Sponsors (including federal, state, foundation, and nonprofit) sometimes limit the number of nominations or proposals (or concept papers, pre-proposals, letters of intent, etc.) that an institution may submit to a particular program/funding opportunity. This information can usually be found in the "Eligibility" section of a funding opportunity announcement. These "limited submission" opportunities must undergo an internal selection process, which is overseen by the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation (OVPRI) and managed by the Office of Sponsored Programs and Research Development (OSP).
This internal selection process is necessary for several reasons, including (a) some sponsors will automatically decline without review all Cornell submissions for a given opportunity if they receive submissions in excess of the limit, and (b) without institutional approval a sponsor may return the submission without review.
- Read the sponsor's solicitation and research the sponsor. What is the sponsor's mission? What and who does it aim to fund? Make sure you are eligible to be considered. Align your proposal with the program goals and priorities. Do not recycle internal proposals from different competitions - reviewers can tell and will comment on it.
- The internal proposal should be accessible to a general scientific audience. Members of the internal review panel will have differing levels of familiarity with your specific area of research. Define significant technical terms and avoid using "jargon." Clearly state the problem/need that your proposed project will address. Clearly describe the project objectives, methods, innovation, and impact. Clearly describe the "big picture." If you succeed, what difference will it make? What will be the impact?
- Read and adhere to all the internal submission requirements, including content and page limits. Proofread and check for typos.
- If a letter of nomination is required for the internal submission, it should be specific to the program.
The Cornell Research Advisory Committee (RAC) has developed recommendations for Chairs writing nomination letters for internal competitions for external funding. These can be downloaded as a pdf file: Tips for writing letters of nominations (a Cornell netID login is required for access).
Internal competitions are regularly announced via a weekly digest email, on this website, and on InfoReady (Cornell's third-party, web-based internal competition platform). Other limited submission opportunities (e.g., calls for internal Letters of Intent for "first come, first served" limited submissions) are announce in the weekly digest and on this website, but are not listed on InfoReady.
To receive timely communications about limited submissions, subscribe to the CU-RES-ADMIN-L listserv here.
Unless otherwise stated in a competition announcement, internal application materials must be submitted via Cornell's internal competition application platform (https://cornell.infoready4.com/#osp) by the noted internal submission deadline.
The typical process for internal selection is an internal competition. Prospective applicants/nominees for limited submissions must first apply to an internal competition (unless otherwise stated in an announcement). Each competition announcement includes an internal submission deadline, program summary, link and/or pdf file for the sponsor's program guidelines, and a list of materials required for the internal review process.
- For internal review, applicants typically must submit a cover page listing all key personnel, a two- to three-page project description, and a biosketch or CV for the lead PI. Some competitions also require a nomination letter from a Department Chair or a one-page estimated budget outline. Internal application requirements vary depending on the program. It is the submitters responsibility to review the internal competition announcement to learn what specific materials are required.
The Faculty Senate's Research Advisory Committee (RAC) reviews the submitted internal applications. For some competitions, ad hoc reviewers may be invited to participate in a RAC review, a separate ad hoc review panel may be convened, and/or senior leadership may participate in the internal review. The review panel then selects to move forward the submission(s) that has the best opportunity for success based on its responsiveness to the sponsor's solicitation and program objectives, and its scientific and scholarly strength. Internal applicants are promptly notified of the outcome.
The selected candidate then works with their unit pre-award specialist/grant coordinator and Grant & Contract Officer (GCO) to prepare and submit the materials required by the sponsor, according to each sponsor's specific instructions and guidelines. Sponsors' requirements vary (e.g., it may be a Letter of Intent, Concept Paper or pre-proposal, or a full proposal). Materials submitted for an internal competition are usually not the same as what a funder requires.
- Note: There are some limited submissions programs (e.g., Sloan Research Fellowships) where internal selection is coordinated by a department or college rather than the central Limited Submissions team. This information is included in the announcement that is disseminated to campus.
A note about internal competition/review timelines: While we strive to provide ample preparation time for internal competitions, sometimes the sponsor’s own proposal submission timeline necessitates a short internal timeline. This usually occurs when a sponsor provides ~6 weeks or less turnaround time. For these cases there will be an expedited internal submission/review process wherein prospective applicants will have one week or less to submit an internal Letter of Interest. In some rare circumstances, a sponsor's timeline may be so short that it precludes an internal competition altogether - for these "short fuse" opportunities applicants are approved to submit to the sponsor on a rolling/"first come, first serve" basis until all slots are filled. In all cases, the announcements that are disseminated to campus will provide clear instructions and details about the internal submission process.
Contact the Limited Submissions team if you missed an internal competition deadline. If the submission slot(s) were not already filled, you may still be able to apply to the funding opportunity. In these situations, approvals to submit to the funder are typically granted on a rolling/first-come, first-served basis.
If a selected candidate decides not to submit to the sponsor, they must notify Cornell Limited Submissions as soon as possible. Internal competitions are highly competitive and, where possible, we want to allow another applicant to be selected to submit.
If you submitted to a sponsor's previous cycle for a limited submission program but were declined funding and would like to resubmit, you must contact Cornell Limited Submissions before reapplying to the sponsor. Resubmissions almost always count against Cornell's submission limit. Even if a funder's program officer encourages you to resubmit, you must first get approval from Cornell before doing so. If there is an active internal competition for the funder's current submission cycle, you will need to participate in the internal competition.
If faculty, students, or staff become aware of a limited submission opportunity that is not currently listed on this webpage or the Cornell InfoReady website, they should notify Limited Submissions before any applications/LOIs/Concept Notes/etc. are submitted to the sponsor.
We do our best to identify and announce limited submission opportunities, but cannot guarantee that we find them all. If there is any question about submission limits for a solicitation, please contact us.
Contact the Limited Submissions team if you need help with the InfoReady application platform.
If you are a WCM investigator, do not apply to competitions listed on this webpage. Weill Cornell Medicine has its own internal competitions for limited submission funding opportunities. WCM investigators must contact Florencia Marcucci in the WCM Office of the Research Dean.
Recurring Programs List
Announcements (updated 09/27/2023)
- Blavatnik Regional Awards for Young Scientists (postdocs): Nominations will be submitted to the sponsor by OSP on behalf of the OVPRI. Cornell may submit up to 15 postdoctoral nominations. Due to this restriction, OSP is coordinating an internal application process. To be included in the institutional submission, prospective nominees must submit an internal preliminary application by Monday, October 9, 2023, at 5:00 PM. If more than 15 internal applications are received, applicants will be included in Cornell's institutional submission on a first-come, first-serve basis. Go to the internal application website for additional information and instructions.
- HHMI Gilliam Fellows Program 2024: HHMI has made several changes for the 2024 program, including an institutional nomination is not required and there is no limit on the number of applications an institution can submit. Due to these changes, there will not be an internal competition. Any eligible adviser-student pair (see program announcement for detailed eligibility guidelines) may apply to the Gilliam Fellows Program. See the 2024 Program Announcement on the HHMI website.
- ETH Zurich Materials Research Prize for Young Investigators: ETH Zurich has announced that its next nomination deadline will be in May 2024. Prospective Cornell nominees/nominators may not submit nominations/proposals to ETH without first participating in Cornell's internal competition and review. An internal competition will be announced in the future.
- Johnson & Johnson 2024 WiSTEM2D Scholars Award Program: Effective August 2023, Johnson & Johnson plans to restructure the program and will not be accepting applications this year. The next call for applications is expected to be announced in the third quarter of FY 2024. An internal competition will be announced in the future.
Current Internal Competitions
Unless otherwise noted in a competition announcement, internal Applications are due at 5:00PM on the Deadline.
Note to Weill Cornell Medicine investigators: If you are interested in a limited submission funding opportunity, please contact Florencia Marcucci, email@example.com, in the WCM Office of the Research Dean. WCM has separate internal competitions.