Proposal Submission Policy

Effective: December 1, 2023

Responsible Office:  UFCVM Office for Research and Graduate Studies

Reason for Policy

In 2018, the UF Office of Research implemented a two-day deadline for receipt of “submit-ready” proposals for extramural funding in the UFIRST system. A “submit-ready” proposal includes: 1) the UFIRST SmartForm; 2) all documents associated with the submission (e.g., sponsor guidelines and forms, research strategy, budget and justification); and 3) required department and college approvals. Upon receipt, the UF Division of Sponsored Programs (DSP) reviews the proposals on a “first come, first served” process. If changes are needed, DSP may return the proposals for corrections that may trigger the need for re-approvals at the department and colleges levels. Regardless, DSP must receive the proposals before 9 am the business day before the sponsor deadline (i.e., 2 full business days). Any applications received after this deadline will not be submitted to the external sponsor except under extenuating circumstances that require special approval. Extenuating circumstances include unanticipated closure of the university; serious illness for PI or Co-PI; death of family member; documented sponsor complications or sponsor system technical issues experienced prior to the deadline. In the event of an extenuating circumstance, the PI or unit should contact DSP immediately with their written justification that also includes approval of the unit Research Dean. No waiver of the two-day deadline is granted unless it is in writing from a director of DSP.

In response to the UF proposal submission deadline, CVM has implemented an internal proposal submission policy outlined below.     


CVM Policy Statement

In order to meet DSP’s proposal submission deadline, the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Office of Research and Graduate Studies (CVM’s Office of Research) has implemented an official lead-time policy that establishes an internal schedule for proposal submission, review schedule. A critical function of our Office of Research and Graduate Studies is to review, approve and route proposals prior to submission to all external sponsors. To ensure a successful submission and maximize receipt of funding, it is in the best interest of the Principal Investigators (PIs) to allow sufficient lead time for effective review of all components and compliance checks of the application.

Therefore, effective December 1, 2023, a “submit ready” proposal containing all final documents must be entered and routed in the UFIRST system by 9am at least five (5) business days before the sponsor’s or subcontracting partner’s deadline. A business day is defined as Monday-Friday from 8am-5pm. Reviewed in the order received, an earlier submission has the benefit of additional time in which to address potential corrections/omissions that may be present in the original submission. Importantly, the final, “submit ready” proposals must be provided in accordance with CVM’s 5-business day policy that is inclusive of UF and DSP’s 2-business day policy. While both Offices will make good faith efforts to provide diligent review, there is no guarantee that a proposal received after their respective deadlines will be submitted to the sponsor.  

Proposal Submission Roles and Responsibilities

PI Responsibilities.  PIs must be aware of proposal submission policies and allow appropriate lead time to meet both CVM’s and DSP’s proposal processing deadlines. It is highly recommended that PIs discuss their proposals with their Department Chairs and Research Administrators (RA) at least 10 business days before the sponsor’s or subcontracting partner’s deadline. PI responsibilities in the proposal submission process include but are not limited to: 1) requesting at least 0.6 months of salary on the proposal unless specifically prohibited by the solicitation; 2) providing sponsor announcement/guidelines; 3) supplying information for completion of the UFIRST SmartForm including key personnel and regulatory requirements; 4) submitting all required documents in final form; 5) completing PI certification; and 6) proofing the final application for formatting and content in accordance with sponsor guidelines. To ensure timely submissions, PIs must remain actively engaged with their RAs throughout the entire process, including acknowledging receipt of emails and noting progress on any requests within 24 hours. Those faculty not responding to requests for information may risk not having their proposals submitted on time.

RA Responsibilities. RA specialists initiate the UFIRST process including completion of SmartForm using the information provided above. Throughout the submission process, additional responsibilities include: 1) checking proposal components for agreement with sponsor requirements; 2) understanding unallowable, direct, and F&A costs and supporting the development of budgets and related financial materials; 3) facilitate the upload of all documents in UFIRST system; and 4) obtaining internal approvals. Importantly, the budget preparation is often a hurdle in timely submission.  It is important that the PI provide a final detailed budget with subaward and justification to their RAs ahead of other documentation to ensure there no delays.

Department Chair Responsibilities. Department Chairs must establish departmental procedures supporting UF and CVM policies and procedures for proposal submission routing. Other duties in the proposal submission process include but are not limited to: 1) overseeing PI in the submission of the proposal budget in accordance with university, sponsors, state and federal laws and regulations; 2) certifying that any proposal submitted by the department contains all costs necessary to complete the proposal activities and that any costs not identified and committed as cost sharing or simply not included will be borne by the department.; 3) reviewing and approving F&A costs and ensuring the rate conforms to the university’s F&A Cost Policy.; 4) reviewing and approving the PI eligibility of a faculty member to serve as PI; and 5) reviewing and approving any cost sharing committed in the proposal, as necessary.

College Administrator (e.g., Associate Dean for Research) Responsibilities. The college administrator must establish college policies and procedures for aligning with university policies and reviewing proposal submissions and routing. Other duties include but are not limited to: 1) providing direction, resources, and oversight to ensure sponsored program are conducted in accordance with university, sponsor, state, and federal policies, laws, and regulations.; 2) certifying proposals contain all costs necessary to complete the proposal activities.; 3) validating requested F&A costs conform to the University’s F&A Cost Policy; 4) reviewing and approving any committed cost sharing in the proposal; and 5) reviewing and approving the PI eligibility of a faculty member to serve as PI.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. When does the CVM Office for Research and Graduate Studies start counting the 5 days? The day it arrives or the day after?

The complete application must arrive 5 full business days prior to the application deadline. Therefore, if the application arrives to the submitting office at 4 pm on Monday, then first full business day is the following day, Tuesday. If an application arrives by 9 am on Monday, then the first full business day is Monday.

2. What is the definition of a complete and “FINAL” proposal?

The application is considered complete by the PI and no further edits are occurring on any of the components; and the final proposal is approved by all of the necessary PI, department, and college officials prior to submission and approval by DSP.

3. As PI, I would like to work on the research strategy portion of my proposal right up until the sponsor deadline. If all the other administrative forms, including budget, are submitted within the 5-day or 2-day policy, is this acceptable?

A proposal is not considered complete and final until every portion is signed and marked final by the PI, department, college, and university. Reading the science/narrative portion of the proposal is part of CVM and DSP review for regulatory and financial congruence.

4. What if the college receives the proposal with little time to review? Would the submitting office rather we take more time to get the proposal into better shape or the 5 full business days for review?

The CVM Office of Research and Graduate Studies requires the proposal with 5 full business days for review.

5. Will the submitting office wait until the final day before submitting the application?

The proposal will be reviewed on a “first come, first served” basis. Assuming there are no necessary corrections, our Office will submit the application to DSP as soon as possible.

6. What if a PI receives notice from a sponsor to submit a proposal within less than five business days to prepare. Would this be considered an exemption?

The PI would need to seek an exemption approval from the CVM College Administrator who would then request exemption approval from DSP.

7. I am submitting a subaward proposal through another university who is then submitting to NIH. Although the NIH deadline is not for another 15 days, the other university’s submission policy requires 10 days for review. When do I need to get this proposal to CMV Office for review?

You should assume the other university’s internal deadline is the proposal deadline. Meaning, if it is due to the other university on Feb. 10 to meet their internal submission policy, then you need to submit the proposal to us by a full 5 business days ahead of Feb. 10 to be compliant with our submission policy.

8. How will retroactive proposals be treated? (Retroactive: a proposal that is submitted to the sponsoring agency without the necessary internal approvals at department/college/university levels)

This should never occur. Such a retroactive proposal will need an approved exception before it can be processed, including one that arrives with an award agreement.

9. Who is my Research Administrator?

Your Research Administrator (RA) can assist with the management, authorization and transmittal of proposals to federal, state, and private funding agencies. If you do not have an assigned RA, please contact Sally Blalock (

Revisions to Proposals After Internal Routing but Prior to Submission (

When a Department/College approves a proposal, they are certifying that the resources disclosed in the proposal are appropriate for the faculty and the Department/College. Resources include but are not limited to the budget, time/effort, cost share, facilities, equipment, and any other commitments.  If there needs to be a change to a proposal after any approvals have been obtained but prior to DSP submission to the sponsor, the following guidance will determine what reviews are required. 

Major changes for which Unit (Department, Director, and/or College) Approvals need to be recaptured are:

1. those that have a significant impact on the proposal reviews that have occurred, and re‐capturing approvals allows the Unit to re‐certify they are amenable to the changes (see examples below);

a. If during proposal review, DSP determines that UFIRST re‐approval(s) or ad hoc approval(s) are needed, DSP WILL NOT submit to the sponsor before the approvals are executed.


2. any time the PI or unit research administrator requests the UFIRST proposal to be returned after it arrives in the Core Office (DSP). 

a. You must have the proposal returned through UFIRST’S full approval process before 9AM the business day before the deadline to meet UF’s Proposal Deadline Policy

b. Note: The PI or unit can ask for minor corrections without requesting the UFIRST proposal being returned and triggering the major change process. 


1. If the change requires update of major fields (see examples below), within the UFIRST SmartForms then the proposal requires a full re‐approval and DSP will return the proposal to “DRAFT” state.

2. If the change doesn’t require update of UFIRST SmartForm fields but is still classified as major, DSP reset approvers or will execute the “Request Ad Hoc Review” activity to individual approver(s) as appropriate.

Examples of major changes include but are not limited to:

a. Routing a proposal to Core Office without submission documents attached or without granting DSP access to the proposal in the sponsor’s submission portal

b. Scope change (e.g. adding or removing specific aims, adding or removing human subjects or use of animals)

c. Changes to the appointment section of UF key person’s biographical sketches

d. Changes to content of facilities and other resources committed in submission documents

e. Updates to proposal descriptor questions in UFIRST SmartForms Page 3.0 Questions 1.0 (humans/animals), 3.0 (global) and/or 5.0 (institutional commitments)

f. Adding or removing UF key personnel or re‐categorization of UF person between key and non‐key status

g. Changes to the budget by more than 5% or $10,000 (whichever is less) from the Unit approved TOTAL proposal budget, or variances between the UFIRST SmartForms and submission documents by more than 5% or $10,000 (whichever is less).  

h. Other changes to the budget (UFIRST SmartForms and/or submission docs)

i. Addition of cost sharing

ii. Changes to the level of effort (paid or unpaid) for any UF key person

iii. Re‐categorization of a third party’s involvement from subrecipient to vendor or vice versa

iv. Shift between categories that affect the F&A budget (moving from a category that does not incur F&A to one which does incur F&A or vice versa) 

v. Changes to the F&A rate or F&A base (other than incorrect selection of base which does not affect the calculated F&A costs)

Minor changes for which Unit (Department, Director, and/or College) Approvals do NOT need to be recaptured are those that do not generally impact the content of reviews that have occurred.


1. If updates are needed to the UFIRST SmartForms, DSP will make them upon written confirmation from the PI or unit research administrator. If DSP needs a response from the PI or unit research administrator then the proposal will be put in “PENDING TEAM RESPONSE: CORE OFFICE REVIEW” state.

2. PI or unit research administrator is responsible for making corresponding changes, and returning the proposal to DSP by executing the “RESPOND TO CORE OFFICE CHANGE REQUEST” activity.

Examples of minor changes include but are not limited to:

a. Title change

b. Start/end date discrepancy between the UFIRST SmartForms and submission documents

c. Non‐UF personnel or third-party collaborator missing from the UFIRST SmartForms

d. Senior/key personnel role (e.g. Co‐PI to Co‐Investigator or Co‐Investigator to Co‐PI) update in the UFIRST SmartForms

e. Incorrect sponsor or prime sponsor in the UFIRST SmartForms

f. Missing or incorrect solicitation number and/or solicitation document in the UFIRST SmartForms

g. Budget 

i. Changes to the budget that causes the TOTAL proposal budget to change by less than 5% or $10,000 (whichever is less) 

ii. Variances between UFIRST and submission documents (submission documents must be accurate but no change to UFIRST is necessary as long as no major change under “h” above has occurred)

iii. Shift between cost categories on the General Costs Page in the UFIRST Budget SmartForm that incur the same F&A rate (e.g. Materials & Supplies, Other, Publications)


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