Proposal Submission

Jump to section:

Internal Deadlines for Proposal Routing
Three-Day Deadline
Requirements for Proposal Review
Credit Allocation
Approving a Proposal in UAccess Research

User Bypass for Proposal Routing in UAccess Research
Proposal Changes that Require Re-Routing



Sponsored proposals are submitted for review and approval through the University of Arizona's electronic research administration system, UAccess Research (UAR). If you have a University of Arizona NetID/password, you have permission to create a proposal in the UAR system. If you are required to view all proposals/awards in your given department or college OR you need authority to approve for your department and/or college, you need to obtain privileges through the UAccess Provisioning Tool. Instructions for obtaining these privileges are available on the UAccess Research page.

Internal Deadlines for Proposal Routing

Sponsored Projects Services (SPS) must receive proposals in final form (completely approved in UAccess Research (UAR) and ready for submission to the sponsoring agency) three full business days prior to the sponsor's due date. The proposal routing process must be completed prior to submission of an application. Budgets submitted to sponsors that have not been approved by SPS through the UAR proposal routing process should be considered provisional, and are not binding to the university. If the sponsor requires an institutional official to sign or submit a Pre-Proposal, please contact Sponsored Projects Services early in the preparation process to determine if it should be routed through UAccess Research subject to internal deadlines.

In order to provide fair and equitable proposal service from Sponsored Projects Services, institutional review and submission priority is 'first-in, first-out' (FIFO) as proposals reach SPS in final form without needing major changes. SPS will continue to review proposals in the order they are prioritized but there is no guarantee of submission by the sponsor deadline if they have not met the three-day deadline. If circumstances beyond Principal Investigator (PI) control will prevent a proposal from being prioritized for submission by the sponsor deadline, approval from the Dean or designee and Research, Innovation & Impact is required to authorize SPS to deviate from 'first in, first out' submission order. Details are provided in the Late Proposal Request – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and requests are submitted using the Late Proposal Request web form.

Three-Day Deadline

The mission of the Sponsored Projects Services (SPS) Preaward Services team includes facilitating the submission of proposals by helping UArizona researchers comply with budgetary requirements and government regulations. Most Federal agencies require online proposal submission through, ASSIST, or FastLane. The necessary steps for a comprehensive review of these proposal submissions takes time. While some agencies allow an easy file upload for submission, others require more complicated procedures, involving multiple steps for the Principal Investigator and for the SPS Preaward Services team. It is necessary to establish an internal deadline for submissions so that Sponsored Projects can provide adequate and timely assurances to investigators.

The policy states the following:

  • All proposals, routed UAR proposals and electronic submission, should be submitted to SPS in final form* 3 full business days prior to the funding-agency deadline (8am the day it is due to SPS).
  • Requests for Facilities & Administrative (F&A) Cost waivers submitted to SPS with the attached signed form require, at minimum, 5 business days prior to the proposal agency deadline for paper proposals, 8 business days for electronic submissions.
  • Terms and conditions that need to be reviewed by the Office of Research Contracts (ORC) or documents that require ORC signature require between 7 - 10 business days for review and/or negotiation.

*Final form for electronic proposals means that the proposal is completely finished, including proposal routing, and ready for submission to the sponsoring agency.

  • Colleges and departments may have additional submission deadline requirements.
  • This policy includes any items that need an authorized signature or review before correspondence or submission to the sponsor (like RPPRs and revised budgets).
  • Proposals routed outside of the 3-Day Deadline run the risk of not being submitted to the sponsor. 
  • Submission to a sponsor outside of internal review is against UA policy and is not legally binding.

Requirements for Proposal Review

Once the proposal is created in UAccess Research, attach the following documents for Sponsored Projects Services (SPS) review:

  • Application Page or Title Page
  • Abstract (draft science)
  • Budget
  • Budget Justification that describes the budget and reflects the costs listed therein
  • Letters of financial commitments
  • Other documents that require University of Arizona signature, such as cover letters or assurances

SPS will review documents for accuracy, completeness, and for compliance with sponsor submission procedures. SPS does NOT review the technical aspects of the proposal, including page limits and margins.

When submitting a proposal, the principal investigator is responsible for:

  • Identifying the total costs of the project and sources of funding for cost sharing
  • Having committed space, facilities, and use of other resources
  • Completing the applicable compliance reviews prior to initiating the project, e.g., biohazards, hazardous waste, recombinant DNA, animal subjects, human subjects, radiation safety, and conflict of interest

Credit Allocation

Investigator award credit may be captured two different ways on the UAccess Research proposal:

  • Credit for Award. Also known as academic or intellectual credit, is allocated by percentage to investigators and departments/colleges. These amounts are used in University publications about externally funded activity.

Award Credit may be influenced by factors like:

  • Intellectual ideas and merit
  • Pre-proposal work or anticipated post-award activity
  • F&A Revenue. Credit is allocated by percentage to investigators and departments/colleges. These amounts are used to distribute quarterly F&A revenue distribution at the college level.

F&A Revenue distribution may be influenced by factors like:

  • Proposed budget authority for each investigator
  • Institutional space to complete the award
  • Units that will provide post-award administrative support

Enter award credit percentages in the Credit Allocation page of the UAccess Research proposal. The amounts carry forward from proposal to award, and can be modified by routing a revised UAccess Research proposal document.

For projects with more than one principal investigator and/or more than one department, credit for the award and F&A revenue will be distributed according what is entered in the UAR Credit Allocation.

Do not confuse this section with investigators’ level of effort - percent level of effort is not relevant to this section.

Determine and enter the Investigator credit amounts. The unit splits are a percentage based on the investigator credit and must always total 100.


Each investigator receives a total portion of the credit: 90% and 10% in this example. Their portions are then allocated to their unit(s).

  Credit for Award F&A Revenue
Principal Investigator 90.00 90.00
0404 - STEWARD OBSERVATORY 75.00 20.00
Unit Total: 100.00 100.00
Co-Principal Investigator 10.00 10.00
2001 - COLLEGE OF OPTICAL SCIENCES 100.00 100.00
Unit Total: 100.00 100.00

 Notes on Credit Allocation:

  • Proposals that involve more than one department or college often involve negotiation of credit split between the units. Be sure to plan adequate time in the proposal preparation process to contact involved units.
  • Changes to credit allocation require a revised UAccess Research proposal document. Removing or adding a department or college may require additional approvals.

Approving a Proposal in UAccess Research

Performance of a sponsored project implies a certain level of commitment of University of Arizona resources to a project. To ensure the ability of the university to meet these commitments, proposals submitted to external funding agencies are reviewed and approved by a pre-determined set of approvers using the UAccess Research system. Instructions for Approving Proposals in UAccess Research describes the approval process. The UAccess Research Proposal Routing Flowchart provides a graphic representation of the approval route.

Who needs to approve the proposal prior to submission to the sponsor is determined by a number of factors, including but not limited to:

  • Investigator’s departments/units
  • Budgetary issues such as cost sharing and F&A considerations
  • Use of Cancer Center facilities
  • Use of recombinant DNA/microbial pathogens
  • Involvement or engagement of Native Americans or international indigenous groups
  • Use of human subjects
  • Use of animal research

All proposals must be approved by the following:

  • Principal Investigator
  • Co-Investigator(s)
  • Key Person(s)
  • Department Head
  • Dean or Director
  • Sponsored Projects Services on behalf of the Senior Vice President for Research

National Institute of Health proposals with multiple PI’s must be approved by all University of Arizona principal investigators. The contact PI should be listed as the PI/Contact in the UAccess Research Proposal.

The principal investigator assumes significant responsibility when proposing a project on behalf of the University. Therefore, the University requires the principal investigator and co-principal investigator(s) to personally approve the Proposal in UAccess Research. This responsibility may not be delegated to the unit research administrator or any other individual.

Approvals occur in the following order:

  • Department initiator submits into UAccess workflow
  • Principal Investigator, Co-Investigator(s), Key Person(s) and all departments must approve before workflow proceeds
  • College(s), and Division(s) if applicable, must approve before the proposal routes to SPS
  • Sponsored Projects Services

It is recommended that each unit (department or college) have at least two provisioned approvers to provide redundancy and allow for primary approver unavailability due to travel, illness, etc.

SPS may route the proposal on an ad hoc basis to Research, Innovation & Impact and other units for review based on the budget or compliance items.

Approving the proposal imparts a set of the roles and responsibilities to each approving party. A summary of these is available at Submitting the Proposal - Roles and Responsibilities.

User Bypass for Proposal Routing in UAccess Research

Our researchers have busy schedules! Therefore, in rare circumstances when a PI, MPI, Co-I, or Key Person (from here on referenced to as Senior/Key Person) is not available to review & electronically approve a UAccess Research (UAR) proposal document by way of computer or mobile device, SPS offers two workarounds to streamline routing Temporary Bypass and Bypass with Approval to Submit. Bypasses can only be performed if the proposal is at Senior/Key Person’s route stop for approval. Review the Route Log on the Summary/Submit tab of the UAR Proposal Document often and carefully to keep track of approvals and any potential delays in routing. 

Note, Bypasses are not allowed for Unit Approvers—to ensure that redundancies are in place in the event a unit approver is unavailable, SPS recommend provisioning at least two provisioned approvers for departments and colleges.

Temporary Bypass

A Temporary Bypass is a short-term workaround for a Senior/Key Person who is not currently available to review & electronically approve a proposal document, but will be available to review & electronically approve prior to submission or signature/finalization of proposals. The only thing required is an email to requesting the Temporary Bypass, identifying the proposal or UAR document number, and the name of the Senior/Key Person to be bypassed. 

Once the UAR proposal document reaches the SPS route stop, SPS will Ad Hoc route the proposal to the bypassed individual for Approval. The bypassed individual must electronically approve the proposal document before the proposal will be submitted and/or any documents will be signed by the AOR.

Bypass with Approval to Submit

A Bypass with Approval to Submit is required when the Senior/Key Person will not be available to review & electronically approve the proposal document prior to submission deadline. This requires direct correspondence via email from the Senior/Key Person with the following information—note, the if the person being bypassed is not the PI of the project, the PI must also be included in this correspondence:

  1. I agree to serve as [select: PI, MPI, Co-I, or Key Person] at #% effort.
  2. I agree with receiving #% Credit for Award and #% F&A Revenue.
  3. I will be available to formally approve this UAR by [enter date]. I understand that failure to get electronic approval by this time can result in the proposal being withdrawn.
  4. I agree with having the application submitted prior to providing my electronic approval.
  5. I agree to the following statement:

Approval indicates that the information included in this electronic proposal and the accompanying submission application is true, complete, and accurate to the best of your knowledge. Approval confirms any cost sharing commitments, space arrangements, and resources for the proposed project. The PI confirms this electronic proposal and the accompanying submission application include all “Investigators” as defined by and subject to the University of Arizona’s Conflicts of Interest & Commitment Policy. The PI, Co-PI(s), and others involved in the sponsored activity certify that they are not currently debarred, proposed for debarment, suspended, declared ineligible, or voluntarily excluded from transactions by a federal agency. If awarded, the PI, Co-PI(s), and Lead Unit agree to accept responsibility for the fiscal and scientific conduct of the project and provide progress reports as required by Federal or State law, sponsor regulations, terms of award, and University policy. The PI agrees to maintain a complete copy of the submitted proposal which may be accessed by Research, Innovation & Impact.  

Once the Senior/Key Person’s email is sent or forwarded to with a formal request to perform a Bypass with Approval to Submit, and identifying the proposal or UAR Document number, SPS will perform the bypass. When the UAR proposal document reaches the SPS route stop, SPS will Ad Hoc route the proposal to the bypassed Senior/Key Person for Approval, however, the bypassed individual will not be required to electronically approve the proposal document to proceed with submission or signature of relevant documents. Electronic approval will still be required prior to finalization and generation of an Institutional Proposal—as a result, the award cannot be set up until the bypassed individual is able to electronically approve.

Tips for Bypasses in UAccess Research

  • Bypasses should only be used in rare circumstances. A Bypass of any kind should never be requested until the Senior/Key Person has been contacted to request approval. Performing a Bypass can inadvertently cause additional delays if the bypassed individual is available to approve between the Bypass and Ad Hoc route.
  • Be sure to check your route log often. As the initiator, it is up to you to keep track of routing proposals to ensure they reach the SPS route stop in a timely manner and in accordance with the three-day deadline.
  • When waiting for correspondence for a Bypass with Approval to Submit, the request for Temporary Bypass can be submitted to avoid further delays in routing.
  • Bypasses are only appropriate for individuals serving in a Senior/Key Person role—SPS will not bypass units under any circumstances.

Proposal Changes that Require Re-Routing

Major Changes require the proposal to be returned to the initiator for changes and re-routed for all approvals. Submission queue priority is not retained if a proposal is returned for major changes. Sponsored Projects Services will make routine, minor corrections based on information in the proposal or mistakes in UAccess Research data entry. All corrections will be noted in the proposal without re-routing for approvals.


  Major changes
Proposal Units (Departments)
  •  If the project Lead Unit changes, copy the UAccess Research Proposal and reroute for all approvals.
  • Adding or deleting units requires re-routing.
  • Remember to include all required units for faculty associated with other departments.
Proposal Key Personnel
  •  Adding or removing key personnel requires re-routing. 
  • Changing a proposal person’s role requires re-routing.
    • Principal Investigator to Co-Investigator or Key Person
    • Co-Investigator to Principal Investigator or Key Person
    • Key Person to Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator
Scope of Work

A change to the Scope of Work (SOW) requires re-route. This can include:

  • The addition or removal of tasks.
  • A change to the subject or magnitude of the research.
  • A change to the identified deliverables. 

If clarifications are requested that do not impact the overall scope, re-routing will not be required. Verify with the PI if these changes are a change in scope, and utilize the examples above and in the Project Changes page

Budget Any change (increase or decrease) to the budget by 25% of the Total Cost as documented in the Budget Versions tab (BVT) requires re-routing. 
Credit for Award / F&A Revenue Any change to distribution of Award Credit or F&A Revenue requires re-routing.
Cost Sharing
  • Cost Share amount increases.
  • Changes in Cost Sharing Source Unit(s) require re-routing.
  • Remember to distribute and verify a source for all quantifiable cost sharing.
  • Limit Cost Sharing to what is required by the program announcement or talk to your department/college first.
On / Off Campus A change in on-or off-campus designation is a ‘significant’ budget change in F&A (Facilities & Administrative) rate and requires re-routing.
Required Proposal Attachments

Without this supporting information attached or otherwise included in the UAccess Research Proposal, the proposal will be re-routed.

Every proposal requires the following information:

  • Budget
  • Abstract or Statement of Work
  • Budget Justification

Additional supporting documentation is required in some situations:

  • Subcontracts - If the project includes one or more subcontracts, include the following information for each subcontract.
    • Subcontract Budget
    • Subcontract Abstract or Statement of Work
    • Subcontract Budget Justification
  • F&A Stipulations - Proposals with a reduced F&A Rate stipulated by the Sponsor must include the Sponsor's Stipulation in the proposal.
  • F&A Waivers - Proposals that require an F&A Waiver must include the F&A Waiver request as a UAccess Research Proposal attachment.
Federal Sponsor If the primary source of funding is a federal sponsor and the prime is left off routing, the UAR will need to re-route to add the primary funder and adhere to COI compliance at time of proposal.


Related Files

Subscribe to the UArizona Impact in Action newsletter to receive featured stories and event info to connect you with UArizona's research, innovation, entrepreneurial ventures, and societal impacts.

Subscribe now