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Does it matter when proposals are submitted?

21 Jan 2021 20:23 | Annedorte Vad (Administrator)

Does it matter when you submit?

We all know that some proposals are submitted awfully close to deadline and it can be incredibly stressful to both the researcher and the research administrator. Besides that, one cannot help wondering how last-minute submission impact the funding success

The problem with late submissions

  • Too many submissions near deadline
  • Not enough time to do a proper review
  • Difficulty to work with PI for edits
  • Pressure to get the submissions out before the deadline
  • A time crunch for correcting submissions returned with errors
  • Technical glitches
  • Anxiety and stress from all the above!
Temple University set out to analyse their data and Krunal Cholera presented the findings at the 2020 SRAI Virtual annual meeting. The data may not be directly transferable to the Danish context, but I do believe we can find the findings inspirational and they can spark discussions at our own institutions on how we professionalise the review process.

Temple University analysed three data points relative to the application deadline:

  1. How long before the deadline they were submitted for internal pre-review (budget/administrative review)
  2. How long before the deadline they were submitted for final review/processing
  3. How long before the deadline they were submitted to Grants.gov.

Findings

It goes without saying that the good research idea and a well written proposal is still the most important thing in obtaining funding. A poor proposal submitted early will still have little chance of getting funding and a good proposal may still be funded even if it is submitted only one minute before deadline. But not surprisingly Temple University found that more time for review and processing results in better funding outcomes.

  1. Ninety percent of funded awards were associated with applications submitted into pre-review five or more days before the deadline.
  2. Sixty-seven percent of funded awards were associated with applications submitted for final review/processing two or more days before the deadline.
  3. Eighty seven percent of funded awards were associated with applications submitted to Grants.gov three or more hours before the deadline.

This led to changes at Temple University

This led to a 5-day/2-day rule at Temple University. Since 2014 proposals must be submitted for preliminary review five or more days before the sponsor's deadline and full proposal must be submitted for final review two or more days before the sponsor's deadline. If the PI cannot adhere to this, a waiver request is required from the Dean to the Vice President for Research. Proposals requiring the waivers are not guaranteed on-time submission, although the Grants Office make every effort to do so. And it worked! In 2014, only 62 percent of the proposals was submitted to the Grants Office compared to more than 80 percent ever since. 

Result

The aim was to streamline the process and reduce the burden on everyone and Temple University succeeded.

  1. Higher success rates
  2. Less stress up to deadlines 
  3. Better collaboration between PI and RMA

Mr. Krunal Cholera has kindly allowed me to post this review of his presentation and I hope you find it useful. He also sent me the presentation for me to share with interested DARMA Members. Let me know if you want it and I will mail it to you

Kind regards, 
Annedorte

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