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 funding opportunity/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).
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.
- Applicants typically must submit a cover page listing all key personnel, a two- to three-page project description, and a biosketch/CV for the lead PI. Some competitions may require additional materials, such as a letter of reference from a Department Chair or an estimated budget outline. Internal application requirements vary depending on the program.
- It is the submitter's responsibility to review the competition announcement to learn what specific materials are required, and to submit their materials by the specified deadline. Requests for deadline extensions will not be granted, including missing the deadline due to technical issues with the submission portal. If the applicant has technical issues when submitting, they should email Limited Submissions immediately. We strongly recommend that applicants login and submit early - don't wait until the last minute!
For most competitions, it is the Faculty Senate's Research Advisory Committee (RAC) that reviews the internal applications. The RAC selects to move forward the submission(s) that has the best opportunity for success based on its responsiveness to the sponsor's program objectives and selection criteria, and scientific and scholarly strength. Internal applicants are promptly notified of the outcome.
- 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 review.
- For opportunities in which the submission limit is on the number of applicants per individual department (e.g., Sloan Research Fellowships), the internal review/selection is coordinated by departments or colleges rather than OSP. This information is included in the announcement that is disseminated to campus.
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.
A note about limited submissions with short timelines: While we strive to provide ample preparation time to applicants for internal competitions, sometimes the sponsor’s own proposal submission timeline necessitates a short internal timeline. This usually occurs when a sponsor provides ~7 weeks or less turnaround time. For these "short fuse" opportunities there is expedited internal submission, review, and selection process wherein prospective applicants have approximately 3 days to submit an internal Letter of Interest. In some rare circumstances, a sponsor's timeline may be so short that it precludes an internal review altogether, and an applicant may be approved to submit to the sponsor on a "first come, first serve" basis. In all cases, the announcements that are disseminated to campus will provide instructions and details about the internal process.
Internal competitions for limited submissions 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 "short fuse" limited submissions) are announced in the weekly digest and on this website, but are not typically 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 competition application platform (https://cornell.infoready4.com/#osp) by 5:00 PM on the noted submission deadline.
If you missed an internal competition deadline, you are welcome to contact Limited Submissions to learn if the opportunity is still "open" (i.e., if there are application slots available). If the submission slot(s) was 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 first-come, first-served basis.
If a selected candidate decides not to submit to the sponsor, they must notify OVPRI 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 OVPRI Limited Submissions before reapplying. 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.
Email Cornell Limited Submissions if you need help or experience technical issues with the InfoReady application platform.
We strongly recommend logging into the system early so any potential technical issues can be addressed before the submission deadline. If you have technical issues when submitting your application, reach out to us immediately and during regular business hours with your application materials attached.
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 should contact Florencia Marcucci in the WCM Office of the Research Dean.
Recurring Programs List
Announcements (updated 02/14/2024)
- USDA NIFA FY24 Research Facilities Act Program (USDA-NIFA-OP-01055): Institutions may submit one application, and a Cornell application is being prepared. There will not be an internal competition.
- NIH PAR-22-081 Limited Competition: Basic Instrumentation Grant (BIG) Program (S10 Clinical Trial Not Allowed): Due to NIH restrictions on S10 awards, Cornell is not eligible to apply for the June 2024 submission cycle under this solicitation.
- National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Challenge America: Due to NEA restrictions regarding active awards, Cornell is not eligible to apply for the April 2024 submission cycle.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org, in the WCM Office of the Research Dean. WCM has separate internal competitions.