Researcher FAQs about the review and submission policy

Here are some recent questions and answers about the updated proposal submission policies at Duke. If you need help with your proposal, please work with your unit grants manager.  If questions remain, please reach out to

What if I can’t get my completed application in by the 5 business day internal deadline? 

Short answer: A late waiver process is available but requires approval. 

The details: Situations may arise that affect the ability to meet the internal five business day deadline (see guidance on calculating the five business day deadline).  In these cases, the owning organizational unit of the application being submitted can follow the process for submitting a Late Waiver Request. Of note, this should be rare for announcements with well-known cycle dates (e.g., NIH, NSF).   

A Late Waiver Request will be reviewed institutionally, and if approved, the unit grant manager and PI may proceed with routing the submission to ORA/ORS. 

  • Applications not received by ORA/ORS allowing at least two (2) business days prior to the sponsor deadline for institutional review will not be released for submission to the sponsor. 
  • Applications found to contain errors (including but not limited to the reasons below) will not be released for submission to the sponsor:  
  • Placeholders  
  • Non-compliance with institutional policy – e.g., publication restriction without exception letter, unapproved cost sharing, improper use of name/logo/trademark 
  • PIs no longer affiliated with or physically located at Duke 
  • PI/institution does not meet eligibility requirements 
  • PI not selected to submit the proposal (limited submission)  
  • Falsified information, data, signatures  
Are there any exceptions to the 5 business day submission policy? 

Short answer: If the sponsor does not require an Authorized Organizational Representative signature or the submission does not include a detailed budget, it is not necessary to route for central ORA/ORS review within the 5-business day deadline. 

The details: For the following examples, the sponsor typically requires a brief 1-2 page narrative of the proposed project idea and does not include a budget or Institutional Authorized Official approval/submission. In these cases, ORA/ORS review and approval is not required unless otherwise specified by the sponsor. The PI submits directly to the sponsor and no SPS record is required.  

  • White paper 
  • Letter of Intent to apply  
  • Pre‐Proposal 

Please note: Though the ORA/ORS five business day review policy does not apply, the PI’s academic unit (department/center/institute) may have a requirement for review. Any of the above submissions that require an institutional Authorized Organizational Representative’s signature/approval/submission do follow the five business day review policy. 

What if I discover an error after ORA/ORS central review and I need to make a change to my application? 

Short answer: If there is an error that affects Duke’s ability to submit a true, complete and accurate application, work through your unit grant manager to request that the change be made and re-reviewed by ORA/ORS if necessary. 

The details: It is expected that a true, complete, and accurate application is received by ORA/ORS, ready for submission, at least five business days in advance of the submission due date – ​therefore, only changes that ORA/ORS require can be made. ​ 

If rare, extenuating circumstances call for changes (the PI realizes that there is an issue that would affect Institution’s ability to certify (via the Authorized Organizational Representative) that the application is true, complete and accurate), the PI may request changes to the application by working through the unit grant manager to make the request of ORA/ORS. 

Duke reserves the right to not accept an award if the application submitted differs from what was institutionally-approved.​