an ad hoc committee — comprised of faculty and administrators with experience in research funding, agency policies, grantsmanship and disciplinary expertise — to review all pre-proposals. The committee members, who remain anonymous throughout the process, then make a recommendation to the VPRED who makes the final decision on which applications are submitted as UB proposals. 

These reviewers rank submissions according to the sponsor's criteria, while considering the following:

  • Responsiveness to the guidelines set forth in the funding opportunity announcement
  • Best chance of success in winning an award
  • The intellectual merit of the proposal
  • The competitiveness of the PI or PI’s team: individual and collective credibility to do the work; and funding record with the agency
  • The manner in which a subsequent proposal answers or overcomes previously identified deficiencies if it was submitted during an earlier session.

If the PIs of competing proposals all belong to one academic unit, that dean conducts the review and selection process. The dean’s office then notifies the VPRED re the successful proposal(s).

In cases where the VPRED, or members of the OVPRED staff, have a real or perceived conflict of interest in the LSO selection process, the VPRED will refer decisions to the provost.

Unannounced LSOs

The OVPRED makes every effort to identify LSOs and notify PIs in a timely manner. 

If a PI identifies an unannounced LSO, he/she must notify the VPRED office before submitting an application. This should be done through the Limited Submissions mailbox, at least 60 days in advance of the sponsor's deadline. The OVPRED conducts internal competitions for all LSOs provided the time to the submission deadline allows for a meaningful peer review.

If the sponsor's deadline is imminent or the PI's notification is less than 60 days to deadline, the OVPRED, in consultation with appropriate deans, reviews the pre-proposals and makes the final selections.

Timeline and post-selection activities

For most internal competitions, the OVPRED completes the review process quickly, so the selected PIs have time to develop a competitive proposal. In addition to completing all regular internal approval processes, the selected PIs must be aware of any additional requirements by the funding agency. After review is complete:

  • The OVPRED emails all applicants with results of the internal competition. 
  • The OVPRED provides the approved names to Sponsored Projects Services. 
  • Following notification of the results, all PIs who submitted a pre-proposal are invited to review its strengths and weaknesses as identified by the committee, a practice intended to help improve future proposals. 

PI responsibilities when selected: 

  • Once a proposal is selected, the researchers have access to additional resources such as advice from key administrators and proposal writing assistance to ensure a competitive submission.
  • If the selected PI or team forgoes an application, they must notify the OVPRED within five days of the selection notice. This allows another proposal to be selected and move forward.
  • If the PI fails to submit a proposal and has not notified the OVPRED, he/she runs the risk of being disqualified from future LSO competitions.
  • The PI may be asked to share feedback, including summary statements as well as peer and sponsor review comments, if the proposal is submitted and not funded. This information can help with the selection process of future proposals for that LSO.

Inquiries and contact information

Kenneth Tramposch manages the LSO program on behalf of the OVPRED. You can contact him at kmt1@buffalo.edu or (716) 645-3321 for any questions or advice about the LSO process.