Limited Submissions and Internal Competitions

This page summarizes the University's process for managing "Limited Submissions" — external funding programs which place special restrictions on applications submitted by an individual institution. In most cases, the sponsor limits the number of proposals allowed. 

If you are looking for information about Internal Competitions, please visit our new competition management portal, Competition⇄Review NEXUS. Currently active competitions are listed in the bottom-left region of the home page. And, you can use the Calendar tool to browse all competitions—archived, active, and future—without logging in. You can register by clicking Log In and using your USM ID and password.


General Information

With increasing frequency, federal funding agencies and private foundations are limiting the number of proposals an individual institution may submit in response to a particular solicitation. In effect, these sponsors are requiring institutions to assume more of the responsibility for screening proposals — by eliminating less competitive proposals before they are submitted to the sponsor. In order to submit the most competitive proposal(s), and to avoid the possibility of disqualification of all submissions from the University — by submitting more than the sponsor allows — ORA sometimes must organize internal competitions for such programs.

The ORA staff are pleased to say that we have begun managing internal competitions online with our new program, Competition⇄Review NEXUS. Visit the NEXUS portal anytime to look for upcoming and currently active internal competitions.  And when you find a competition you want to participate in, you can complete a brief application and upload your concept paper within the program. 

Many of the programs listed there will be reissued annually. Please be aware that these programs do not comprise a comprehensive list of limited submission programs, and that funding agencies continually add new limited submission programs. Anyone who wishes to apply for a program which specifies a limit on the number of applications, or requires institutional ranking, must contact ORA as soon as possible. If a limited submission/internal competition notice has not yet been issued, ORA will review the guidelines and initiate the process for selecting the Southern Miss candidate(s) in a timely and equitable manner.

If an internal deadline passes and there are fewer internal candidates than the allowed number of submissions, the PIs who participated in the competition automatically become the university applicants and are allowed to submit their proposals.


ORA process for managing limited submission programs

** Compliance with the specific instructions given for each internal competition supports the equity of the review process by providing the reviewers with consistent information and formatting from all applicants. Applicants who do not follow the instructions may jeopardize the review of their application.

Because each program has unique requirements and timelines, ORA must adapt instructions to accommodate each competition. Please be sure to follow the directions issued by ORA explicitly. In general the process is as follows:

The Office of Research Administration (ORA) will:



Receive solicitations with submission limitations.



Establish internal deadlines for obtaining notice of intent to submit or concept papers from interested PIs.



ORA may call for notification or issue a call for concept papers, depending on the guidelines, timetable, and other factors.



Disseminate the solicitation to the university community via e-mail announcement to the FACULTY/STAFF listserv using the USM Mailout system.



The internal announcement will include instructions for submitting notice/concept paper, due dates, guidelines, and other pertinent program information.
 6.Based on the responses to the announcement, ORA may either 1) coordinate an internal competition (when respondents exceed the maximum number allowed), or 2) if number of respondents does not exceed the maximum number allowed to submit, notify PI(s) that they are automatically designated as the university candidate(s).

Collect concept papers or notification from investigators by established date(s).

 8.Forward concept papers to internal review committee after the internal competition has closed.
 9.Act as liaison between applicants and evaluators to maintain confidentiality throughout the process.

Principal Investigators (PIs) who are interested in competing for limited submission programs agree to:

 1.Read the guidelines completely and thoroughly.
  a.Confirm that you meet eligibility requirements and will be allowed to apply.
  b.Evaluate goals of program and other guidelines to determine whether sponsor/program is an appropriate fit for your project.
  c.If, after reading the guidelines fully, you are still unsure whether your project matches the intent of the program and agency, contact the program officer or equivalent for guidance
 2.Discuss your intent to submit with department chair, unit director, and/or others involved in reviewing, routing, approving, and supporting the project.
 3.Follow ORA instructions precisely and respond by the specified internal deadline date/time.
  a.Instructions will ask you to either 1) send an e-mail message to give notice of intent to submit to program, or 2) submit a brief concept paper in electronic form
  b.Always follow the instructions precisely. If you have questions about the process, send an e-mail message to asking for clarification.
 **c.To ensure fairness throughout the review process, concept papers must be prepared in strict conformance with instructions (such as page limitations). Applications that do not meet the presentation standards may be rejected or be at a disadvantage in comparison with those that compliant.
 4.You may be required to provide a statement of support from appropriate university official (i.e. Chair, Dean, VP, Provost) addressing cost sharing requirements if project budget includes ANY type of university matching (release time, in-kind, cash, etc.).
 5.If selected as the university candidate for the program, contact appropriate ORA Grants Administrator and complete application per regular submission procedures and in accordance with agency guidelines.

In the event an internal competition is held, the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR):



Forms an ad hoc review panel to evaluate pre-proposals.



Coordinates panel review and selection of pre-proposal(s) deemed to be the most competitive (up to the allowable number of applications specified in the guidelines).



May consult with involved colleges/departments/schools for additional input as necessary.



May, when feasible, encourage a collaborative effort among PIs.



Notifies applicants of the results, allowing the selected investigators ample time to develop a full proposal and meet the sponsor's submission deadline.

 6.Informs ORA of the selected university candidate(s).
The VPR will, as necessary, look to qualified internal and external sources for review and recommendations in determining the most competitive proposals to put forward. If your proposal is not selected to go forward, ORA and the OVPR will be glad to work with you to look for alternative sponsors for your project.