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Proposal review and submission

Need assistance with submitting a proposal?

Investigators and grants administrators should work closely together when submitting a proposal to ensure the application meets all sponsor requirements, is routed appropriately and timely, allowing for time to fix any errors prior to submission. Review common proposal errors to proactively avoid any issues at the time of submission.

Why is institutional review and approval required?

Because Duke University certifies compliance with sponsor requirements and accepts certain responsibilities at the time that an application is submitted, the sponsor typically requires an institutional official’s signature, indicating that Duke University complies with sponsor and governmental regulations, has adequate facilities and infrastructure to carry out the project, and agrees to perform the proposed work within the requested budget and the proposed timeline. 

All applications must be reviewed and approved by a Duke University institutional official in the Office of Research Administration (ORA) or the Office of Research Support (ORS) prior to submission. Applications submitted for external funding without first receiving institutional clearance from the appropriate pre-award office will not be accepted at the time of award notification.

An application may not be submitted if:

Review and submission process

Investigator + Department, Center, or Institute Review

Prior to the internal submission deadline, investigators and grants and contracts administrators should work together to ensure the application is complete and compliant with the sponsor and Duke University requirements, as well as the accuracy and acceptability of information included within the application. Access additional details of what should be reviewed at the unit level

Routing of proposal for institutional review and approval

Once the Department, Center, or Institute has conducted their review of the approval and fixed any errors, the grants administrator routes the final form application for institutional review and approval. Routing must occur at least five business days in advance of the sponsor deadline.

Institutional (ORA/ORS) review 

ORA and ORS review applications using various tools, sources of information, and guidance - including sponsor program announcements, sponsor policies, Federal regulations, Duke policies, internal review guidance, and the application information provided and approved by the investigator and grants and contracts administrator. In addition, ORA and ORS assess whether information in the SPS record is consistent with the application. Access additional details of what is reviewed by ORA/ORS

Required or recommended changes

Any necessary revisions are communicated to the investigator and grants and contracts administrator. Once corrected and returned, ORA or ORS will verify that the revisions were addressed. 

Applications submitted for external funding without first receiving institutional clearance from the appropriate pre-award office will not be accepted at the time of award notification.

Electronic Proposal Attestation

Electronic proposal attestation is required of PIs, Multi-PIs, Co-PIs and PI Fellows prior to submission of a grant proposal. Attestation becomes available when the grant administrator first routes the SPS record for institutional approval. Notifications, with a link to the attestation, are system-generated and sent automatically to anyone required to attest. Attestation forms are also accessible in myRESEARCHhome in the myApprovals widget.

Access additional guidance on Electronic Proposal Attestation.

Routing of proposal to the sponsor

Once the application is reviewed and cleared for submission by ORA/ORS, ORA/ORS will send a message indicating that the reviewed version is the version Duke expects to be submitted. This version is submitted to the sponsor via the appropriate channel by the responsible party.

Access proposal submission frequently asked questions