Proposal Submission Procedure for External Funding


One of the goals of the Office of Research and Innovation  is to assist and support principal investigators in the process of proposal preparation and submission. PIs spend a great deal of effort preparing grant proposals. However, when the proposal is submitted to ORI late or at the last minute, there is a greater risk for submission failure. This failure can arise from various sources including errors in forms and documents, system issues, weather-related delays, etc., and typically cannot be corrected in time. As a result, many funding agencies return the grant without review, or in some cases the grants are rejected. Consequently, it is important to allow ORI sufficient time to review documents for compliance prior to submission. In addition, late submissions may require ORI staff to delay processing of other proposals that were received on-time. This policy will help ensure timely review and enhance levels of correct proposals while providing equitable processing times. The result will be improved quality of the submitted proposal and an increase in the success rate of applications.

Submission Deadlines

  • The PAF—Proposal Approval Form must be completed and routed to the ORI research officer by 12 noon seven (7) business days before the deadline. For example, (as illustrated in the graphic), if your proposal is due on April 16, the PAF is due at noon on April 5.
  • All administrative items/ancillary documents are required in their final version by 12 noon, five (5) business days before the sponsor deadline. 
  • The proposal, in its final form for submission to the sponsor, including the final project technical description, is due by 12 noon two (2) business days before the sponsor deadline.  

In the case of large or complex proposals or for deadlines that a large number of PIs are submitting to, ORI, in consultation with the PI and the affiliated unit, may establish additional/different deadlines.

 Calendar visually laying out timeline

ORI Commitment
Proposals that meet the above deadlines are considered on-time. ORI’s commitment is to submit on-time proposals, with limited exceptions, by noon on the day of the deadline. On-time proposals will be processed for submission in the order they are received and all on-time proposals will take priority over late proposals.

Late Proposals
A proposal is considered late when a PI does not meet the above deadlines. Any late proposal must be specifically endorsed by the applicable College Head (for e.g. Associate Dean for Research) before it will be submitted by ORI to the sponsor.  If the late proposal is endorsed, ORI will make reasonable efforts to review and submit late proposals. ORI cannot ensure the same proposal service levels for late proposals. Late proposals will be reviewed and submitted after any on-time proposals, and ORI cannot guarantee on-time submission to the sponsor. Continued failure to meet deadlines will result in reduced likelihood of future exception approvals. 

Administrative items/ancillary documents - the “non-science/non-technical” components of the proposal and may include, but are not limited to, the items listed below. It is important that the principal investigator(s) work with their research program officers to ensure all documents are complete.

  • Biosketch/resume/CV in the format requested by the agency
  • Current and pending support document
  • Conflict of interest forms
  • Data management plan
  • Facilities, equipment and resources
  • Budget
  • Budget Justification
  • Support Letters/letters of commitment
  • Institutional letters
  • Institutional documents
  • Postdoctoral mentoring plans 

Sponsor due date - the date the proposal is due to the sponsor, or the date the PI wishes to submit the documents to the sponsor, whichever is earlier. 

Sponsor - the entity to which WMU is submitting their documents. In the case where WMU will be a sub-award, the lead institution is considered to be WMU’s sponsor.