Preparing and submitting proposals requires collaboration. We are here to help. 

Your department or college research administration staff can help you with budget development, research administration, and other Cornell systems and the necessary approvals for research proposals. 

Working on a center grant, multi-PI grant, or training grant? Research Development can help.

Key Concepts

  • PI Eligibility. Confirm you're eligible to serve as Principal Investigator (PI)
  • Funding Sources. Most of Cornell's sponsored funding is from the federal government. Researchers also get funding through state and local governments, foundations, corporations, non-profits, and other sources. 
  • Non-disclosure Agreements (NDAs). If the funding opportunity requires an NDA, notify OSP at
  • Preparation. Contact your department or unit administrator for information about proposal preparation. 
    • College of Engineering, College of Arts & Sciences, Cornell Tech, Architecture, Art and Planning, Cornell Law School, and CLASSE researchers are supported through the Pre-Award Research Operations (PRO) team. Proposal notifications can be submitted here.
    • CALS and CVM have specialized support offices to assist you.
    • Research Development Services group facilitates proposal development and success in competitions for large, extramural, multi-investigator grants and contracts, including multidisciplinary center and facility proposals, training grants, early career awards, and other major awards.
  • Submission. Grant and Contract Officers (GCOs) offer assistance with submission, including clarifying sponsors' submission procedures and interpreting university policy.
  • Collaborations with Weill Cornell Medicine follow a single, unified process.
  • Collaborations or other foreign activities may need review by the export controls team. As early as possible in your planning, contact your GCO or the Export Controls Officer to help determine if additional steps need to be taken to ensure that the project is carried out as seamlessly as possible. 
  • International visitors, travel, or work. If you plan to work with international visitors here, or work or travel abroad, following the relevant guidelines may require planning. 


Deadlines / Scheduling

Some proposal elements require extra review, which can impact submission deadlines. 

  • Cornell deadline. OSP provides a full review of proposals submitted at least five business days before the sponsor deadline. The Proposal Review Guidelines explain more about the deadlines. 
    Tip: Your science/technical content does not have to be complete when you submit it to OSP. You can keep working while OSP reviews the rest of the proposal. 
  • Compliance committee approval may be needed. For research involving animals, human participants, r/sNA, and biohazardous materials, approved protocols/MUAs will be required before funding can be released. We recommend you start work on obtaining approval of your protocols at the proposal stage. Learn more.
  • Sponsor submission systems may require an account. When submitting to an external sponsor, you may need to register for an account and be affiliated with Cornell University in that system. This includes Federal systems such as Workspace, NIH's eRA Commons/Assist, and NSF Fastlane/, as well as other systems used by foundations and non-profits. Each system requires separate accounts and affiliations, and these processes can take several days to complete. Please plan accordingly to allow sufficient time for account setup and affiliation in the various systems. Ask your research administrator or GCO for information about any electronic submission systems you may need to use.
  • Conflict of interest (COI) reports are required before proposals can be submitted. Each person listed as PI, Co-PI, or Key Personnel on a proposal must have a current, active COI report on file in the eCOI system. See COI Considerations for Proposals and Awards.
  • Binding terms and conditions are sometimes specified in the grant application. Consult with your GCO as early in the process as possible to allow for review.

Best Practices