Limited Submissions

Some funding opportunities limit the number of applications that an institution can submit per cycle. Clemson University must select its most competitive proposal(s), which requires an internal evaluation. The mission of ORD is to establish and implement a fair, effective, and timely process for internal competitions for limited-submission funding opportunities.

Limited Submission Competition Selection Process

How does ORD identify limited submission opportunities?

The Office of Research Development identifies limited-submission opportunities of interest through funding agency websites and by evaluating Clemson’s past successes with grant awards. Once identified, new limited-submission opportunities are posted on the Office of Research Development website promptly after the solicitation is announced by the funding agency. Clemson faculty who are interested in an upcoming grant program that limits the number of submissions should contact the Office of Research Development staff.

ORD announces the opportunities via email to all faculty every Monday at 10 a.m. This email includes brief information about the opportunity along with links to program details. 

While every attempt is made to identify limited-submission solicitations, ORD’s list of programs of interest is not comprehensive. If limiting language is found in a solicitation, the PI should alert ORD by emailing If the sponsor due date is within 30 days, submissions are approved on a case-by-case basis and posted to the website for informational purposes.

What is the application process for faculty to follow?

The format of limited-submission proposals is customized to each solicitation in order to prepare the PI for the full proposal. To apply to an internal competition, PIs should upload the proposal and biosketches or CVs of the PI and the Co-PIs. In the event of resubmissions to the funding agency, scores and comments from previous rounds of competition, along with a maximum one-page response by the PIs, should be included.

How are the internal proposals reviewed?

If the number of internal responses does not exceed the limit set by the sponsor, the proposal(s) will be shared with the ADR of the PI’s college to determine whether or not the proposal will be competitive in the national competition.

If the number of internal responses exceeds the limit set by the sponsor, ORD will form a review panel to determine the most competitive opportunities for Clemson University to submit. To form this panel, ORD identifies Clemson faculty with relevant experience either with the agency or the program focus area and elicits statements from the faculty that they do not have conflict of interest. A review panel is formed of at least five faculty members from relevant colleges, departments, and research areas, ensuring broad participation and engagement in the review process. The associate deans for research from each college may serve as reviewers in some competitions. When the sponsor is a foundation, a representative from the Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations will be included on the review committee.

The panel members are provided full details on the solicitation, along with guiding questions, specific evaluation criteria, and information about projects previously funded by the program. The panel reviewers typically have one week to review the proposals. Each panel member assigns scores for the proposals of 0–4, corresponding to Poor, Fair, Good, Very Good, and Excellent. The written comments provided by the review panel members are shared anonymously with the PIs. ORD does not participate in the scoring process. For larger-scale and complex grant projects, a meeting is scheduled for panel members to discuss their reviews and potentially revise their scores based on panel discussion. Scores for each proposal are tallied up, and the highest-scoring proposals advance. ORD takes detailed, anonymous notes of the panel discussion to offer constructive recommendations for the PIs to improve the planned project.

What is the selection process for the proposal to represent Clemson? 

All PIs will receive email notification of the status of their proposals following the internal competition. Both those selected and not selected are given reviewer comments to guide the PIs in ways to improve their planned projects as they move forward. All applicants have the opportunity to consult with ORD to further discuss the results of the competition.

When a PI is selected for a limited-submission competition, he or she has a duty to follow through and submit a competitive proposal on behalf of Clemson University. If, upon selection, the PI is unable to deliver a proposal by the sponsor deadline, he or she must notify ORD so that the next highest-scored proposal has an opportunity to submit a proposal. ORD staff regularly follows up with the PIs to ensure satisfactory progress toward proposal submission.

Other questions?

Please direct questions or comments about limited submissions at Clemson University to contact Dr. Shelia Cotten at