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Proposal Submission Deadline Policy

Issued: September 9, 2014
Effective: December 1, 2014

Complete proposals are to be submitted to the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) at least three (3) full business days prior to the submission deadline to be considered on-time by OSP. Unless the deadline is specifically defined as earlier than 5PM by the sponsor, the submission deadline is 5PM Eastern Time (ET) on the sponsor’s specified deadline date (even if the sponsor allows submissions beyond 5PM ET). 

OSP Commitment

OSP’s commitment is to submit on-time proposals, with limited exceptions, at least one business day before the deadline. OSP on-time proposals will take priority over late and at-risk proposals. Examples of exceptions that may require additional time include:

  • Proposals for contract solicitations
  • Proposals that need PI revision
  • Proposal Development document is not complete
  • Compliance issues that must be resolved at the proposal stage

Late Proposals

A proposal is considered late when a PI, their administrator or the departmental/college preaward office provides the complete proposal to OSP with less than 3 full business days prior to the submission deadline.  OSP will make reasonable efforts to review and sign-off on late proposals subject to the additional approval requirements described in “At-Risk Proposals” and “Steps for ensuring a successful proposal submission” stated below.  OSP cannot ensure the same proposal service levels for late proposals, which may jeopardize receipt by the sponsor.

At-Risk Proposal Submissions

A late proposal is considered at-risk when it is provided to OSP within 8 business hours of the submission deadline. The at-risk proposal must be specifically endorsed by the applicable research dean before it is reviewed by OSP. After receiving the endorsement from the research dean, OSP will make reasonable efforts to submit the endorsed proposal. OSP cannot ensure the same proposal service levels for at-risk proposals which may jeopardize receipt by the sponsor. Endorsement by the research dean should be based on extenuating circumstances that might merit a late submittal. 

An example of an extenuating circumstance is when a solicitation is released only 30 days prior to the due date and the proposal includes multiple investigators, subawards, the proposal’s administrative sections have been addressed with the department and/or college, as applicable, and OSP (e.g. the RFA was provided to OSP at least 10 business days before; budget provided to OSP for review 6 business days before, etc.), and the final package is provided with enough time to properly submit.

Please see the “PI At-Risk Proposal Submission Email Request Instructions” for Research Dean Endorsement directions.

At-Risk Criteria

At-Risk approval from the Research Dean is required if any of the following criteria have been met:

System-to-System (S2S) Submissions

  • Proposal attachments have a status of Incomplete within 8 business hours of the deadline
  • Proposal attachments have a timestamp that is within 8 business hours of the deadline
  • Significant changes are made to proposal attachments within 8 business hours of the deadline
  • PD document was put into route within 8 business hours of the deadline

All Other Proposal Submissions

  • Proposal was released to OSP for submission within 8 business hours of the deadline (e.g. NSF Fastlane or NASA NSPIRES), or forms that require authorized signature were sent to OSP within 8 business hours of the deadline (e.g. MSU Commitment Form, Letter of Intent, etc.)
  • Significant proposal changes are made within 8 business hours of the deadline (only for proposals being submitted by OSP)
  • PD document was put into route within 8 business hours of the deadline

OSP Proposal Preparation Deadlines

In order to provide the best service possible, OSP has a “10:6:3” proposal preparation policy. “10:6:3” means that the solicitation, if applicable, should be provided to OSP at least ten (10) business days in advance; the final budget for OSP review at least six (6) business days in advance; and the complete proposal for submission three full business days (3) before the submission deadline.

MSU Department and/or College Research Administrator Lead-Time Policy

To meet OSP’s proposal preparation deadlines, some departments and/or colleges have an official lead-time policy that establishes an internal proposal preparation and review schedule.   Please be aware of those policies and allow appropriate lead time that support meeting the OSP proposal processing deadlines.

Please review the Proposal Development & Submission webpages to ensure a successful proposal submission. Some of the important points in the OPPG are:

  • Please contact your administrator and OSP proposal representative as soon as you become aware of a possible opportunity so the preparation timeline can be established. OSP may need additional lead time for Federal contract proposals or compliance certifications.
  • Please know the policies established by your research dean to allow for completion of the routing and approval process.
  • All proposals must have a College approved Proposal Development document at the time of submission to the sponsor by OSP.
  • Electronic proposals requiring OSP institutional submission will be submitted by OSP. Due to the high level of complexity involved in the electronic proposal submission process, it is imperative that OSP receive the complete package as soon as practicable so as to increase the likelihood that it will be accepted by the sponsor.
  • Electronic proposals requiring PI submission should have OSP’s approval, indicated by final approval of the Proposal Development document, prior to submittal. Paper proposal submissions are mailed by principal investigators or departmental personnel after receiving OSP’s approval to submit.
  • When the sponsor’s deadline falls on a holiday, the proposal must be submitted to OSP at least three business days before the last business day before the holiday.
  • The PI or their designee needs to be available during and after the submission process so that any required revisions or corrections can be completed (i.e. the PI should review and assure that the agency accepted version is accurate).

PI At-Risk Proposal Submission Email Request Instructions

Per the OSP deadline policy, all at-risk proposals must be specifically endorsed by the applicable research dean before OSP can begin its review and submission.


  • Please send the following information in an email to your Research Dean  for endorsement as soon as you realize this endorsement is needed.
    • Proposal due date
    • Principal Investigator’s name
    • Proposal Development document App number
    • Explanation detailing the extenuating circumstances for the exception
    • Other optional information: provide any other helpful status information for the research dean to use in their decision making (e.g. is the technical portion complete, has the detailed budget received approval from OSP, is the abstract complete, are the agency forms complete, etc.)
  • If your research dean decides to allow the at-risk proposal to move forward, then:
    The research dean emails their endorsement to the appropriate OSP proposal team. For assistance with determining your proposal team, visit the OSP Department Organization webpage.

► For further information on the new proposal deadline policy, please read this memo from Stephen Hsu, Former Senior Vice President for Research and Innovation (formerly VPRGS), and Mark Haas, Vice President for Finance and Treasurer.

Suggested Proposal Timeline Guidance

Visit the Suggested Proposal Timeline Guidance for an outline of the suggested steps, tasks, timeframes, and deadlines in the proposal submission process.

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