All HMS and HSDM proposals/applications and institutionally authorized progress reports (“sponsored submissions”) must be received by the Office of Research Administration (ORA) via the Grants Management Application Suite (GMAS) at least five (5) full business days prior to the sponsor’s due date. The GMAS request must be locked and routed with PI and departmental signatures completed and all relevant documents uploaded. Proposal components must be in final form with the exception of the research plan (also referred to as the research strategy, statement of work (SOW), technical narrative, project description, etc.), which may be submitted in near-final form to meet the 5-day deadline. Near-final means that the draft must be developed to the degree that no further changes would occur to the research design, project concept, collaborators, inclusion of human/animal subjects, and other aspects that impact the budget and administrative components of the application. The final, submission-ready research plan is due to ORA no later than two (2) full business days before the sponsor’s due date.
Proposals that do not meet the submission deadlines of 5 business days for all budgetary and administrative components with a near-final research plan, and 2 business days for the final research plan, will not be reviewed or authorized for submission.
In cases of serious extenuating circumstances, such as inadequate notice from a sponsor as to the submission deadline, a request for exception to the Policy can be made by the Principal Investigator to the HMS Executive Dean for Administration. Exceptions will be granted only in limited, exceptional circumstances and should not be expected.
This Sponsored Submission Deadline Policy is necessary to ensure that all sponsored submissions receive institutional review and authorization prior to submission and can be successfully received by the funding agency by the due date. The ORA review process allows for identification of potential administrative, financial, or programmatic challenges to the success of the proposal or program, increases administrative compliance in the evolving, highly regulated sponsored research environment, and maximizes the chances that a proposal will be accepted for consideration by the sponsor.
The proposal submission deadline is instrumental to the success of the HMS/HSDM research enterprise considering the following factors:
Compliance: ORA needs sufficient time to review proposals for completeness and compliance with various submission requirements, which can differ from sponsor to sponsor, by submission type, and year by year as sponsor requirements change and evolve. ORA pre-award staff review proposal formatting, budgets, narratives, and terms and conditions. They also confirm that all necessary approvals have been properly identified (e.g., International Activities, Data Security, FCOI, IACUC, IRB, COMS, etc.) and seek to identify any special risks that a proposal may pose to faculty, the School, and/or the University.
Provostial review: Under University policy, some proposals require review and approval by the Provost’s office before they may be submitted. Provostial review can result in suggestions or questions that require response from the School or PI prior to the proposal being approved for submission. The sponsored submission deadline is critical to ensure that there is sufficient time for the Provost’s office to review proposals that meet the stated criteria. In order to prevent last-minute delays that may compromise timely submission, PIs are encouraged to work with ORA to submit to the Provost’s office as early as possible any proposal that may require approval.
Fairness and equity among faculty: The deadline is also intended to promote fairness and equity in the level of service provided for each faculty submission. Late submission of a proposal results in the late submitter “jumping the queue” in front of his or her colleagues who have submitted proposals by the deadline and risks compromising the quality of the review provided for timely proposals. Adherence to this Policy will ensure that every proposal receives the same thorough pre-award support in the order in which the proposals are received by ORA.
Avoidance of errors that could result in the rejection or poor scoring of a proposal: Adherence to the deadline will ensure that HMS faculty receive careful and expeditious review of their proposal so that accurate and responsive proposals may be submitted by sponsor deadlines. ORA requires the complete proposal in order to perform its review, because narratives must support and be consistent with budgets, subcontractor and staffing references, and all other administrative and compliance sections of the proposal. In the case of electronic submission, ORA needs sufficient time to create electronic profiles, identify any electronic system problems, and make any corrections in advance of sponsor deadlines.
Who Must Comply?
All HMS and HSDM departments/units routing sponsored submissions through the HMS Office of Research Administration (ORA) must comply.
Roles and Responsibilities
Principal Investigators (PIs) are responsible for the following:
- Knowing and understanding the HMS Sponsored Submission Deadline Policy and being responsive to the timeline as described in the Policy.
- Adhering to any departmental deadlines for proposal preparation and review in advance of the deadline for submission to ORA.
- Engaging research administrators (e.g., grant managers) in their department/unit as early in the process as possible, preparing proposal narratives in sufficient detail, and forwarding all relevant proposal materials to their grant manager with enough advance notice to allow adequate review and proposal preparation.
- Understanding that proposals require their collaboration with departmental personnel for the development of project budgets and administrative elements of proposals.
- Knowing which elements of a proposal could necessitate Provostial review and/or review and approval of the University Committee on International Projects and Sites (UCIPS), and for consulting with department administrators to determine if a proposal under development will require such review.
(Grant Managers, Financial/Administrative Directors, etc.) are responsible for the following:
- Knowing and understanding the HMS Sponsored Submission Deadline Policy, and communicating it to PIs.
- Setting and enforcing their own departmental deadlines for proposal preparation, and allowing for sufficient lead time in advance of the deadline for submission to ORA.
- Knowing the elements of proposals that could necessitate Provostial and/or UCIPS review and approval, and for consulting with ORA pre-award officers to determine whether a proposal under development will require such review.
- Leaving additional time for Provostial/UCIPS review, when applicable and communicating to PIs that such reviews are required.
- Notifying ORA in the event that a PI is unresponsive to deadlines.
ORA Pre-award Officers are responsible for the following:
- Communicating this Policy to ensure that the HMS and HSDM research community understands that continued productive engagement with our sponsors requires the broad administrative coordination of multiple School and University offices and oversight committees.
- Reviewing each proposal for adherence to agency guidelines, federal regulations, if applicable, compliance with University and School policies and procedures, as well as for contractual issues that may put the University or faculty at risk.
- Routing to the Office of the Provost proposals requiring Provostial approval in advance of the submission.
- Reviewing proposals in the order in which they are received in order to ensure that the review process is fair and PIs who comply with the proposal submission deadline are not penalized.
- Preventing proposals from “jumping the queue” ahead of proposals that were submitted earlier, even when a deadline is imminent.
Contacts and Subject Matter Experts:
Related Policies and Resources
- Harvard University Proposal Submission Deadlines Policy, effective February 1, 2011
- Office of the Provost Memorandum on Proposal Submission Deadlines, December 17, 2010
- Provost Review Criteria
- University Committee on International Projects and Sites (UCIPS)
- International Collaborations and Activities Guidance (HarvardKey Login Required)
- ORA Proposal Development guidance
- PI Eligibility on Sponsored Programs policy