Proposal Submission Process for Limited Opportunity Applications

In June 2005, Thomas Rosenbaum, Vice President for Research and for Argonne National Laboratory, and Keith Moffat, Deputy Provost for Research, jointly released a memorandum entitled “Dealing with programs that limit the number of proposals that can be submitted by the University.” The memorandum outlines the University’s policy on the selection and submission process for proposal(s) responding to program solicitations in which a sponsor limits the number of proposals it will accept from any single institution. Since proposals originate with the principal investigators, this poses a challenge: how to identify investigators interested in responding to a limited opportunity and then fairly adjudicate among them to select the application(s) that will be submitted by the University. For this process to work well, selection of preproposals must occur when the writing is just beginning. This policy is designed so that investigators do not invest significant effort to write proposals only to find that a slot is not available to them.

The policy for the identification, review and selection for limited opportunity applications is stated below – June 2005


Any person about to develop a proposal must check the program announcement carefully for limitations on the number of proposals that may be submitted. In addition, a number of University offices try to identify such limitations when the programs are announced, and will alert our research community in order to solicit preproposals.

If there is a limit on the number of slots allowed to the University, all potential proposers must get a written assignment of a slot. The first step in securing a slot is to contact the research support office for the Division: the Local Business Centers for the Physical Sciences Division and the Social Sciences Division, the Office of Research Services for the Biological Sciences Division, and so on. That office will contact Fred Stafford, Consultant, Office of the Vice President for Research and for National Laboratories, (f-stafford@uchicago.edu) who will organize an internal review, develop a selection time schedule, and coordinate the slot assignment process.

Selection Process

If the number of preproposals or expressions of interest exceeds the number of available slots, (1) each Division prioritizes the preproposals from that Division. If the competition for slots is totally within a Division/Unit, the Dean of the Division/Unit selects the approved application(s). (2) if the competition involves preproposals from more than one Division/Unit, preproposals from each Division/Unit are rank-ordered by the Dean/Director of the Division/Unit and submitted to the Vice President for Research and for Argonne National Laboratory who works with the Deputy Provost for Research to set up a process to mediate a decision. Cross divisional/unit preproposals must be included in the rank ordering determined by each Dean/Director. If either or both officials (Vice President and/or Deputy Provost) have a conflict of interest, that conflict is suitably managed.

Proposal Submission

If more proposals ultimately reach University Research Administration than are permitted by the funding agency, those with written slot assignments will get first priority.

For a listing of federal limited opportunities, please click HERE
For a listing of non-federal opportunities, please click HERE