Research and Scholarship FAQs

Proposal Submission Guidelines

Information regarding specific Proposal Submission Guidelines for USF's Sponsored Research and broad Proposal Submission guidelines for NSF an NIH are noted below.

Proposal Submission Guidelines for USF's Sponsored Research

As the USF Sponsored Research Department is responsible for the review and approval of proposals to agencies for the funding research and other academic activities. Once the completed grant proposal application is finalized and approved by all administrators, (to include your Unit Research Administrator) the PI submits the proposal to the assigned Sponsored Research Administrator (SRA) who is authorized to submit the proposal to the funding agency. The PI and your Unit Research Administrator (URA) receive conformation once the proposal is submitted to the funding agency. Your URA can assist you through this submission process

The USF Proposal Submission Process includes the following:

  • Prior to submission to Sponsored Research the PI/DRA completes the Internal Form, used for official approval to seek funding, uploads the appropriate supporting documentation (i.e., Conflict of Interest, proposal abstract, proposed project budget) and obtains the necessary approvals.
  • PI/DRA submits the proposal to Sponsored Research via email, campus mail or hand–delivered in accordance with the Sponsored Research Proposal Submission Guidelines.
  • Sponsored Research reviews proposal for compliance with university policies (business, research, academic) and sponsor guidelines and completes appropriate Certifications and Assurances.
  • Sponsored Research notifies PI/DRA of changes required (if necessary) to make application compliant.
  • Sponsored Research as the delegated authority, provides institutional signature on behalf of the University.
  • Sponsored Research submits proposal to sponsor either electronically or on paper depending on sponsor guidelines.
  • Sponsored Research confirms that proposal has been submitted and provides a PDF copy of the Internal Form, used for official approval to seek funding, and submitted proposal to PI/DRA.
  • Sponsored Research logs, tracks and stores the research proposal submission.

Note: While some funding sponsors (such as those administrating certain fellowships and honorific awards) may permit applicants to upload their proposal application packages directly to the funding agency's portal, applicants are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the wide range of expertise and support provided by USF's Sponsored Research Administration and the applicant's assigned Unit Research Administrator with an aim to maximize funding success and secure an optimal submission experience. 

USF Sponsored Research Proposal Submission Deadlines

Per the USF Sponsored Research Proposal Guidelines, Electronic Proposals, such as those submitted through and FASTLANE, must be received in Sponsored Research in final form no later than five business days prior to the proposal mailing/electronic submission deadline. This deadline allows for a two-day review period by Sponsored Research and three days for the proposal to wind its way through Cyberspace. At a minimum, this lead-time will enable the Sponsored Research staff to do the following:

  • Allow time for the electronic verification and validation process by the funding agency, which can take as long as 72 hours.
  • Provide support/troubleshooting for electronic submission processes, including logins and access, as well as verification requirements.
  • Assure that the proposal meets all sponsor requirements as described in the sponsor-specific guidelines provided, for example, formatting (font size and margin width, page limitations, etc.).
  • Provide support/troubleshooting for electronic submission processes, including logins and access, as well as verification requirements.
    Assure that the budget is adequate and accurate.
  • Work directly with subcontractors to get the required budget, statement of work, and institutional signatures.
  • Review narratives to assure that no unintentional cost-sharing commitments are made.
  • Review for any regulatory compliance requirements identified on the Sponsored Research internal form.
  • Resolve any compliance issues identified in the proposal preparation process.
  • Facilitate obtaining an institutional level letter of support for the proposal when requested/required.

Proposal Submission Guidelines for NSF & NIH

The solicitation or Request for Proposal (RFP)/Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) provides the details and requirements for a specific funding opportunity. Both NSF and NIH provide broad requirements for submitting proposals to their agencies.The solicitation will build from the agency guideline. Look to the specific RFP or FOA for detailed guidelines. 

NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide

NIH General Instructions for NIH and other PHS Agencies (SF424)

Your URA can assist PI's with reviewing the proposal guidelines.

Other Resources

USF Research Innovation Sponsored Research Proposal Submission Guidelines

CAS ORS Pre-Award Proposal Path

Find Your Unit Research Administrator (URA)