Limited Submission Funding Opportunities

Many federal agencies and foundations offer funding opportunities that limit the number of applications that can be submitted per institution. To facilitate proposals that are as competitive as possible for these limited submission opportunities and to ensure fairness in the selection process, the Division of Research and Innovation Partnerships develops internal proposal competitions to review and select proposals to be submitted to the sponsor.

Faculty and staff who intend to apply to limited submission opportunities should notify the director of funding development via email to as soon as possible.

Wherever possible, an internal competition will be held to select proposals for submission to the sponsor. When circumstances do not allow for a full competition, proposals may be selected on a first-come, first submit or another basis at the discretion of the vice president for research and innovation partnerships.

Current Opportunities

Doe Fair Funding Competition – Internal Selection Process

The Department of Energy (DOE) has issued the Funding for Accelerated Inclusive Research (FAIR) solicitation, targeting emerging research institutions and minority-serving institutions. This is an excellent opportunity for NIU, and RIPS encourages proposals to this competition.

Pre-proposals are required to apply to the FAIR solicitation and are due February 7, 2023.

Solicitation Submission Limits
  • NIU is allowed to submit up to three proposals to each program area of the FAIR solicitation.
  • Each PI can only be the lead PI on one proposal to the FAIR solicitation.
Internal Selection Process

PIs who intend to submit a pre-proposal in response to the FAIR solicitation must notify Kellie Dyslin via email at as soon as possible and no later than January 20, 2023. PIs must use the subject line "DOE FAIR pre-proposal internal selection" and must include the following information:

  • PI name
  • Names of any NIU co-PIs
  • Program area to which you will apply

Should RIPS receive more than three notifications for any one program area, RIPS will follow up to request additional information. The VP-RIPS will select the pre-proposals to move forward to DOE.

More information is available on the DOE FAIR program webpage.

National Science Foundation: Major Research Instrumentation (Mri)

NIU welcomes the submission of internal proposals for the National Science Foundation's Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) competition. The proposals selected from this internal competition will be the only ones to be fully developed and submitted to the National Science Foundation (NSF). Proposals that do not adhere to the requirements will not be considered in the internal competition.

Complete details are available on the MRI program page. We strongly encourage you to read the full program solicitation before preparing your internal proposal. Please submit any questions to Kellie Dyslin at, and enter "MRI Internal Competition Question" in the subject line.

Proposal Limit

NIU may submit only four proposals per competition as a lead applicant, a collaborative applicant or a significantly funded subawardee:

  • Up to two Track 1 proposals per competition: Track 1 proposals are those that request funds from NSF greater than or equal to $100,000 and less than $1,400,000. (Track 1 proposals that request less than $100,000 will be accepted only for research in the disciplines of mathematics or social, behavioral and economic sciences.)
  • Only one Track 2 proposal per competition: Track 2 proposals are those that request funds from NSF greater than or equal to $1,400,000 up to and including $4,000,000.
  • Only one Track 3 proposal per competition: Track 3 proposals are those that request funds from NSF greater than or equal to $100,000 and less than or equal to $1,400,000 for the purchase, installation, operation, and maintenance of equipment and instrumentation to reduce consumption of helium.

Please note the following regarding the submission limit:

  • A separately submitted linked collaborative proposal will count against NIU's submission limit whether NIU is the lead or a non-lead partner.
  • Inclusion as a funded subawardee on any acquisition proposal, or as a funded subawardee on a development proposal at a level exceeding 20% of the total budget requested from NSF will count against NIU's submission limit.
  • Inclusion as a subawardee on a development proposal at a level equal to or less than 20% of the proposal's total budget request from NSF will not count against NIU's submission limit.
  • For subawards within a linked collaborative proposal, the 20% threshold applies to the budget request from NSF in the proposal containing the NIU subaward(s), not to the combined budget request from NSF for the collaborative project.

If you're planning a subaward proposal for this MR competition, contact Kellie Dyslin at to discuss whether the subaward proposal will count against NIU's submission limit.

Winter 2023 Competition
  • Internal proposal deadline: Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023, 11:59 p.m. CST
  • Announcement of selected proposals: Friday, Jan. 27, 2023
  • Proposals due to NSF: Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023, 5 p.m. CST
Fall 2023 Competition
  • Internal proposal deadline: Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023, 11:59 p.m. CST
  • Announcement of selected proposals: Friday, Oct. 6, 2023
  • Proposals due to NSF: Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2023, 5 p.m. CST
Proposal Creation and Submission

Proposals must include two documents: a project description and cost/budget information. If you're submitting a proposal that was previously submitted as an MRI proposal to the NSF and received review comments, you should also include resubmission information. All documents should be single-spaced with no smaller than 1" margins and no smaller than 11-point font.

Email your proposal as an attachment to Kellie Dyslin at Please enter "MRI Internal Proposal Submission" in the subject line. Proposals that do not adhere to the guidelines and/or are not received by the internal proposal deadline will not be considered in the internal competition. No exceptions.

Project Description

A brief project description (limited to five pages) is required for all internal proposals. It should include:

  • The project title (a preliminary title is acceptable and can be changed for full submission)
  • The proposal track (Track 1, Track 2, Track 3)
  • Whether the proposal is for development or acquisition of an instrument (A development proposal should also explain why it qualifies as a development proposal.)
  • Where the instrument will be located

Your document should also describe the following:

  • The research and research training activities for which the instrument will be used. Explain how the instrument will enhance NIU's ability to conduct leading edge research and how it will improve research training.
  • The proposed instrument and why it is needed. Explain how the planned research and training drives the need for the instrument, why existing or nearby instrumentation is insufficient to meet the need, and any other key factors that justify the acquisition or development of the proposed instrument.
  • The "Broader Impacts" that will result from the instrument purchase or development if funded, including how the instrument will attract researchers and improve NIU's capabilities to conduct leading-edge research and how the instrument will broaden participation in research by women, underrepresented minorities and persons with disabilities.
  • A management plan: Describe the facility where the instrument will be housed, how and by whom it will be operated and maintained over its lifetime. Describe the procedures for allocating instrument time if appropriate, and how new users will be attracted and supported. If the instrument will be housed at NIU, indicate where and explain any space renovations needed to accommodate the instrument (including preliminary cost estimates, if available). If the instrument will be housed outside of NIU, indicate where and justify why the instrument should be housed remotely. Describe any agreement with the other entity to house the instrument at that location including status of any such agreement. Provide any additional information related to instrument development or helium-related requests as described in the NSF program solicitation in support of your internal proposal.
Cost and Budget Information

Provide a draft budget and preliminary budget justification/description of the project's resource requirements (limited to two pages). Include vendor quotes and/or describe the status of securing vendor quotes to acquire the instrument (for acquisition proposals) or required components (for development proposals). Actual vendor quote documents may be provided outside of the two-page limit. Note that cost-sharing is prohibited in MRI proposals. Do not include any cost sharing in your budget information.

Resubmission Information

If the proposal will be a resubmission, please include a document describing the results of prior review and how the review comments will be addressed (limited to one page). You may also attach the actual review comments as an appendix in addition to the one-page limit.

Upcoming Opportunities

National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Stipends Program

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Stipends program intends to drive new research and publication of same in the humanities via small awards to individual scholars. These awards provide two consecutive months of summer funding to support continuous full-time work on a humanities project. Awards may support salary, travel and other costs related to the proposed research. NEH will only accept two proposals that are nominated by NIU for review. Read more about the NEH nomination process in the current Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) (PDF) (pages 3-4).

The NEH Summer Stipends Program internal competition deadline for 2022 has passed. An internal competition for the NEH 2023 deadline will be announced next calendar year.

If you have any questions about the internal proposal competition, contact Enter "NEH Summer Stipends Internal Competition Question" in the subject line