In some cases, external sponsors (federal, state, foundation, even industry) limit the number of proposals that can be submitted by an institution for programs during a specific application period. Common proposal restrictions include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Number of proposals submitted by an institution per deadline.
  • Number of proposals submitted by a college per deadline.
  • Only one active award from a specific program allowed at a time at the institution.
  • Only one proposal per year to a program is allowed (regardless of the number of deadlines per year).
  • Number of proposals per topic area submitted by an institution (common for U.S. Department of Energy).
  • Total (combined) amount of funding requests submitted by an institution for a single deadline.
  • Each proposal submitted by the university must be for a separate piece of equipment (NIH instrumentation grant programs).

Some limitations (only one proposal per PI is allowable for a specific program, some grant opportunities are open only to current awardees of a program) are managed within the Office of Sponsored Programs. Other funding opportunities that are limited at the institution level are managed by the limited submissions coordinator, Gary Sherman, Associate Vice President for Research Partnerships, Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation.

The limited submissions process at Virginia Tech:

Step 1: Identifying Limited Submission

The coordinator identifies limited submission funding opportunities as they are released from the sponsor.

Step 2: Posting funding opportunities on the limited submissions website

Since the interest in the funding opportunity may exceed the allowable number of submissions, there is a need to establish internal deadlines that will allow for sufficient time to advertise the internal deadline, review the internal notices of intent, hold a competition and review if necessary, and then allow the winning proposal sufficient time to prepare the proposal for the sponsor.

Management of limited submissions occurs electronically, via the limited submissions website. When the sponsored program has been posted in the limited submissions website, the following internal deadlines are also listed:

  • Internal Notice of Intent
  • Notification of Internal Competition
  • Results of Internal Competition

Step 3: Setting deadline for internal notices of intent

To submit an internal notice of intent, log into the limited submissions website (CAS authentication required), select the program in which you are interested and click the “Submit an internal notice of intent” link.  (Hint: If you receive the Office of Research’s weekly funding opportunities email, clicking the deadline link next to the program in which you are interested will take you directly to the limited submissions site and the specific program of your choice.)

When submitting an internal notice of intent, you will be requested to provide the following information:

  • Working title
  • Short description (2-3 sentences describing your project)
  • PI name
  • Co-PI names: (if known)

Internal notices of intent are due by 11:59 PM on the deadline date.

Step 4: Determining whether an internal competition will be required.

The day following the internal notice of intent due date, you will receive a message indicating whether an internal competition will be required. Internal competitions are typically required when the number of notices of intent received exceeds the sponsor-imposed institutional limit for the number of allowable proposals.

Development of an internal preproposal may also be required for certain programs (typically sponsored by a Foundation), for which Virginia Tech has an opportunity to consult on appropriateness of projects with the sponsor’s program manager.

Typically, if the number of internal notices of intent received is equal to or below the institutional limit, and internal competition will not be held.

Step 5:  Disseminating instructions for internal competition

When the internal competition is announced, the instructions for the preparation of internal preproposals are uploaded to the limited submissions site. You will see them ready for download when you log into the limited submissions site.  Internal preproposals should be uploaded as a single PDF document.

Step 6:  Reviewing internal submissions

The day after the deadline for receipt of internal preproposals, the internal review will begin.  Review committees are typically selected based on technical expertise and familiarity with the program.

Step 7:  Disseminating results of internal competition

You will receive the results of the internal competition via e-mail.  If selected, your preaward administrator in the Office of Sponsored Programs will also be notified of your selection.

Step 8:  Providing feedback

Feedback based on the internal review is available to all who submitted an internal preproposal.  This feedback may be disseminated in written form, and/or a meeting will be scheduled to discuss the review comments.

To schedule a meeting, contact Gary Sherman, Associate Vice President for Research Partnerships, at or 540-231-6145.