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On this page:

  1. Internal deadlines
  2. e-Submission
  3. Submission requirements
  4. Internal review

Grant submission always follows the process developed by sponsors. Most sponsors are requesting proposals through online portals now, but there are still some that require submission by email or even courier.

Independent of the mode of submission, the sponsor may ask you as the Principal Investigator (PI) to submit the application directly (see: Submission by PIs) or may ask that the application to be submitted by an “institutional representative” in which case Research Services will submit for you (see: Submission by Research Services).

In some cases, the sponsor asks you to submit directly, but requires a cover page signed by an “institutional representative”. In this case, please make sure internal approvals are secured and email the cover page (routing sheet, signature page) to Research Services (ors@sfu.cathree business days before the submission deadline to secure the signature.


Internal Deadlines

Research Services will review an application if it is submitted by Research Services. If the application is submitted by the principal investigator, it may require the signature of an institutional research services representative. In order to have enough time to process the application and request, SFU has internal deadlines for external funding applications.

SFU internal deadlines are THREE business days in advance of the funding agency’s external deadlines. For example,

  • If the external deadline is July 5 (Thursday), 2018, SFU internal deadline is 9:30 AM, July 2 (Monday), 2018.
  • If the external deadline is July 9 (Monday), 2018, SFU internal deadline is 9:30 AM, July 4 (Wednesday), 2018.

Why does SFU have internal deadlines?

The purpose of internal deadlines is to ensure that the staff of Research Services has enough time to review applications before submitting it or signing off on it on behalf of the institution. It also ensures that researchers have enough time to make corrections to their applications if any errors or omissions are identified.

Please note: Applications will still be signed or forwarded to the funding agency even if the internal deadline is missed but it will be put in the queue behind others who submitted on time. This may result in the risk of missing the external submission deadline when Research Services is handling overlapping deadlines or applications for large competitions. Your Chair and Dean might also have internal policies with which you need to comply when submitting proposals to external funders.


e-Submission refers to the process of electronically submitting a grant application to a funding agency via its online system. The e-Submission process is used for all SSHRC and NSERC’s granting programs, some of CIHR’s granting programs, as well as NIH, Health Research B.C., and other agencies.

Please note: Some portals require registration, which can take time. ORS has a profile on the common portals and will initiate profiles on behalf of SFU when a new funding opportunity requires it. Please check with ORS before registering to a new portal to avoid duplications and necessity for revisions. It is important that researchers register early, to ensure they are affiliated with SFU and to understand how the portal works before submission. Please also check submission deadlines and validation processes the portal uses to ensure submissions do not get timed-out.

The following are common portals accessed by SFU researchers and Research Services:


Most online application portals, including the Tri-Agencies, allow you to upload and work on documents on the online portal. To make sure only final drafts get submitted, the agencies assign statuses to a proposal (e.g. “in progress”, “completed”, “submitted”, “returned”, “approved”, “received”, etc.). Research Services can only see a proposal after "submit" button has been clicked, which we call "submit mode".


Submission Requirements


Submission by PIs

A PI must secure  internal approval with a copy of his/her application no later than 9:30AM of the internal SFU deadline before submission to any sponsor.

Note. If your application requires an institutional representative signature, Research Services will return the signed cover page to you for submitting directly to the agency.

Submission by Research Services

A PI must have his/her application in the “submit” mode on the agency’s online application portal (or in the Research Services inbox if the sponsor is not using a portal), and have secured all internal approvals no later than 9:30AM of the internal SFU deadline.

Internal Review

Applications submitted to the funding agency by Research Services or that request an institutional representative signature will require internal review. SFU reviews applications in order to:

  • Ensure that applications meet the university and funding agency's guidelines and requirements
  • Provide the final review to spot errors that may eliminate a proposal from the competition

SFU internal review by Research Services varies depending on the requirements of each funding agency.  In general, Research Services conducts the following checks:

  • Internal Approvals with Chair and Dean signoff
  • Supporting documents (e.g., proposal and statement of work)
  • Submission deadline
  • Institutional signatures
  • Eligibility: ensure the applicant is eligible to hold the grant through SFU based on the sponsor policies and requirements
  • Sponsor terms and conditions
  • Overhead (indirect costs)
  • Compliance requirements (e.g., research ethics, animal care, biohazard, etc.)
  • Conflict of Interest
  • Budget period and amount
  • Type of grant: grant or contract
Last updated: May 30, 2024