WMU Procedure to Manage Funding Agency-Imposed Limits on Submissions

Many funding agencies now place limits on the number of letters of intent, proposals, or applications that any single university may submit in response to an announcement. In some cases, Western Michigan University’s Office of the Vice President for Research may be unaware of these changes.

Principal investigator responsibilities

It is the principal investigator’s responsibility to review the guidelines of the grant that they intend to apply for, and if the funding agency imposes a limit on the number of submissions from a single institution, they must contact both their associate dean and research program officer immediately before initiating work on the proposal. Failure to notify the Office of the Vice President for Research that a grant is a limited competition may result in disqualification of the applicant from the internal competition. OVPR will then initiate a posting to determine if any other colleges or faculty are planning to submit to the same Request for Proposals. A deadline of approximately one week will be given for others to respond to the query. At the close of the response period, the principal investigator and associate dean will be notified that either they can submit as representative(s) of the university or a competition will be held to select between the proposed applicants. If OVPR becomes aware of a limited competition less than 6 weeks prior to sponsor deadline in most cases an internal competition will not be posted due to time constraints. In this case of time constraints, the first interested applicant to contact OVPR will be considered the applicant unless circumstances suggest otherwise (i.e. the announcement was posted by the sponsor less than 6 weeks before the deadline).

Internal pre-proposal process

If we receive notifications of interest from more individuals than allowable in a limited-submission program, we will announce an internal competition asking for pre-proposals. An internal pre-proposal will include:

  • Working title of proposal.
  • Principal investigator name, email address and phone number.
  • Co-principal investigators and collaborating entities if appropriate.
  • Designation whether the proposal is a new submission or re-submission.
  • If a re-submission that was not funded by the agency, a copy of the agency reviews.
  • Agency deadline.
  • Assurance that submission will be made if chosen.
  • One-page budget (salary, benefits, equipment, travel, etc.).
  • Two- to three-page project description, single spaced.
  • Any cost-share required for the submission.
  • Include a statement on the benefits to the program, college or university as well as the impact not being allowed to submit may have on the program. This may include support from the principal investigators, chair or dean.

Review panel

The internal pre-proposal review panel will include representatives from the Office of the Vice President for Research, the appropriate deans’ offices, and faculty or other individuals with expertise in the area of the grant. As in any grant review, a number of factors will be considered including:

  • Potential for funding.
  • Fit to the RFP.
  • Expertise of the PIs.
  • Benefit to the program, college, or university.

A brief explanation for the decision will be provided to the applicants and like any grant review the internal discussions will be confidential. The overall goal is to allow the selected investigators ample time to develop a full proposal and meet the sponsor’s submission deadline and to increase the chance of funding for the project. When feasible, we will encourage a collaborative effort among PIs that submitted internal pre-proposals.