University of Delaware
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72-Hour Policy for
Processing Research Proposals

Grants.govUD researchers need to have their proposals to UD Research Office by 8:00 a.m. — three business days prior to the agency deadline — or they will not be submitted to the sponsor. The new policy went into effect Jan. 3, 2007, and is reflective of the demands of electronic research administration, specifically the Grants.gov initiative for proposal processing for federal agencies.

Recognizing that the proposal's scientific content requires maximum time to develop, project management teams will accept proposal packages that include a full proposal budget (including subcontract budgets and details if subcontracts are involved), budget justification, and proposal abstract for review. While the full scientific details of the proposal may not be in hand, the electronic documents can be prepared from these materials and the proposal readied for submission. Proposal packages lacking budget or other elements stated above will be considered incomplete and will be returned to the principal investigator.

“As many of our researchers know, the federal government is continuing to implement Grants.gov, its electronic proposal submission system,” Carolyn Thoroughgood, former UD vice provost for research and graduate studies, said. “As more agencies make use of the electronic system, we need to make sure we have adequate time on the server for reviewing and approving research proposals before their due date. We want to avoid any electronic 'pile-ups' that might occur as more and more proposals flow into the pipeline.

“Our goal is to serve the University's research community in the best way we can, and this policy is designed to safeguard the investment of time and effort that goes into developing high-quality proposals,” Thoroughgood noted.

Currently, Research Management and Operations, a unit of the UD Research Office, processes in excess of 1,300 proposals per year, and of that number, between 400 and 500 proposals typically are funded by such agencies as the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and others, according to Christine Cook, assistant vice provost for research management and operations.

Depending on the funding agency and grant program, these proposals, with their required text, cited references, budgets, forms and appendices, may range in size from a few pages for a small grant to more than a hundred pages for large, multi-institutional efforts. Those proposals that are successful account for an influx of more than $148 million in research funding to UD each year.