Limited Submission FAQ

Limited Submissions Opportunities and Announcements

Applying to an Opportunity

Internal Review Process

Information for Reviewers


How can I receive limited submission announcements?

There are three common ways VCRO announces limited submissions.

  • For opportunities targeting a specific topic or discipline, VCRO generally circulates announcements to unit heads (e.g., deans, department chairs, center directors) for further dissemination to their faculty and/or other relevant scholars. Each College, School, Department, etc. has its own process for sharing these announcements with faculty and staff.
  • For opportunities that may have broader interest and/or are more time-sensitive, VCRO typically sends announcements using the campus’ messaging system, CALmessages. VCRO distributes CALmessages to recipients in campus units targeted based on the focus of the opportunity.
  • VCRO also sends these CALmessages over a voluntary Limited Submission Announcements Subscription List which distributes announcements in the evenings.

Although recipients cannot opt in or out of receiving targeted CALmessages, all those who have email addresses in the CalNet Directory can subscribe to receive announcements through the Limited Submission Announcements Subscription List. To do so, visit the CALmessages website and select “Limited Submission Announcements” under “Optional Subscriptions.” If you would like to unsubscribe from receiving these subscription list announcements, you must deselect “Limited Submission Announcements” from your “Optional Subscriptions.”

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What do I do if the current limited submissions list does not include an opportunity that I think may be a limited submission?

VCRO makes every attempt to identify limited submission opportunities and provide information on limited submissions in a timely manner; however, the current solicitations list is not exhaustive. If you identify a funding opportunity that you think may be a limited submission but does not appear in the current solicitations list, please forward the program information as soon as possible to the VCRO Limited Submissions email address at

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Whom do I contact if I have questions regarding a limited submission opportunity?

Please send an email to the VCRO Limited Submissions email address at In your email, please specify the funding opportunity of interest and provide a link to the program webpage if available.

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What documents are required to submit for a limited submission opportunity?

Please see the limited submission opportunity’s campus announcement for the materials required for the internal selection process, as these materials may vary by program. When requesting materials VCRO considers a number of factors, including the program requirements, time until the sponsoring agency’s deadline, what materials may help the PI prepare a full proposal if selected, and what materials will best assist the reviewers in evaluating the materials.

In general, campus applications will include a limited submission cover sheet, a three- to five- page project description, a one-page summary budget, and a two-page curriculum vitae or biosketch for the principal investigator (PI) and each co-PI (if applicable). Notifications of interest will typically include the name of the funding opportunity of interest, the name of the lead PI, and the campus department/ORU submitting the proposal.

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Why are notifications of interest requested sometimes while other times concept papers are requested?

VCRO considers a number of factors when requesting materials from prospective applicants. For instance, if a limited submission opportunity historically has not garnered campus interest that exceeds the submission limit, VCRO may request notifications of interest to first determine if a selection process is necessary. If campus interest exceeds the submission limit, VCRO will then request additional materials from interested applicants for campus review. On the other hand, for programs in which campus interest historically exceeds the submission limit or are potentially of broad campus interest VCRO may request concept papers in the initial announcement.

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Do you have any general suggestions for preparing a competitive concept paper?

In addition to following the instructions in the campus limited submission announcement, VCRO strongly recommends that prospective applicants carefully review the full program solicitation and, if available, any additional information on the sponsor’s website that gives insight about the sponsor’s priorities and preferences, including past funded projects. When applicable, principal investigators should ensure the concept paper:

  • can be understood by nonspecialists;
  • addresses the goals and funding priorities of the sponsor (i.e. alignment of the proposal with the program);
  • explains importance and impact of the research;
  • provides clear research goals and objectives; and
  • proposes appropriate and feasible methods.

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If I miss an internal deadline, may I submit late?

If the internal deadline has passed for an opportunity and you are interested in applying, please send an inquiry to the VCRO Limited Submissions email address ( specifying the limited submission opportunity of interest.

When a listed internal deadline has passed and campus interest has not met or exceeded the submission limit, opportunities remain open until the campus meets the submission limit or until the sponsor’s deadline passes, whichever comes first. If the internal deadline has passed and campus interest has met the campus limit or a selection process is already underway, VCRO cannot accept late concept papers or notifications of interest. This is to ensure fairness and to enable the selection process to proceed in a timely fashion.

With few exceptions, VCRO approval is required for final proposal submission to limited submission opportunities. The Sponsored Projects Office and Industry Alliances Office will not permit the final submission of a proposal to a limited submission opportunity without VCRO approval.

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Who reviews internal concept papers for limited submission opportunities?

If campus interest exceeds the submission limit, VCRO assembles an ad hoc review committee composed of faculty and, at times, others on campus with appropriate expertise to evaluate concept papers and make recommendations to the Vice Chancellor for Research for final selection.

VCRO determines committee members based on the concept papers submitted (e.g., specific expertise in a field related to the proposal) and the specific program. This includes individuals who may have been funded previously through this program and who are familiar with the sponsor and its selection process. 

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How are applications evaluated and selected?

In their evaluation of concept papers, reviewers consider a number of factors. First, responsiveness to the specific program is quite important, including the program’s mission and review criteria stated in the full program solicitation. Reviewers also consider adherence to requirements in the campus announcement (if requested information is missing, there may not be time to request it during the review). When applicable, reviewers may also consider other factors in their evaluations, especially if the reviewers are familiar with the sponsor, its selection processes, and the program funding history. The Vice Chancellor for Research also may consider these and other factors in making the final selections. UC Berkeley is committed to supporting an environment that embraces the diverse backgrounds present in our community. VCRO takes diversity, equity, and inclusion into consideration through many aspects of the review process, including how we disseminate opportunities and who we invite to serve as reviewers.

In evaluating the application, reviewers are encouraged to take into consideration the potential of applicants to improve their applications prior to the sponsor deadline.

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Will I receive comments from the review committee?

Review committees sometimes provide feedback to share with campus applicants. However, due to the volume of submissions and time constraints, detailed comments are not always possible.

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After my internal application is selected, do I need to submit documents to the Sponsored Projects Office?

In most cases, selected applicants must submit to the Sponsored Projects Office or Industry Alliances Office before submitting to the sponsoring agency. Please consult with your research administrator as soon as possible to determine whether SPO/IAO submission is necessary.

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How can I serve on an internal competition panel?

Serving as a selection committee member offers a unique opportunity to increase your knowledge about the internal review process, exposes you to innovative ideas, to learn about common criticisms and strategies to overcome them, in addition to supporting your colleagues.

VCRO recruits an ad hoc, diverse committee of faculty peers and other campus experts. The selection committee will provide a recommendation to the VCR based on the scientific and technical merit of the applications. If you are interested in participating, please email with your contact information and research interests.

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What are my responsibilities as a reviewer?

Reviewers are expected to be responsible advocates to ensure fairness and preserve the integrity of the review process. Each participant should check for potential conflicts of interest and notify VCRO staff if there might be any influence or affiliations that could give the appearance of conflicts and/or affect their participation. 

Documents from Limited Submissions are considered confidential; please refrain from distributing information obtained in this process.

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