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Sponsored Programs Proposal Submission Deadlines

  • Responsible Office: Division of Sponsored Programs, Office of the Vice President, Research and Innovation
  • Current Approved Version: 12/09/2020
  • Policy Type: Administrative

Policy Statement and Purpose

Proposal Submission Deadlines

This policy sets forth the time periods that allow for adequate review and submission of all requests for externally funded sponsored programs. Proposals are reviewed at the department, school and Division of Sponsored Programs (DSP) levels. Approval signatures are required at the school and DSP levels.

Submission TypeDate & Time
Due to OSP (# of business days prior to sponsor)
Items Required for Submission to OSP
Hard Copy/Paper Submission 5 Business Days 9:00 a.m. Proposal created and routed in RAMS-SPOT system including an abstract, a line item budget, and full sponsor-required proposal Submissions 5 Business Days 9:00 a.m. Proposal created and routed in RAMS-SPOT system including the SF424 application package and the full sponsor-required proposal
Other Electronic Submissions 5 Business Days 9:00 a.m. Proposal created and routed in RAMS-SPOT system including an abstract, a line item budget, and full sponsor-required proposal (uploaded to applicable external electronic system when required)

Noncompliance with this policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination. VCU supports an environment free from retaliation. Retaliation against any employee who brings forth a good faith concern, asks a clarifying question, or participates in an investigation is prohibited.

Who Should Know This Policy

All individuals involved in sponsored programs are responsible for knowing this policy and familiarizing themselves with its contents and provisions.


Business Day
Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. local time and excludes weekends and university holidays.

Principal Investigator
The individual with overall responsibility for the conduct of research or other activity described in a proposal, protocol or an award, and/or the individual with fiduciary responsibility for award management.

An application for funding that contains all information necessary to describe project plans, staff capabilities, and funds requested. Formal proposals are officially approved and submitted by an organization in the name of a principal investigator. A proposal (application) can be considered an offer to do business, and requires the signature of an institution's authorized official.

Research Administration Management System-Sponsored Programs Online Tracking (RAMS-SPOT)
The electronic system implemented by the Division of Sponsored Programs used to manage the funding proposal and award process. RAMS-SPOT supports paperless routing and approval of all major sponsored project transactions, paperless record storage, budget capture, and in-system communication.


The Division of Sponsored Programs officially interprets this policy. The Division of Sponsored Programs is responsible for obtaining approval for any revisions as required by the policy Creating and Maintaining Policies and Procedures through the appropriate governance structures. Please direct policy questions to the associate vice president for sponsored programs.

Policy Specifics and Procedures 

Prior Notification

The principal investigator is strongly encouraged to notify their department fiscal administrator/grants administrator of their intent to submit a proposal as soon as the decision is made. This prior notification is especially important in the following instances:

  • Large, complex programs
  • Multi-project programs, involving other VCU departments and/or other institutions
  • Unusual terms and conditions referenced in the funding announcement
  • Limitations on the number of institutional applicants (Note: Limited submission applications are handled via the Limited Submission Opportunities compliance notice)
  • Requests for deviations from institution, school or college policies or practices
  • New initiatives involving significant resources requiring school/department approvals

DSP Queue Process

RAMS-SPOT records the date and time received for all proposals. Review queues are established based on date/time received. 

Special Information on National Institutes of Health (NIH) proposals
DSP initial review of proposals will continue to be based on a first-come, first-served basis. Submission priority will be based on proposals that are reviewed and complete (with all final PDFs) as well as already-submitted proposals that need corrective action. Timely response to DSP review staff questions and requested changes will ensure your place in the submission queue.

Late Submissions

Proposals not meeting the DSP deadline are logged in the same manner as above; however, the proposal is recorded as late in the RAMS-SPOT system. Although the proposal is added to the review queue, proposals received without adequate time for review may not be submitted.


  1.  Budget Worksheet

Related Documents

  1. Limited Submission Opportunities

Revision History

This policy supersedes the following archived policies: 

10/22/2012    Sponsored Programs Proposal Submission Deadlines

05/31/2017    Sponsored Programs Proposal Submission Deadlines


  1. The sponsor has established a deadline date with a time of 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Will DSP allow me to work later on my proposal and submit just before the 8:00 p.m. deadline?

    No. DSP interprets all sponsor deadline times to be no later than 5:00 p.m. on the deadline date.

  2. My proposal is due in three (3) days and has not yet been submitted to DSP. Will DSP still accept my proposal for review?

    Yes. Your proposal will be placed in our review queue. While DSP will make every effort to review and approve your proposal, all proposals received earlier than yours for the same due date will be reviewed prior to review of your proposal. Your proposal will be recorded as a late submission.

  3. Can DSP just review my budget documents without any other proposal documentation?

    No. Budget review is just one aspect of DSP’s review of the proposal. All business, administrative, and background aspects (cover page, budget, budget justification, sponsor-required forms, biosketches, checklists, etc.) of the proposal should be submitted in final form. The technical section of the proposal may be in draft form.

  4. If my proposal is submitted to DSP on time but my final technical section is late, when is my proposal submitted?

    Your proposal will be placed in the submission queue when the final version of the technical proposal is received and the proposal is ready for submission, i.e., all questions have been answered, etc. All other complete proposals already in the review and submission process will be submitted prior to final review and submission of your proposal.answered, etc. All other complete proposals already in the review and submission process will be submitted prior to final review and submission of your proposal.