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. Sometimes, institutions are asked to rank their proposals before submitting them to the sponsor.

If you are familiar with limited submissions and are looking for information about Internal Competitions, please visit our new competition management portal, Competition⇄Review NEXUS. Currently active competitions are listed near the bottom of the Home page. Alternatively, you can use the Nexus Calendar tool to browse all competitions—archived, active, and (scheduled) future—without having to log in. For more about Nexus, click the Applicant & Reviewer Guide link on the Nexus Home page (bottom right).


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 the 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 must sometimes organize internal competitions.

The ORA staff are pleased to say that we have begun managing internal competitions online with a program called Competition⇄Review NEXUS. Visit the NEXUS portal anytime to look for upcoming and currently active internal competitions and calls for notification of interest. When you find a limited-submission grant program you want to apply for, you can register your interest using the brief, online form; and, for internal competitions, you can upload your concept paper, all within Nexus. 

Because many of these programs in are reissued annually, ORA keeps archived competitions in the Calendar so information about them remains available. Please be aware that the programs in Nexus do not comprise a comprehensive list of limited submission programs, and that funding agencies continually add new limited submission programs, and sometimes convert existing programs to limited submissions. Anyone who wishes to apply for a program which specifies an institutional application limit or requires institutional ranking should look for it in the Nexus Calendar. If there is no corresponding Notification of Interest or Internal Competition in Nexus, contact the Office of Research Administration ( or 601-266-5054). ORA will review the guidelines and initiate a process for selecting the University's candidate(s) in as timely and equitable a manner as possible.

If an internal deadline passes and there are no more internal candidates than the allowed number of submissions, the PI(s) who registered interest or submitted concept papers in Nexus will become the university's applicant(s) and will be notified to submit their proposal(s) to the external sponsor.


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 a Notification of Interest and/or conduct an Internal Competition involving concept papers, depending on the sponsor's guidelines, timetable, and other factors. The call(s) will be announced to appropriate audiences via email and set up online in the University's Competition⇄Review NEXUS (active items are listed on the Home page, and all items are available in the Nexus Calendar).



The Nexus items will include due dates, guidelines, instructions for submitting notices or concept papers, and other pertinent program information.
 5.When more Notifications of Interest are registered in Nexus at the deadline than the number of submissions allowed by the sponsor, ORA may conduct an internal competition. If the number of Notifications is not excessive, the respondent(s) will be allowed to submit (a) full proposal(s) to the sponsor.

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

 7.Forward concept papers to internal review committee after the internal competition has closed.
 8.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.