Proposal Submission

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

Sponsored proposals are submitted for review and approval through the University of Arizona's electronic research administration system, UAccess Research. If you have a University of Arizona NetID/password, you have permission to create a proposal in UAccess Research. 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 & Contracting Services (SPCS) must receive the proposals in final form (completely approved in UAccess Research (UAR) and ready for submission to the sponsoring agency) three full business days prior to your 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 SPCS 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 & Contracting 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 & Contracting Services, institutional review and submission priority is 'first-in, first-out' (FIFO) as proposals reach SPCS in final form without needing major changes. SPCS 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 SPCS 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 Sponsored Projects and Contracting Services (SPCS) Proposal Services Team includes facilitating the submission of grant proposals by helping UA researchers comply with budgetary requirements and government regulations. Most Federal agencies are requiring 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 SPCS Proposal 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 SPCS in final form* 3 full business days prior to the funding-agency deadline (8am the day it is due to SPCS).
  • Requests for indirect cost waivers should be submitted to SPCS with the attached signed form 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 ORC or documents that require ORC signature require between 7 to 10 business days for review and/or negotiation

*Final form for electronic proposals means that the proposal is completely finished, including the 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 (for example 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 & Contracting Services (SPCS) 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.

SPCS will review the documents for accuracy, completeness, and for compliance with sponsor submission procedures. SPCS 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

Award Credit

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

  • Credit for Award. Also known as academic or intellectual credit, it is allocated by percentage to investigators and department/college. These amounts are used in University publications on 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 department/college. 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 percentage on the Combined Credit Split panel in the UAccess Research proposal. The amounts carry forward from the proposal into the award, and can be modified by initiating 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 into the Combined Credit Split Panel.

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 Splits:

  • Proposals that involve more than one unit or college often involve negotiation of credit split between those colleges and units. Be sure to plan adequate time in the proposal preparation process to contact involved units and colleges.
  • Changes to credit split require a revised UAccess Research proposal document. Removing or adding a unit 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
  • Inclusion of Native Americans or international indigenous groups in the proposal
  • Use of human subjects
  • Use of animal research

All proposals must be approved by the following:

  • Principal Investigator
  • Co-Investigator(s)
  • Department Head
  • Dean or Director
  • Sponsored Projects & Contracting 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
  • Lead Unit Pre-Approver conducts an administrative review, then approves and ensures routing progress
  • Principal Investigator and Co-Principal Investigator(s) must all approve before other approvals proceed
  • All departments for a single college must approve before that college may approve
  • College approval
  • Sponsored Projects & Contracting Services approval

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.

SPCS routes the application on an ad hoc basis to Research, Innovation & Impact and other units that may need to approve the proposal based on the budget or compliance items.

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