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Submission of Proposal Documents

Electronic Submission

Most sponsors require that proposals be submitted via an electronic portal. The Division of Research Administration (DRA) is responsible for all electronic submissions and determining how the submission is done depends on the sponsor.

Please see the table below for specific information about each sponsors’ requirements.

Sponsor Proposal Submission System DRA Registers PI Registers PI Uploads  Proposal PI Grants DRA Access to Proposal DRA Submits
Office of Naval Research (ONR) Grants.gov X X
NASA NSPIRES X X X X
NSF Fastlane X X2 X2 X2 X3
NOAA Grants.gov X X
NIH Grants.gov X X4 X
HRSA Grants.gov X X
Dept. of Education Grants.gov X X
Dept. of Justice Grants.gov X X
Various foundations proposal
CENTRAL
X X X X X5
American Heart Association Grants
@Heart
X X X
DOE EERE Exchange EERE Exchange X X X
DOE NEUP NEUP X X
DOD Grants.gov X X3
  1. Some proposal submission systems (e.g. Grants.gov, ProposalCentral) are submission portals only, and are not sponsor systems. Also, some sponsors have their own systems which receive applications from Grants.gov. These systems may or may not be used by UT Knoxville personnel.
  2. The DRA registers the PI in Fastlane; passwords must be reset by the individual user.
  3. Some pre-proposals/letters of intent/white papers are submitted by the PI. Refer to solicitation guidelines for appropriate action.
  4. PI must register in eRA Commons.
  5. Some ProposalCentral proposals are submitted by PI. Refer to solicitation guidelines for appropriate action.

Additional information for routing electronically:


For NASA proposals, researchers must register in NSPIRES and request affiliation with the University of Tennessee. DRA confirms or denies affiliations.

The application process includes the PI completing all elements in the system, including the proposal summary, business data, budget, program Specific data, and proposal team.

Investigators must upload their final proposal as an attachment and link their proposals to allow DRA to view. To allow DRA to submit, they must “lock” their proposals in NSPIRES.

When routing your NASA application in Cayuse SP, don”t forget to download a PDF copy of the application from ROSES and attach it.

This will be used by campus and DRA during the review process.


Principal Investigator”s will need to be registered in Fastlane in order to prepare and submit proposals. DRA has the ability to register PI”s as well as department administrators.

Contact osp@utk.edu to request an account.

The NSF website has detailed instructions for proposal preparation.

Once the PI has completed the proposal in Fastlane the PI will allow “SRO access” which gives DRA the ability to see the proposal and will review and submit to NSF.

When routing your NSF application in Cayuse SP, don”t forget to download a PDF copy of the application from Fastlane and attach it. This will be used by campus and DRA during the review process.


ProposalCentral is a portal system used by many non-profit organizations.

Principal Investigator”s must create their own account on the ProposalCentral website.

The PI can give department staff access to relevant proposals in the system.

All proposals must be routed to DRA to be submitted on behalf of the UT. To grant DRA access follow the following steps:

  1. Log into ProposalCentral and open the relevant proposal
  2. From left hand side of screen select “Enable Other Users to Access this proposal”
  3. To add DRA, go to the end of the screen and in the “User Selector” box type “osp@utk.edu” Then select “find user”.
  4. David Smelser will appear above in the “Proposal Access Rights” box
  5. Type his role into the relevant box – i.e. Business/Signing Official
  6. From the “Permissions” drop down on the right hand side of the screen select “Administrator”
  7. The user also has the option to have auto notifications for this proposal sent to DRA by ticking the “Auto Notify” check box.
  8. Select “Accept Changes” and it is done.

Email Submission

If the proposal is required to be submitted via email, DRA can submit the proposal at the PI”s request. If the PI prefers to submit the proposal directly, he or she should wait for confirmation from DRA that the proposal has been reviewed and approved.

Hard Copy Submission

There are some sponsors that will require a paper submission of the proposal. The PI is responsible for all hard copy submissions to the sponsor. DRA will notify the PI after the proposal has been reviewed and will give the PI the go ahead to submit the proposal.