1. How do I provide feedback or submit questions related to the proposed Proposal Deadline Policy?

Any feedback or questions related to the proposed deadline policy may be sent to proposaldeadline@purdue.edu.  SPS will review all feedback and questions for consideration as we work to implement this policy.

2. Why do we need a Proposal Deadline Policy?

Purdue is in the fortunate position of having a growing number of faculty and staff submitting grant proposals and applications. Additionally, the University is focused on significantly increasing the amount of funded research in the coming years. With this growth in activity as well as increased requirements and growing complexity imposed by sponsors, a new proposal deadline policy is necessary to ensure that the Sponsored Program Services Pre-Award team can continue providing you with top-notch support. Because proposal submission is all about meeting a strict sponsor imposed deadline, under the current processes those who come in at the last minute as put on the top of the stack or move to the from of the line impacting other faculty who met the timelines and had their material in on time. The deadline policy is an attempt to mitigate the impact that late submitters have on their on-time colleagues. This issue has been cited by numerous faculty in response to pre-award surveys as a significant factor in their proposal submission satisfaction and stress as the deadline approaches. In late 2022, SPS Pre-Award saw a staff turnover at record levels (nearly 50% in just a few months time). Many of the staff leaving cited the lack of a proposal deadline policy and the increasing frequency of investigators requiring last-minute support as one of the reasons for their departure from Purdue. Our polling has determined that most Universities have some form of proposal deadline policy. On average, SPS Pre-Award Specialists each submit between 10-20 proposals per month depending on their experience level and the complexity of the proposal. An individual specialist could be handling tasks related to 20-30 future deadlines at any given time. Sponsor systems, additional documentation requirements, and increased complexity in budget formatting have continued to make the tasks related to preparing a proposal for submission more and more time consuming. The proposal deadline policy will ensure adequate time is available to ensure a successful submission and will allow SPS Pre-Award staff to better support each proposal.

3. Why should all proposals follow the same number of days if they have varying levels of complexity?

The timeline for the proposal deadline stages is designed to fit most proposals in an effort to make the policy manageable and easy to remember. It also ensuresthat there is adequate lead time to balance multiple submissions all converging on a deadline. It is recognized that more complex proposals (those with extensive cost share, very large budgets, and/or multiple subawards) may require additional lead time to meet each stage.

4. Why is the narrative/statement of work/project description due two days prior to the deadline?

Pre-Award appreciates the project team’s desire to continue to tweak and improve the proposal up until the final moments before the deadline. However, Pre-Award needs additional time to adequately review final proposals prior to submission. Pre-Award staff review project descriptions for required headers and footers, required sections and section headings, accurate proposal classification (research, outreach, etc.), required forms and certifications, possible concerns such as inadvertent cost share, margins/font requirements, and often compile the final full technical pdf with appendices and the table of contents. Additionally, many sponsor systems perform technical checks on the entire proposal only after every document is uploaded. Errors can sometimes take hours to resolve and require calls to technical service desks for the various sponsor systems. Finalizing the proposal 48 hours in advance allows for a thorough review within Pre-Award and adequate time to troubleshoot submission system issues.

5. What if a sponsor comes to us late? Should we turn down the money?

The Proposal Deadline Policy allows for exceptions when an investigator receives late notice from a sponsor for a proposal submission.

6. How can we expect our subaward institutions to meet the 5-day deadline for non-scientific documents?

Many times Purdue is asked to meet other organization’s internal deadlines when we are serving as the subaward institution. It is very common to adjust timelines to meet other institutions deadline policies.

7. What should be considered if the proposal includes cost share?

Cost share negotiations can take time to finalize. Investigators should work to finalize the full budget early enough to allow several days for cost share negotiations prior to the Admin Stage deadline date.

8. When you say the finalized documents have to be in by the deadline, does this mean SPS will have checked the documents?

No, SPS will check documents after each deadline stage. If an error or required fix is identified, the PI will be allowed to make corrections without being considered late. The deadline policy stages are built specifically to allow time for any back-and-forth to correct documents after SPS Pre-Award review.

9. What are the expectations of the Pre-Award staff in regards to the new proposal deadline policy?

SPS Pre-Award staff are expected to actively support you in meeting the proposal deadline stages. You can expect quick response times and active effort to perform tasks that are the responsibility of the Pre-Award specialist (such as budget and revisions).

10. What exactly is the exception form and who needs to approve it?

Each stage for which a proposal is late will require approval of an exception form. This form requires completion of basic information about the proposal and the reason it is late. Exceptions should only be requested in extreme circumstances, unanticipated medical or bereavement leaves, or short turn-around time from the initial sponsor notice of funding opportunity. SPS will keep a record of all exceptions requested. Approval requirements for each stage are listed below:

• Initiation Stage: Director, Pre-Award; copy to PI’s Department Head

• Admin Stage: Associate Dean for Research of the PI’s college; copy to PI’s Department Head

• Science Stage: Executive Vice President for Research; copy to PI’s Department Head

Exception Forms can be found here.

11. Why can’t Pre-Award just hire more people instead of implementing this policy?

SPS Pre-Award recently hired several new staff as a result of the recent investment in SPS. These new staff will help to address existing workload needs and allow the Pre-Award staff to provide a higher level of service on each proposal. However, the addition of more staff would not allow for the time needed to adequately review and support each proposal submission in the hours leading up to the deadline.

12. Does the policy apply to Letters of Intent (LOI), White Papers, or Preliminary Proposals?

It depends.  The Proposal Deadline Policy does apply for these types of preliminary submissions when Pre-Award involvement is required.  Many of these can be as involved to prepare as a regular proposal submission (full budget, cost share, etc.). Please check with Pre-Award staff if you have any questions about your specific situation.

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