Some requests for proposals (RFPs) from federal and private funding agencies place limits on the number of proposals an institution can submit in a given competition. Because of these limitations there is a need for the University to review all potential submissions responding to such RFPs.  The overall objective of this process is to make Northeastern as competitive as possible in these external competitions.

Research Development administers the nomination process for Limited Submissions Programs for the Senior Vice Provost for Research (SVPR).

There may be special circumstances where the SVPR, in consultation with the Deans, will reach out to faculty groups to work together in responding to a limited submission opportunity that advances broad University priorities.

Overall Process

The process has four steps:

1. Announcement of limited submission program and communication of interest

Such programs will be announced by Research Development via posting on the Limited Submissions Website ( /or via email to faculty, Deans, and Chairs as appropriate to the program.Information will include:

  • Name of sponsor and title of program
  • Internal deadline for submission of limited submission pre-proposals (no later than 60 days prior to sponsor deadline)
  • Sponsor deadline
  • Description of submission limitation
  • Link to program guidelines

PI’s are encouraged to contact Research Development to discuss their interest in a program.

2. Preparation of pre-proposal and review by limited submissions committee

For each competition, principal investigators are required to submit a limited submission pre-proposal by the internal deadline specified in the announcement. The pre-proposal should address the sponsoring agency's priorities as outlined in the RFP.

The pre-proposal should be no more than two pages in length in 11-point font with .5” margins, and must contain the following information:

  • Proposal title
  • Principal Investigator and Co-Principal Investigator(s), Department and College
  • Proposed start date and duration of the project
  • Estimated (total) budget for the entire performance period
  • Summary of the project (main body of the document)

The pre-proposal should be sent as a PDF attachment to (x3836). The subject line of the email should include the sponsor name and program title.

If the number of pre-proposals exceeds the sponsor’s limitations, the SVPR will convene a limited submissions committee to review the pre-proposals Limited Submission Review Form. The appropriate Deans may be asked to provide a ranking of the pre-proposals from their College for consideration at the committee meeting.

The limited submissions committee will provide a recommendation to the SVPR who makes the final decision regarding the internal competition.

3. Notification of decision to internal competitors

Once the SVPR approves the nominee(s), PI and his/her department chair, associate dean for research, and RAF will be notified via email by Research Development. PI’s whose projects were not selected will be notified as well.

4. Submission of final proposal

Once a faculty member is selected to apply for a limited submissions opportunity, she/he has the responsibility to submit a timely application, barring serious, extenuating circumstances.

Should a candidate wish to decline a nomination, she/he needs to do so in writing within 5 business days of selection notification to Karen Drew, Director of Research Development,

Faculty may not submit an application in response to a limited funding opportunity to the sponsor without approval from the SVPR.

Limited Submissions Committees


The committee’s charge is to discuss the relative merits of the pre-proposals and identify the very best proposal(s) for submission to the funding agency or foundation on behalf of Northeastern University, and make a recommendation to the SVPR who has the final authority for selecting a nominee(s).


  • Associate deans for research, or their designees
  • One center director or designee

When reviews require additional research expertise not reflected by the composition of the limited submission committee’s membership, the SVPR may select 1-3 ad hoc expert reviewers with no conflict of interest to serve as special members.