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Limited Submissions

Limited submission funding opportunities are those where the sponsor limits the number of applications Northwestern can submit. Research Development manages the institutional process, including through the Limited Submission Advisory Committee. The vice president for research is the institutional nominator and has the final authority to select a nominee.

See our list of Limited Submissions by connecting to VPN (if off-campus) and logging in with your NetID.


Limited Submission Process

The majority of Limited Submission funding opportunity announcements are distributed in a targeted fashion to faculty. The announcements describe the opportunity, deadlines, internal components required for submission, and link to the funding agency’s site. 

A small number of the opportunities (which Research Development does not anticipate being relevant to Northwestern research community) are not distributed, but only published on the Research Development LS website.  For these opportunities, LOIs (Letter of Intent) will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

If you identify a limited submission opportunity that is not in our list or see an opportunity which was only posted on the Limited Submission website, please contact us as soon as possible.

Faculty interested in applying for a limited submission funding opportunity are required to submit an internal letter of intent (LOI) by the due date (unless an LOI phase is not included in the announcement).  If the number of LOIs submitted is less than what is allowable by the sponsor, applicants are authorized as institutional nominees to submit a proposal to the sponsor.

If the number of LOIs exceeds the sponsor’s limitation, an internal competition is held. Typically, all applicants that submit an LOI are invited to submit an internal proposal. Faculty should contact Research Development if they submitted an LOI and did not receive an invitation to submit an internal proposal (or other notification) shortly following the LOI deadline.

The Limited Submission Advisory Committee (LSAC) is composed of senior faculty from Northwestern and is charged with identifying nationally competitive candidates. Ad hoc reviewers, including faculty who are past awardees, are invited to join the meeting. In addition, ex-officio members from Foundation Relations or Corporate Engagement guide the panel by providing information about sponsor missions, priorities, and the review process.  Following the panel discussion, the LSAC votes for the recommended candidate(s).  The vice president for research reviews the committee’s discussion and recommendations and nominates the institutional nominee(s).

Once the vice president approves the nominee(s), the applicant is notified and authorized. The applicant’s department chair, associate dean for research, and Sponsored Research grants officer are also notified. Investigators who are not selected also are notified.

Applicants must adhere to all posted deadlines and may not apply for a Limited Submission funding opportunity without institutional authorization from Research Development. Nominees are expected to submit a timely application, barring serious, extenuating circumstances.  Should nominees wish to decline a nomination, they are required to notify Research Development as soon as possible.


I just became aware of a limited submission funding opportunity. What should I do?

Please check the Limited Submission Opportunities page to determine whether the opportunity has been announced to the Northwestern community. If the opportunity is not listed, please contact Research Development as soon as possible.

What do I need to submit for a particular limited submission funding opportunity?

Each limited submission announcement includes the deadlines (date and time), description of the required internal components, and the process for submitting the application electronically.

I missed the internal letter of intent deadline. Can I still apply for the opportunity?

Applicants must adhere to all posted deadlines to participate in the limited submission process.  If you missed the deadline, you may communicate your interest for a particular opportunity to Research Development.

I am a research administrator. How can I get limited submission funding opportunity announcements?

Please send an email to Research Development and request to be added to our list.

Can I contact Limited Submission Advisory Committee members for feedback on my proposal review?

No. Please contact Research Development  if you would like to receive proposal feedback.