Skip to main content
Search scope

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 send the proposal, cover page, and SFU Signature Sheet to Research Services three business days before the submission deadline to secure the signature.

Internal deadlines

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

SFU internal deadlines are now 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 your application before submitting it or signing off on it on behalf of the institution. It also ensures that you have enough time to correct your application if any errors or omissions are identified.

Please note: Your application 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 when you apply for large competitions.


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, Michael Smith, and other agencies.

Please note: Some portals require registration, which can take time. Therefore, register early and make sure you are affiliated with SFU and understand how the portal works before submission. Please also check submission deadlines and validation processes the portal uses to ensure your submission does 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 your proposal (e.g. “in progress”, “completed”, “submitted”, “returned”, “approved”, “received”, etc.). Research Services can only see your proposal if you clicked the "submit" button which we call "submit mode".


Submission requirements


Submission by PIs

A PI must submit a fully signed SFU Signature Sheet and a copy of his/her application to Research Services no later than 9:30AM of the internal deadline.

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 send a fully signed SFU Signature Sheet to Research Services no later than 9:30AM of the internal deadline.

Internal review

Your application will require internal review if it is submitted to the funding agency by Research Services or if it requests an institutional representative signature. SFU reviews your application in order to:

  • Ensure that your application meets the university and funding agency guidelines and requirements
  • Provide the final review to spot errors that may eliminate your 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:

  • SFU Signature Sheet: competition, grant title, grant ID, applicants and co-applicants, Dean and Chair signatures
  • 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: make sure it matches with the application
  • Type of grant: grant or contract
Last updated: June 9, 2022