Timeline for Review

Proposal Processing Time Matrix

Draft proposals and budgets must be submitted to GSS a minimum of four (4) business days before the sponsor’s published deadline.


Add 1 Additional Business Day Add 2 Additional Business Days Reason
Sponsor requires hard copy submission via Fed Ex or UPS

Proposals submitted via Fed Ex or UPS must be shipped the day before the published deadline in order to arrive on time.
Sponsor requires hard copy submission via US Mail


Proposals submitted via US Mail must be shipped several days before the published deadline in order to arrive on time.
Proposal budget includes Cost Share or Match


Cost Share or Match requires additional processing time for complex calculations and additional required approvals.
Proposal through grants.gov has more than 3 key personnel


Additional time is needed if GSS must fill out Key Personnel forms for multiple key personnel in grants.gov.  File conversion and upload, as well as form completion is time consuming.
Proposal includes an F&A Waiver request   


Waiver requests must be signed personally by the Dean, Vice President for PSA, and/or the Vice President for Research & Economic Development.  Additionally, if all parties do not approve, additional processing time is needed to adjust the proposal budget.
Clemson University is a sub-awardee to another lead institution


Most lead institutions require final sub-award documentation at least one full business day before the sponsor’s published deadline.
Proposal includes sub-awardee institutions (with CU as lead institution)


Additional processing time is needed to incorporate sub-award information into the proposal, and for communication with sub-awardees in the event that all necessary documentation is not present.


* May require more than 2 business days’ additional processing time.


Policy on Timeline Required for Proposal Processing

Effective: July 1, 2009

For various reasons, the number of proposals submitted through Grant Support Services (GSS) is increasing. The proposal load has reached the point that a policy is needed to ensure sufficient lead time for the three-person GSS staff to process these proposals.

Purpose:  The purposes of this administrative policy are to:
     1) define the timeline for successful proposal submission through Grant Support Services (GSS)
     2) ensure that principal investigators submit proposals into the GSS queue with the highest chance of processing before the submission deadline

Discussion: Preparing a strong, competitive grant proposal takes a great deal of time and effort from both the principal investigator (PI) and the GSS staff. When planning proposal submissions, appropriate time must be allocated for proposal processing. GSS review is mandated by the Office of Sponsored Programs, which has delegated authority to GSS for proposal submissions originating in CAFLS and PSA.  For each proposal submitted, GSS must complete a comprehensive review to assure compliance with funding agency guidelines, coordinate the receipt of documentation and information from sub-awardees, and authorize the proposal for submission. Time required to review a proposal varies according to the complexity of the sponsor's requirements and the condition of the proposal. When proposals are submitted with inadequate time for review, overall proposal quality suffers, chances of audit findings are increased, and chances of an award being received are diminished.  This policy has been developed to ensure submission of high-quality proposals in a timely manner, to the satisfaction of all parties involved.

Policy:  Proposal submissions through GSS will be processed as follows:

1.  Draft proposals and budgets, including all required components, must be submitted to GSS a minimum of four (4) business days before the sponsor’s published deadline. GSS will work with the PI during this time to make final edits in the proposal narrative and appropriate budget adjustments.  Some circumstances require additional processing time, as described in Attachment 1.

2.  To be considered “in queue” for GSS review, a proposal must contain at minimum:

  • a proposal processing form (PPF)
  • a project narrative or scope of work
  • a budget and budget narrative
  • sub-award documentation, if applicable
  • sponsor guidelines for submission, if applicable

For tracking purposes, proposals are logged in by GSS staff when all of the above components are received, regardless of when we are notified that a proposal is being developed.  GSS cannot begin to process a proposal until all of the above components are present.

3.  All proposal editing by the PI must be completed by noon (12:00 pm) the day before the sponsor deadline. This is to ensure that the correct, final proposal documents are available for review by the appropriate signatories, and also to avoid confusion when multiple drafts of the same document are present.  No budget changes or edits to the proposal will be permitted on the deadline day.

4.  Proposal reviews are prioritized according to the concept of first-in, first-out. For example, if ten proposals share a common deadline, proposals submitted to GSS at the earliest date will take priority. GSS should be notified as soon as a deadline is identified, but all proposal materials must still be submitted in a timely fashion (4 business days) for a proposal to be considered “in queue.”
 Proposals submitted less than four (4) business days before the sponsor deadline will be processed in the order received, and are at risk of missing the deadline, depending on the number of proposals already in queue.

Variance to Policy:  We recognize that there may be extenuating circumstances from time to time, which require RUSH processing.  RUSH processing is defined as GSS processing of a proposal in less than two (2) business days.  

Rush submissions will only be accepted with written approval from the Associate Dean for Research, or the PSA Chief Operating Officer(s).

PI’s requesting RUSH submission must include with their proposal a written justification of the need for RUSH processing.  Written justification can be in the form of an email or memo explaining the special circumstances, and must be copied to the PI’s department chair.  GSS does not guarantee RUSH processing requests (see #4 above).

All requests for RUSH processing are reported on a monthly basis to the Dean, Associate Dean for Research, and the Vice President for PSA.