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2009 Vice Chancellor for Research Policy on Late Proposal Submissions to SPO (Historical)

2009 VCR Five Day Proposal Submission Policy (Historical)

See Vice Chancellor for Research Policy on Late Proposal Submissions to SPO for current policy.


Late proposals are at risk for submission failure. For this reason the VCR has implemented a five day proposal submission policy (revised 6/1/2009) that is managed by the UC Berkeley Sponsored Projects Office (SPO).

To ensure that this policy meets the needs of the Berkeley academic community, the VCR has approved the following enhancements:

  1. Proposals submitted to SPO with a draft technical section on or before the five business day deadline will be considered “on time” if the proposal is complete in all other respects. This option is designed to give PIs additional time to refine the technical component and thereby improve the proposal’s chances for success. However, to be considered “complete in other respects,” the proposal must include:
    1. All proposal elements and attachments required by the sponsor
    2. All administrative sections of the proposal in final form (Drafts and placeholders will not be accepted.)
    3. All required internal administrative documents and forms required by UC Berkeley.
  2. Incomplete proposals will be returned to the initiator without SPO review with instructions to resubmit. If the resubmission occurs fewer than five working days before the proposal deadline, the proposal will be considered “late” and VCR approval will need to be obtained before SPO reviews the proposal. (See #2 below.)
  3. If a proposal cannot be submitted on time, even with the use of a draft technical section, the PI must obtain the VCR’s approval to submit a late proposal by submitting a VCR Late Proposal Approval Request Form. This form must be submitted directly from the email address of the dean/chair/head of the submitting unit to: vcrlateproposal@berkeley.edu. Forms submitted from a PI’s email address and incomplete forms will not be processed.

Submitting an On-Time Proposal

When Berkeley is submitting directly to an external sponsor, the proposal must be submitted to SPO at least five working days before the funding agency deadline. If Berkeley is to be a subawardee and Berkeley’s proposal will be submitted to the sponsor by another lead (or prime) institution, the proposal must submitted to SPO five working days before the proposal is due to the lead institution.  In both cases, to be considered “on time” the proposal must include:

  • All proposal sections and elements required by the sponsor (or lead institution).
  • Statement of work or technical section (in final or draft form)
  • Administrative sections completed (draft and placeholder sections are not acceptable)
    • This includes the budget/budget forms with complete budget justification. If the budget in any required sponsor format is not sufficiently detailed or explanatory, then an Excel spreadsheet should be included for SPO review.
    • Indirect costs must be calculated with either the federal negotiated rate or the rate specified by the sponsor in written policy or program guideline documents. Any request for a vital program waiver must accompany the proposal to SPO. Please note: The PI and/or the CSS/Department RA are responsible for insuring the accuracy of the costs presented in the project budget.
  • All appropriate internal administrative documents/attachments that are required by UC Berkeley:
    • A completed and signed Subrecipient Commitment Form for each subrecipient with all attachments included.
    • Letters of support from named consultants and/or collaborators if quantifiable cost sharing is being provided and/or such documentation is required by the sponsor.
    • Properly documented cost sharing or matching (from internal and/or external sources)
    • Project specific justification for inclusion of any administrative costs (See: Guide to Major Projects and Charging Administrative Costs to Sponsored Projects)
    • Completed State and/or Federal Conflict of Interest disclosure forms

Submitting a Draft Technical Section

A draft of the technical section of a proposal should not be just a “place holder.” The draft should address all required elements specified in the sponsor’s application guidelines. The draft should be written in sufficient detail to allow the proposal to be reviewed even if only the draft statement of work or technical section were to be submitted. The PI should keep in mind that any changes made to the statement of work or the technical section should not affect any of the following administrative elements. (Please note: The CSS/Department RA is responsible for alerting SPO if any of the administrative elements have changed when the final technical section is submitted.)

  • The amount of project funds requested from the sponsor
  • The project’s budget justification
  • Cost sharing or matching
  • F&A (indirect) costs requested
  • Effort of key project personnel
  • Named consultants and/or subcontractors
  • Administrative costs requested

If a draft statement of work or technical section is being contemplated, the PI/department should contact the SPO Contract and Grant Officer assigned to the PI’s department as soon as possible to work out a revised internal due date for the submission of the final technical section to SPO and follow these guidelines:

  • To submit a draft technical section using the Phoebe electronic proposal submission system:
    • Use the special attachment tab labeled “Draft Proposal” to upload your proposal in Phoebe.
    • Make sure that the draft technical section, at minimum. addresses all required elements specified in the sponsor’s application guidelines and all the other administrative sections of the proposal are complete and final.
    • Contact the SPO/IAO CGO assigned to your department/unit to work out a revised due date/time for the submission of the proposal with a final technical section.

Submitting the Final Technical Section

Failure to submit the final technical section by the date and time specified by SPO will jeopardize the submission of your proposal. Please note that the the CSS/Department RA is responsible for informing SPO of any changes that have been made to the administrative sections of the proposal when the final technical section is submitted. The PI and the CSS/Department RA are responsible for ensuring the administrative and technical sections of the proposal are consistent with one another.


Late Proposal Exceptions

If a proposal cannot be submitted on time, even with a draft technical section, the PI should request an exception to the VCR’s late proposal policy. These are the steps for requesting VCR approval for the submission of a late proposal to SPO:

  1. Complete the VCR Late Proposal Approval Request Form found on the SPO web site.
  2. Submit the completed VCR Late Proposal Approval Request Form to the dean/chair/head of the submitting unit for review/approval.
  3. Ask the dean/chair/head of the submitting unit to forward the completed VCR Late Proposal Approval Request to the following email address: vcrlateproposal@berkeley.edu. Please note that request forms must be received from the dean/chair/headís email address. Forms submitted from a PIís email address and incomplete request forms will be returned without review.

VCR-approved requests will be returned to the PI and the dean/chair/head of the submitting unit with a revised date and time for submission to SPO. This date and time are expected to be honored.

Failure to submit a late proposal to SPO by the revised date and time provided by the VCR places the proposal at great risk for submission failure and errors that could lead to the rejection of the proposal by the sponsor. Therefore SPO will not assure the successful submission of any proposal submitted to SPO after the internal date and time established by the VCR. SPO reserves the right to process non-compliant proposals only after all other on-time proposals due that same day have been submitted.

Please note: SPO’s office hours are from 8 am to 5 pm daily. The VCR’s approved time for the submission of any late proposal to SPO will always be well before the close of SPO’s normal office hours. This applies even if the sponsor’s deadline is after 5 pm.

Submission of late proposals that must be submitted electronically should follow the guidance provided in the SPO Quick Guide to Proposal Review and Submission for UC Berkeley Faculty.

Phoebe Proposals: For proposals submitted to SPO or IAO via Phoebe, please note that late proposals are determined by the date of the dean/chair/head’s approval in Phoebe.


Frequently Asked Questions

Draft Technical Sections

What happens if the final version of the technical section is not submitted by the revised SPO deadline?
At the time the new deadline is established for the final technical section, the PI will be offered the option of having SPO submit the draft technical section if the new, revised deadline is not met. If the PI does not choose this option and also is unable to submit by the revised deadline, SPO will accept the late proposal when it arrives but will process the proposal in the normal queue only after other on-time proposals are submitted. Such late proposals are at risk of not being submitted by the agency deadline.

What happens if the revisions to the technical section alter the administrative component of the proposal?
At the time of the submission of the final statement of work or technical section, the CSS/Department RA is responsible for informing SPO of any changes that have been made to the administrative sections of the proposal when the final technical section is submitted. If the changes made in the final statement of work or technical section are inconsistent with what the PI has submitted in the administrative section, SPO will have to return the proposal to the PI so that the PI can make sure that the administrative and technical sections are consistent. This will result in the proposal being processed by SPO after all other on-time proposals have been submitted. Such late proposals are at risk of not being submitted by the agency deadline.

Late Proposals

What happens if I receive approval from the VCR to submit a late proposal but fail to meet the VCR’s revised deadline?
SPO will accept the late proposal when it arrives but will process the proposal in the normal queue only after other on-time proposals are submitted. Such late proposals are at risk of not being submitted by the agency deadline.

Can the PI submit the late proposal exemption request form directly to the VCR?
No. Only the dean, chair, or head of the submitting unit can submit the late proposal exemption request to the VCR because submission is considered administrative approval.

If I have approval for a late submission, does that guarantee my proposal will be submitted on time?
No. Every effort will be made to meet the sponsor deadline; however, proposals are still reviewed in the order in which they were received. A proposal submitted on time by your colleagues will take precedence. It is unreasonable and unfair to expect that a proposal submitted on time by one of your colleagues should be delayed or not get the review it deserves because your proposal was late.

Where should we send the late proposal, to SPO or VCRO?
The late proposal in final form (final technical and administrative sections) must be submitted to SPO in Phoebe, where it will be held for review until VCR approval for late submission is granted. For NSF proposals, SPO must be allowed access to the full proposal on FastLane.

What if SPO has questions about a late proposal and the PI is not available?
The PI should make arrangements for someone to be available to answer questions and make any necessary changes to the proposal.

When UCB is a subawardee and the proposal is being submitted to a lead institution what date does SPO use to determine if the proposal is late—the agency deadline or when the lead institution requires the receipt of the proposal?
Proposals to lead institutions are always due at SPO five working days before the proposal is required by the lead institution.

Are pre-proposals covered by the policy?
Any pre-proposal, white paper, letter of intent, etc., which requires SPO endorsement is subject to the five day rule.

Is a progress report considered a proposal and, therefore, subject to the five day policy?
No. However, a request for supplement is subject to the policy. If in doubt – ask.