Limited Submissions

Limited submissions are external sponsored funding opportunities that require an internal selection process because the sponsor limits the number of proposals and/or imposes specific restrictions on applications submitted by Tufts.


Please note that not all limited submissions are announced. Announcements are made with an emphasis on those opportunities of broad interest to the Tufts community, and the list below is not exhaustive. If you are interested in a limited submission that does not appear below, please contact your local research administrator (LRA) and email the Limited Submissions team at


Limited Submissions Process

To members of the Tufts Research Community:

Please see the limited submission opportunities summarized below.  For more information on these opportunities, please visit the links to the funding opportunities.

Unless otherwise indicated below, those interested should send an email of intent to the Limited Submissions Team at informing us of an intention to apply.  EOIs received after the deadline indicated below will not be consideredThe email of intent must include:

  1. The name of the solicitation,
  2. The name of the Principal Investigator, and any co-PIs,
  3. A 2-3 sentence description of the proposed project.

Should the number of interested applicants exceed the number allowed by the funder, an internal selection process will be conducted by the Office of the Vice Provost for Research, and candidates will be notified to submit internal application materials.  All candidates will be notified of results.  NB: Successful applications must include official notification from the Limited Submissions Team in order to submit.  For more information, please see        

Email of Intent Deadline: Wednesday,  December 14 by noon (NSF Major Research Instrumentation – see additional instructions below).  Please see underlined and italicized text below for any special EOI instructions.

This week’s limited submission opportunities are:

  • Please include with your email of intent the following information:
    • The track (see below) to which you intend to submit and the estimated cost of the requested equipment
    • A statement of confirmation from your Dean/EAD that confirms that your school supports your proposed equipment and that you will follow the Tufts Equipment Policy
    • A brief description of where the equipment will be installed
    • A brief description of the Tufts research (beyond the PI’s own) that will be supported by the equipment – this equipment must be multi-use and must be widely available to researchers
    • A statement describing any overlap of the proposed instrumentation with others available at Tufts or in the greater Boston area; if similar equipment exists, then describe why this equipment is needed
  • Number allowed: Two proposals for Track 1 ($100,001 to less than $1.4M), one proposal for Track 2 ($1.4M to $4M), and one proposal for Track 3 ($100,000 to $4M)
  • Sponsor Deadlines: Application due: February 21, 2023
  • Purpose: To increase access to multi-user scientific and engineering instrumentation for research and research training. An MRI award supports the acquisition or development of a multi-user research instrument that is, in general, too costly and/or not appropriate for support through other NSF programs.
  • Requirements: The proposal should describe the acquisition or development of a research instrument or components that, when combined, serve as an integrated research instrument that is for multi-user/shared instrumentation that often supports research needs across disciplinary boundaries
    • MRI provides support to acquire or develop next-generation research instruments that open new opportunities to advance the frontiers in science and engineering research
    • Projects must enhance research training of students who will become the next generation of instrument users, designers and builders
    • Not funded are common, general-purpose ancillary equipment normally be found in a laboratory; research, education or outreach activities that are enabled by the requested instrumentation; requests for multiple independent instruments that serve to outfit a general-purpose laboratory or research environment; instrumentation used primarily for science and engineering education courses; instrumentation that enables research that is primarily outside of NSF-supported fields of science and engineering (however, the instrument’s use in those activities may occur at a secondary level and serve as broader impacts)
    • New Track 3- the purchase, installation, operation, and maintenance of equipment and instrumentation to conserve or reduce the consumption of helium.
  • Eligibility: No agency restrictions, though the program seeks broad representation by PIs, including women, underrepresented minorities, and persons with disabilities; please follow Tufts PI eligibility policies.
  • Award Information: Track 1: Minimum - $100,000; Maximum – less than $1M; Track 2: $1.4M to $4MTrack 3: $100,000 to $4M.
  • Further Information:

See Archived Competitions

About Limited Submissions

Limited submissions are external sponsored funding opportunities that require an internal selection process because the sponsor limits the number of proposals and/or imposes specific restrictions on applications submitted by Tufts.  This information is often located in the “Eligibility” sections of funding opportunity announcements (FOAs).

The Limited Submissions Team in the Office of the Vice Provost for Research (OVPR) identifies limited submission opportunities and coordinates the university-wide review and nomination of applications for these opportunities to ensure such submission restrictions are met. For those limited submission opportunities from foundations, the OVPR collaborates closely with the Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations (CFR) to facilitate the process. Proposals cannot be submitted outside of the limited submissions process described below.

The process is designed to provide principal investigators and their teams with as much time as possible to prepare submissions to the sponsor while allowing for a fair management of internal competitions.

Tufts Process


OVPR and CFR identify limited submission funding opportunities through Internet searches, PIVOT alerts, mailings, newsletters, invitations, and previous opportunities.

If a faculty or staff member identifies a limited submission prior to or instead of an OVPR announcement, that individual will notify the Limited Submissions Team immediately to ensure that the team is aware of the opportunity and that no more than the specified numbers of applications are submitted.


When a limited opportunity for a broad number of investigators is identified, the OVPR will notify the research community by posting to the limited submissions webpage.

Some limited opportunities are focused on a specific scientific area or are open only to a specific group. In these cases, the Limited Submissions Team may target the opportunity to those who match the sponsor’s eligibility requirements.  However, if an investigator is interested in a particular opportunity with a limitation, they should email Limited Submissions immediately to expedite the process.

Email of Intent

For Limited Submissions that have been announced and for those identified by interested investigators, anyone wishing to send a proposal in response should send an e-mail of intent to the Limited Submission Team at and to their LRA with the subject line: Limited Submission (PROGRAM NAME FROM ANNOUNCEMENT) by noon on the Wednesday after the announcement, unless otherwise noted. 

The email of intent should include only the following:

  • Indication of desire to submit to the limited FOA
  • Name and title of principal investigator and any identified team members
  • A brief (1-3 sentences) description of the proposed project
  • Any other requested information (e.g., confirmation of eligibility, acknowledgement of cost share or reduced indirect cost requirements)

If no more than the maximum number of emails of intent are submitted, the Limited Submissions Team will notify the applicant(s) within 24 hours that their submissions may move forward.

Internal Competition

If the number of emails of intent exceed the maximum number allowed by the sponsor, potential applicants will be notified and asked to prepare an internal application that includes all material explicitly requested in the internal announcement, due by noon on the Wednesday after the email of intent is due unless otherwise noted. These materials will include:

  • The name of the program to which you intend to apply
  • The name of the Principal Investigator and any additional team members
  • The subject or title of the proposed project
  • A short NSF, NIH or equivalent style biosketch of the PI
  • A description of approximately 500 words outlining the PI’s qualifications and a description of the proposed project, tailored to the requirements of the funding opportunity
  • For large equipment grants, include a statement in the project description demonstrating adherence to the Tufts Policy on Purchase or Development of Equipment with Additional Infrastructure Needs
  • If cost share, matching, or similar is required by the sponsor, a statement acknowledging responsibility for securing appropriate approvals by the sponsor deadline.

Review, Selection, and Notification

If the number of internal proposals exceeds the institutional limit, OVPR uses the internal selection process described below. Exceptions to this process are made in certain situations. For example, the nominee may be selected by the Vice Provost for Research and/or the Provost when an opportunity reflects a strategic priority or requires significant institutional commitment.

For the standard internal selection process, a review committee composed of at least three individuals with expertise in the topic and/or the sponsor/program will be selected by the Limited Submissions Committee. The Committee will ensure that the reviewers do not have conflicts of interest with any of the applicants. These individuals will review all internal proposals according to the review criteria listed below and the sponsor’s requirements and/or funding priorities.

The OVPR will select the candidate(s) based on the committee’s recommendations. De-identified reviewer feedback will be provided upon request. Information about the faculty review committee and selected candidate(s) is confidential.

All candidates will be notified of the final decisions of the committee via email. The department/school’s Lead Research Administrator and the Director of Pre-Award Research Administration will be cc’d on the official nomination letter, and Corporate & Foundation Relations will be included when relevant.

If a proposal cannot be completed, please contact the Limited Submission Team immediately so another PI may have the opportunity to apply.

Submission to the Sponsor

All proposals indicating a limit on the number of submissions from Tufts must be accompanied by an official letter of nomination from the Limited Submissions Team to be processed, regardless of whether they were announced by the OVPR.

All nominees should work with their assigned research administrator in their department or school to prepare submission to the sponsor.

In addition, for foundation proposals the Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations (CFR) will work with the nominee(s) to review the foundation's latest requirements, goals, previously funded proposals, and the university’s history and internal connections with the foundation. The appropriate CFR representative will be cc’d on the official nomination letter. 

Review Criteria  

Review criteria are determined based on the criteria employed by the sponsor for each funding program.  In general, limited submission internal proposals will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Intellectual Merit: How important is the proposed research to advancing knowledge within its field or across fields? How well qualified is the proposer? To what extent does the project suggest and explore original concepts? How well conceived is the proposed project? What is the likelihood of success?
  • Match to Sponsor’s Program and Tufts Goals: How well does the proposed project address the sponsor’s programmatic requirements and goals? Given Tufts’ research goals and strengths, what are the benefits to the relevant campus(es)?
  • Other Relevant Factors: Includes such factors relevant to the specific FOA as cultural competency; public outreach efforts; quality of the evaluation design; if applicable, comments from previous submissions to the same program and the current proposal’s responsiveness to those comments.

We encourage researchers to collaborate with other groups at Tufts when possible. This team-based approach adds breadth to the proposal, while supporting the interdisciplinary focus that is increasingly promoted by federal and nonfederal agencies.


The Limited Submissions process is designed to offer applicants as much time as possible to develop their submissions to external sponsors. Limited Submission Opportunities will be announced a minimum of one month prior to sponsor deadline. The typical timeline for limited submissions is as follows, with some flexibility provided for the needs of specific sponsors.

Ltd Sub Timeline

Please contact the Limited Submissions Team at for any questions about the limited submissions process.