New Office of Research Policy Regarding the Submission of Research Proposals
Dr. David Norton, Vice President for Research
The Office of Research is responsible for submission of all applications for sponsored funding on behalf of the University of Florida. Last year, this office submitted over 5,400 proposals to a wide range of sponsors, including federal and state agencies, companies, and non-profit foundations, resulting in awards of over $685 million. The Division of Sponsored Programs (DSP) is responsible for confirming institutional support for the application; verifying the accuracy and validity of all administrative, fiscal, and programmatic information; and ensuring that the proposal is compliant with university and sponsor policies and other submission requirements.
Many of these proposals are in response to solicitations with specific deadlines. Submission of proposals at or near the sponsor deadline creates significant workflow issues for staff within DSP and the units, and increases the risk of missing non-compliant sections, of oversights or errors in formatting and budgeting, and of encountering technical glitches and bottlenecks.
The Office of Research has long recommended that proposals be submitted to DSP at least two business days prior to the sponsor’s published deadline to provide DSP with time to identify and resolve any issues with the proposal that are inconsistent with university policy or sponsor submission requirements. This is important as such issues may result in the inability of the university to carry out the work within the submitted budget or in the proposal being rejected by the sponsor without review.
As the UF research enterprise has grown, it has become increasingly apparent that a recommended internal submission timeline is not sufficient to ensure compliance. So, after soliciting several months of feedback from faculty and administration, the Office of Research is instituting a new policy to strictly enforce this two-day submission window. Under this new policy, beginning on June 22, 2018, any proposal responding to a published deadline must arrive in DSP submit-ready by 9 a.m. on the business day prior to the sponsor deadline. This policy applies to any sponsored program whose solicitation is published by the sponsor at least 30 calendar days prior to the sponsor’s due date. This two-day deadline brings UF more closely in line with peer institutions, which currently enforce deadlines of at least two days.
The new policy is posted at http://generalcounsel.ufl.edu/media/generalcounselufledu/documents/ProposalDeadlinePolicy.pdf. FAQs regarding sponsor submission system requirements, clarification on “submit ready” and “published deadline,” what to do when errors or omissions are found after the two-day deadline, and other details are available at http://research.ufl.edu/dsp/proposals/proposal-deadline-policy/faq.html.