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Proposal Preparation and Submission

Effective August 1, 2016: Proposal Review Process

OSP has revised the proposal review process to allow faculty to submit proposals for administrative review without requiring the final version of the research content until close to the proposal deadline. The new process establishes a schedule for proposal review by OSP (and college offices) that relaxes the requirement to provide the final research content at the same time as administrative content in order to provide adequate proposal review (financial, compliance, completeness) while allowing Principal Investigators the maximum amount of time to complete and submit the research content. The proposal review process can be found here.

Effective January 1, 2011 (revised June 2016): Proposal Review Guidelines

Proposal Preparation

Grant and Contract Officers (GCOs) in OSP, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Research Office and the College of Veterinary Medicine's Research Office provide investigators and their support staff with proposal preparation assistance by clarifying sponsors' submission procedures and interpreting university policies related to sponsored projects.

We encourage investigators and their staff to consult with their GCO at any time during proposal and budget development. If you are responding to a proposal solicitation where binding terms and conditions are specified as part of the grant application we strongly urge you to consult with your GCO as early in the process as possible.

Proposal Deadlines

OSP reviews and submits an average of 257 proposals per month. By submitting your proposal to us at least five (5) business days in advance of the sponsor's deadline it allows your GCO adequate time to conduct a thorough review of your proposal and budget, and to make corrections, if necessary. This time also allows us to transmit the proposal before the last day of a deadline, thus avoiding transmission problems that could prevent the successful submission of your proposal. As you are aware, most proposals are now submitted electronically, and we are dependent on the reliability of these sponsor systems. Sponsors' systems sometimes crash or experience slow downs. In our experience these situations typically occur on the day proposals are due (last minute submissions). A system slow down can result in delayed notification by the sponsor if there is an error in your application and a revision is required before it will be accepted. In an extreme case this could mean a missed deadline. The best way to avoid these problems is to submit your proposal to us as early as possible.

Proposal Submission Process

All proposals from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) and the Geneva Experiment Station are submitted through the CALS Research Office in B02 Bruckner Hall. Note: CALS investigators must follow the special Grant Proposal Guidelines that CALS has developed.

Proposals from the College of Veterinary Medicine are submitted through the Veterinary College Research Office.

Some sponsors limit the number of submissions Cornell (including Weill Medical College) may submit to a particular program. An internal review process is conducted to select those nominations/proposals allowed to go forward to these Limited Submission Competitions.

Some proposals (included ones from CALS and the College of Veterinary Medicine) submitted to private foundations are handled by the Office of Foundation Relations (OFR). OFR maintains a "Priority Foundations List," and proposals submitted to those sponsors listed with an asterisk must be submitted through, or in consultation with, OFR. Either your GCO or one of the directors in OFR can help you determine whether OFR or OSP should handle a private foundation proposal.

All other proposals are submitted through OSP via the proposal mailbox at

All proposals, regardless of which office submits them, are required to have a Form 10 (Internal Academic Approval of Sponsored Projects) signed by the appropriate individuals (PI, co-PI, Chairs, etc.).

The criteria listed above are just a few of the proposal submission guidelines. For full details about proposal preparation and submission we direct you to the following resources:

Proposal Review Guidelines

OSP Guide to Proposal Preparation and Submission

Proposal Checklist

How to Develop a Budget

Other Proposal Preparation Information

Proposal Related Guidelines and Policies