Investigators and grant managers should remain in close communication throughout the post-submission process. Contact your respective pre-award office (ORA or ORS) for any post-submission changes.
The sponsor review process
The review process and timeframe varies by sponsor and funding mechanism. Standard review processes typically involve review by the program official and a peer review process, which can take some time. With Federal sponsoring agencies it can take up to 12 months before a funding decision is made. See below for links to common sponsors to better understand their review process:
While awaiting a decision, PIs and grant managers can check on the status of submitted applications electronically. Refer to the funding announcement for the system to track an application.
- National Institute of Health Applications - eRA Commons
- National Science Foundation Applications - Research.gov
During the review process, investigators may correspond with the program official about programmatic matters. Any other communication with sponsor officials should only be conducted by central offices. Grant managers can relay any concerns or questions to the appropriate central office.
Receiving a favorable score
What is considered a favorable score varies by the sponsor, but a favorable score indicates that the overall impact of the proposal scored highly and the reviewers and/or program officials have determined that there is significant interest or need for the proposal. However, this does not necessarily mean a proposal will be funded.
See the "Receiving an official request from the sponsor" section below to be prepared for what may be expected should an official Just-in-Time request be received.
Receiving an unfavorable score
If a proposal did not receive a favorable score it is not likely to be considered for funding at this time. However, there may be options to resubmit or repurpose the proposal. Department chairs, mentors, or the appropriate research development offices can discuss options and potential next steps.
Tough questions to ask for determining next steps:
- What comments were received from reviewers?
- Was this project a good fit for this sponsor and mechanism?
- Is there a better fit of funder to support this project?
- Would the outcomes of this project add additional knowledge to the field?
- Does this idea expand upon existing literature and have a sound rationale?
Based on the answers to these questions, the proposal can either be revised and resubmitted in accordance with the sponsor guidelines for resubmissions, submitted as a new proposal for a different funder or mechanism that may be a better fit, or the rationale and design of an idea can be revisited utilizing the literature and input from colleagues.
Receiving an official request from the sponsor
Investigators should contact their grant manager immediately upon receipt of a Just-in-Time request and should work closely together to fulfill all requests.
Below are common documents or considerations needed to fulfill Just-in-Time requests:
Approved protocol for proposals involving human participants or animals
The protocol to submit to the appropriate IRB if the proposal involves human participants, or IACUC if proposal involves animals should be developed. Some sponsors may require IRB or IACUC approval before officially granting an award, which can delay receiving funds if you wait until official notice to begin working on your protocol.
- For Campus IRB protocols: Protocol should be submitted prior to receiving official notice, and the IRB can provide a delayed onset approval (will need to write a justification).
- For Duke Health IRB protocols, the notice should be carefully reviewed for requirements. In some cases, a statement indicating that the protocol will be reviewed is sufficient. In other cases, the standard protocol submission process, including review through CRU or Oversight Organization, will apply.
- If your sponsor requires that the data from your research be made available in a repository (such as for the NIH’s Genomic Data Sharing policy), then you may need Institutional Certification for the intended upload before receiving the official award.
- Depending on the agency or sponsor, IACUC can conduct a congruency review and provide a letter of pending review.
- Note: for DoD proposal, protocols involving human participants or animals must be submitted and approved by DoD program officials along with the appropriate Duke IRB or IACUC.
Access the Prepare for institutional approvals page for more information about approvals for research involving human participants or animals.
Other Support/Current and Pending
For certain funders (including NIH), Other Support documentation must be submitted during the JIT period to disclose all resources, including financial, available in support of the individual’s research endeavor, whether the support originates from Federal and non-Federal (including foreign governments, state and local), commercial or institutional sources. Researchers and grant managers should work together to compile Other Support documentation.
Access the Disclose activities (Other Support/Current and Pending) page for details, processes, and resources.
Revising the proposed budget
When sponsors decide to fund a project below or above the requested budget level, there are several possibilities:
- Some sponsors will simply make the award at the new amount and expect the PI to make any necessary adjustments. The PI must prepare a revised budget and submit it to ORA/ORS before the award can be processed and spending initiated.
- Some sponsors will prepare a revised line item budget and make it part of the award.
- Most often, the sponsor will contact ORA/ORS or the PI and request a revised budget for the new amount before making the award. This revised budget must be reviewed and approved by ORA/ORS before submission to the sponsor.
Depending on the variance between the proposed and awarded amount, ORA/ORS will either make the revisions and process the award, or request a revised budget from the department. Depending on the complexity of the budget, ORA/ORS will give the department either 10 or 30 days. If the department fails to respond within the specified time frame, then ORA/ORS will complete the budget revisions and process the award. ORA/ORS will assume that effort remains the same as proposed and the department will need to fill out a Rebudgeting/CAS form to make any further changes.
If the reduction is significant, the PI may not be able to carry out the project as originally intended. If this is the case, it is appropriate to submit a revised statement of work to the sponsor along with the revised budget figures.
- Notify key personnel, collaborators, or subaward recipients listed in the proposal. Ask all key personnel to ensure they are in good standing with the sponsor, which includes submitting any late reports from other awards and having all required publications in open access. Having key personnel that are not in compliance with the sponsor’s requirements may delay official notice or receipt of the award.
- For proposals involving human participants, all key personnel must also have up-to-date CITI training. Training compliance can be reviewed in the "myTraining" widget in myRESEARCHhome.
- CITI training for internal key personnel should be verified and a letter stating this verification should be submitted to ORA/ORS and included in the JIT submission.
- Outside key personnel will need to provide documentation of their completed CITI training to submit to ORA/ORS.
Depending on the sponsor, there may be special considerations that need to be addressed before receiving the official award notice or beginning work on the project.
For example, during the Just-in-Time period for DoD proposal, protocols involving human participants or animals must be submitted and approved by DoD program officials along with the appropriate Duke IRB or IACUC.
Contact the appropriate pre-award office for guidance navigating terms, conditions, and clearances needed during the Just-in-Time period.