How do you determine whether a sponsor has submission limits?

The limited submissions coordinator is responsible for identifying funding opportunities with submission limits.  Limitations are listed in the program solicitation (RFA, FOA, PAR, etc.). During this review, the coordinator also ensures that Virginia Tech is eligible to submit to the program.


The solicitation reads that an “applicant” can only submit one proposal.  Why are we limiting proposals to one per institution?

While faculty members serve as Principal Investigators for externally-funded projects, the applicant is actually Virginia Tech.  The university bears the responsibility for upholding the terms and conditions of the award.


Does Virginia Tech ever impose limits beyond those required by the sponsor?

Occasionally.  Common scenarios include, but are not limited to, the cases described below:

  • National Competition for a single award: In cases when the sponsor only intends to fund one award, additional coordination may be necessary.  Such awards are usually large, and may include extensive engagement with government relations, economic development networks, and university partners.  Institutional support for proposal development may also be required.  For these reasons, the likelihood of success increases with a focused and coordinated approach. Such an approach also allows for efficient use of time and resources.
  • Proposal requires considerable external partnership: Proposals that require engagement of large networks (such as state economic development offices), often require a coordinated approach, such that proposals are aligned with required institutional commitments. Coordination also ensures that the PI will have sufficient internal engagement to enhance the competitiveness of the proposal.
  • Sponsor requires internal review of all applications: Some sponsors, such as the Virginia Tobacco Commission, require that university officials prescreen all applications for alignment with the sponsor’s priorities.
  • Program manager feedback available: Some programs allow for external feedback from program managers or others to determine alignment with the sponsor’s priorities.  If the project is determined not to be a good fit, it will not be approved for submittal.
  • Infrastructure and construction grants: Proposals for research infrastructure, including construction grants, require coordination and alignment with existing plans and commitments, as well as university policies and procedures.  A number of administrative units must be involved in order to ensure the feasibility of the project.


I am interested in an instrumentation grant program, and the solicitation guidelines don’t limit the number of proposals from the institution?  Why is an internal notice of intent required?

Such proposals benefit from internal coordination for a number of reasons, including but not limited to:

  • Often, instrumentation grant programs (NIH instrumentation programs in particular) require that only one proposal be submitted for each type of equipment.  Internal coordination is necessary to ensure that the university follows this requirement.
  • Instrumentation grants are often linked to the notion of enabling a user community.  Additional engagement may therefore be required to determine where an instrument will be located.
  • Instrumentation proposals often require a sustainability plan for continued maintenance of the equipment after the performance period of the project has ended. In these cases, proposals benefit significantly from up-front coordination and securing of any required institutional commitments.
  • In the case of high-performance computing equipment proposals, the Office of the Vice President for Information Technology should be engaged in the planning process.


Why is the limited submission competition held so far in advance of the sponsor’s deadline for proposals?

Many large-scale proposals require significant lead time for development, coordination, and fine-tuning. Earlier competitions are required to facilitate this planning.