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Management of Limited Submission Funding Opportunities

Direct questions to:
Hannah Schmidt
Office of Research & Engagement

View current limited submission opportunities.

Sign up for the limited submission mailing list.

The Office of Research and Engagement (ORE) is responsible for administering the nomination process for any funding opportunities for which the sponsor limits the number of institutional nominations and/or the number of applications that an institution may submit. ORE refers to these funding opportunities, or solicitations, as “limited submission opportunities.”

For most limited submission opportunities, when a sponsor releases the funding opportunity announcement, ORE distributes an internal announcement through the Limited Submission Mailing List, Funding Opportunities Digest, and other distribution lists.  The internal announcement includes a brief description of the opportunity, a link to the original solicitation, and instructions for faculty interested in submitting a Notification of Interest (NOI) to the opportunity. If the number of NOIs received exceeds the limit set by the sponsor, ORE will coordinate an internal review. Faculty who submit an NOI by the deadline will be notified if an internal review is required along with instructions for preparing and submitting additional competition materials. ORE will identify internal reviewers who, in turn, will make a recommendation to the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research Development (AVCRD). The AVCRD makes the final decision regarding which proposals will be submitted by UT Knoxville.

ORE may deem certain programs “strategic institutional priorities”, for example, NSF’s Material Research Science and Engineering programs, and DOE’s Energy Frontier Research Centers program. In these cases, ORE may disseminate pre-solicitation information, solicit NOIs prior to the publication of the sponsor’s solicitation and/or require additional information in the NOI.  For those strategic institutional priorities requiring significant institutional investment in the form of cost share and/or other resources, ORE may elect to direct the selection and teaming process in lieu of running an open internal solicitation.  These strategic institutional priorities will be identified in advance. Faculty interested in these programs should express their interest to the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research Development in advance of the solicitation and monitor internal communications and instructions carefully.

ORE may elect not to broadly disseminate a limited submission opportunity if it is deemed to be “highly focused” or if it specifically supports institutional programming or other activities that are not typically initiated or led by faculty members. This includes some nominations to competitive award or fellowship programs. In these cases, the ORE will develop and publicize alternative selection mechanisms.

It is the responsibility of the would-be Principal Investigator to contact ORE immediately via an email to limitsub@utk.edu if they identify a funding opportunity that places limits on the number of submissions allowed by the institution and is NOT listed on the Limited Submission Opportunities page.  Contact should be made as soon as the opportunity is identified in order to manage a potential conflict.


The DOE has recently released a number of limited submission opportunities with extremely short time to deadline. The Office of Research and Engagement’s current process cannot identify limited submission candidates on this abbreviated timeline without unduly burdening both applicants and reviewers. Until further notice, these rapid turnaround DOE limited submission opportunities will be managed as follows:

  • All FOAs, regardless of deadline, will be announced via the limited submission mailing list.
  • An opportunity with a deadline less than a month from the time of FOA release will be first-come, first-served:
    • PIs must submit an abstract (2 – 3 paragraphs) for their project to be cleared. PIs who are not cleared may, if they choose, have their interest noted to the cleared applicant(s) to explore whether collaboration is possible.
  • An opportunity with a deadline 4 – 8 weeks from the time of FOA release will have an abbreviated competition:
    • PIs will have 2 days to submit their name and project title as a Notification of Interest (NOI). No abstracts will be needed.
    • If there are more NOIs than there are allowed submissions, PIs will have 7-10 days, depending on the FOA deadline, to submit a full pre-application. Collaborations are encouraged to avoid competition when possible but are not obligatory.
    • Reviewers will be given an abbreviated timeline instead of the usual two weeks and will be asked to rank the proposals with justification. The Director of Research Development and Vice Chancellor for Research will make the final decisions if the review committee is not unanimous in their recommendation.
  • An opportunity with a deadline two months or more from the time of FOA release will go through the standard limited submission process.

FAQ on Limited Submissions at UT Knoxville

When you do find an opportunity where the number of applicants per organization is limited, please check the Limited Submissions current opportunities page to verify that ORE is not already running a competition for the opportunity. If the opportunity you have found does not appear, please contact limitsub@utk.edu immediately. Depending on the proximity to the opportunity’s submission deadline, ORE will either announce the opportunity to the research community or determine if you can be allowed to proceed as “first to notify.”

Failure to notify ORE may result in someone else receiving permission to proceed and your submission being denied.

Each limited funding opportunity is announced via email through the limited submissions mailing list and contains explicit instructions for submitting your Notification of Interest (NOI). If you have not received the announcement, please contact limitsub@utk.edu.

While the required submission components may vary depending on the opportunity, ordinarily you need to submit the following via InfoReady:

  • Name and contact information of PI
  • Name and contact information of potential collaborators (if applicable)
  • Brief description of proposed project (2 paragraphs max)

As stated above, submission of an NOI is mandatory.

Under extenuating circumstances you may appeal directly to ORE to submit your materials late by contacting limitsub@utk.edu.

ORE distributes limited submission opportunities through the limited submission mailing list, in the bi-weekly ORE newsletter, “Catalyst,” on the limited submission webpage, and by email dissemination to college and department level contacts, including the associate deans for research and the Governor’s Chairs.

You will be informed via email regarding the need, if any, for a competition shortly after the NOI deadline expires. This email includes a list of the materials required for the competition as well as the due date for submission of competition materials.

All preproposals are reviewed under the auspices of the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research Development. Review committees for internal competition materials are formed based on expertise, previous experience with the particular solicitation, and other factors to provide a balanced review that will select the best possible applicant(s). To ensure fairness, the AVCRD will only speak with applicants to clarify certain aspects of a preproposal that are unclear, or to gain required information that is missing from the application forms.  All decisions of the AVCRD are final.

Typically the applicants (both successful and unsuccessful) are notified within two weeks after competition materials are due.

ORE makes every effort to ensure that successful internal applicants have sufficient time to prepare a full proposal upon being notified of their selection.  In some instances, timeframes may be shortened due to circumstances such as ORE becoming belatedly aware of a limited submission opportunity, or a given sponsor choosing a short lead time between publicizing a funding opportunity and its deadline.

If you are selected as the nominee, ORE’s Research Development unit is available to support the development of your full proposal. Contact AVCRD@utk.edu for more details.

If you decide not to submit, you must inform ORE via limitsub@utk.edu as soon as possible so another applicant may have the chance to submit. Not informing ORE can have a negative impact on your being considered as a nominee in the future.

Further, a nominee may not just choose to submit for the next submission deadline for the opportunity.  Each selection is for a specific submission deadline for an opportunity, not the opportunity itself.