By definition, limited submissions are funding opportunities that limit the number of applications that may be submitted per institution. The increase in limited submission opportunities and their changing requirements mean that some must be dealt with on a case by case basis. This page details the policies and procedures for limited submissions as currently defined. 

Current Limited Submission Competitions  

The Basics

Many funding agencies place limits on the number of pre-proposals, proposals, or applications that any one university may submit in response to a request for proposals. In order to prevent any potential disqualification of submissions by Montana State University, the following policies and procedures have been established. These policies and procedures apply to all grants and contracts including awards made directly to faculty members.

Identifying a Limited Submission

In the request for proposals document, organizations will specify whether or not the opportunity is a limited submission. They will typically indicate the number of proposals allowed per institution and the process by which they must be submitted. The Office of Sponsored Programs has developed an internal process that aids the institution in processing limited submission applications. These policies and procedures must be followed carefully and are detailed below.

Recurring Limited Submission Opportunities

MSU's Office of Sponsored Programs tracks selected limited submission opportunities that recur on a regular basis.

This graphic representation shows major opportunities on a timeline of MSU's fiscal year, i.e., July 1st through June 30th.

Limited Submissions Timeline Click on the image to see a larger version of the timeline (in a new window).

This text-based version shows major opportunities listed by the various sponsors.

Limited Submissions Chart Click on the image to see a larger version of the chart (in a new window).

PDF version of Limited Submissions Timeline and Chart

Click here to access a PDF (in a new window) that includes hyperlinks to sponsors' websites.


You need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the PDFs.

Limited Submission Application Process

Summary of Proposed Project / White Papers

Principal investigators interested in a limited submission opportunity must submit a white paper, no more than two pages long, along with a CV (also two page maximum) via the ePCF system by the internal submission deadline established by OSP.

OSP will post many select program opportunities on the OSP website under “Research Funding Opportunities” with internal deadlines as well as those established by the sponsors.

Principal investigators who discover a limited submission opportunity not posted on the OSP website must notify OSP immediately to ensure consideration of his/her project for the opportunity discovered.

Selection of Projects

If fewer than the allowed number of summaries are received, the normal process for submission will be followed.

If more than the allowed summaries are received, the MSU Research Council (or subcommittee) will select the project(s) to be put forth on behalf of the university. Evaluation criteria will include, but not be limited to quality of the proposal, key deliverables, what makes the project competitive, and eligibility of the investigator. Other key considerations include probability of successful funding and support of the mission of the University.

Full Proposal Submission

Summaries selected will result in proposals or pre-proposals submitted in accordance with sponsor guidelines through OSP following normal submission procedures including the Proposal Clearance Form and other required submittal documents.


If a proposal is submitted for a limited submission opportunity and is not funded, that proposal will have no preference over other projects in any subsequent limited submission opportunities. In order to be considered for any subsequent limited submission opportunities, such proposals must be resubmitted and will be evaluated against competing projects.

Limited Submission Application Process: Submitting Using the ePCF System

To apply for a limited submission opportunity, PI’s must follow the procedures outlined in the previous section. To complete this procedure, PI’s must complete the following steps or risk their submission not being considered:

Form Preparation Options Screen 

The ePCF screen is divided into two parts. The top section displays the options for starting a new proposal. The bottom section displays the proposal forms that you are authorized to revise as the PI or Department Contact/Accountant. 

ePCF Screen 

ePCF screen

The section includes forms that are being prepared and have not been submitted, forms that have been submitted and are in the approval process, forms that have been returned for revision during the approval process, and proposal forms that have been withdrawn. When the form has been submitted and is still in the approval queue, only a very limited number of entries can be revised by the PI or the Department Contact/Accountant. Most of the entries on the maintenance screens will be disabled.  If you need to make a minor change to one of the disabled entries, contact the OSP Fiscal Manager.

In the top left corner of the screen are two buttons that you can use to return to the Home screen or to terminate the session (Logout).

ePCF Screen

Limited submission screen

New Proposals

There are three types of new proposals: Full Proposal Clearance Form which contains all information required for OSP to approve a submission that has been solicited by a Sponsor; Limited Submission Pre-Proposal which is used by the Vice President for Research to determine who will be able to submit a proposal when the sponsor limits the number of proposals from MSU; and a Pre-Proposal  which requires summary information when the Sponsor wants to determine who may submit a full proposal or when an investigator wants to initiate interest for a project from a Sponsor. PI’s who wish to submit to a limited submission must select the “limited submission pre-proposal” radio button and attach all required documents including a current CV and the two-page white paper. 

Any of the three types of proposals can reference a previous submission of an approved proposal or the continuation of an established grant. In the case of limited submissions, if the PI is selected to go forward with the application, he or she must reference the limited submission pre-proposal so that the fiscal manager is aware of the PI’s permission to proceed. If that information is applicable, please enter either the Proposal Pending Number or the Grant Code in the designated box. This information helps OSP to expedite the processing of a form. Then click on the button Begin New Form. A screen will be displayed listing all the entries required for the proposal form. If the proposal is the continuation of a grant or a re-submission of a previous proposal form, the Principal Investigator, Organization, Agency, and Proposal Title will be populated with the information from the previous grant or proposal. You can revise any of those entries.

If you are preparing the form for a PI, check that you are listed as a Department Contact before you close the form. Only the PI and Department Contact can edit the proposal.

Proposal Forms in Progress

If you have proposals in progress, they will be displayed in the bottom half of the page in a grid that contains pertinent information about each proposal. You can sort the grid by clicking on any of the column headings. 

The first click will sort the information low-to-high and the second click on the same column heading will sort high-to-low. If there are multiple pages of proposals, you can navigate to subsequent pages by clicking on the page number in the lower left corner of the grid. To revise any proposal, click on the Select option in the first column of the grid next to the proposal. To limit the number of proposals retrieved, click on the Search button at the top of the grid and you will be taken to a screen to enter specific criteria regarding the types of proposals you want to see, for example, the proposal status, organization, agency, principal investigator, OSP fiscal manager, etc. After the search is completed and this screen is displayed again, another button will appear. "Restore Full List" will allow you to restore all the entries that were initially displayed.

The Report button at the top will create a comma-separated (.csv) Excel file. Before exporting the report, click on any column heading in the grid to sort the entries if you want a particular order. After clicking on Report, you will be prompted to either view the report in a separate window or save it to disk. If you view it in a window, you can use Excel options to save the entries.

How Will I know if I am Selected to Proceed?

After the Research Council makes their determination, the ePCF system will be updated to reflect the committee’s decision. The PI’s will also receive a direct email from the OSP office detailing the decision and whether or not they have proceed/do not proceed status.