Limited Submission Opportunities

Limited Submission Opportunities (LSOs) are external funding opportunities where sponsors limit the number or types of applications Vanderbilt can submit, either as pre- or full proposals. Such restrictions are included in the opportunity announcement and can be for awards or research funding. Research Development & Support (RDS), within the Office of the Vice Provost for Research and Innovation, is responsible for coordinating the review and selection of institutional nominees for LSOs. For LSOs that VU and VUMC must submit collaboratively, the OVPRI will also coordinate the review and selection of nominees with the Office of Research (OOR) in the Vanderbilt University Medical Center.


  • Where can I find a list of available limited submission opportunities (LSOs)?

    A list of upcoming LSO deadlines is maintained on the Open LSO Opportunities webpage, and the hyperlink for the Internal Deadline will lead you to the internal submission page for a specific opportunity. You can also search for LSO competitions on the VU InfoReady homepage. If you would like to receive emails when internal deadlines for LSOs are announced, you can subscribe to the LSO+ Listserv.

  • What is the LSO announcement and nomination process?

    An enhanced LSO process was created in 2017 to better engage the Vanderbilt research community and support the development of competitive proposals. This streamlined process, illustrated in the diagram below, aims to give ample time to faculty to develop proposals and provide meaningful reviews to help improve submissions.

    RDS researches and tracks active and anticipated LSOs, including those funded by Federal, Industry, and Foundation sponsors. LSOs will be reviewed routinely and strategically by RDS and posted well in advance of deadlines, allowing candidates time to put together strong submissions. Additionally, opportunities that have been targeted as specifically well-aligned with Vanderbilt's strengths can be highlighted for earlier internal competition deadlines, thereby giving the selected candidate additional months of proposal support to bolster the competitiveness of their submission.

    Announcements of LSOs are communicated to the Vanderbilt community in a variety of ways, including

    Candidates can apply directly for each VU LSO using the InfoReady application portal. If the LSO requires VU and VUMC to submit collaboratively, submissions are emailed to If VU candidates have questions about an opportunity or their eligibility, they can contact

    Reviews will be conducted by groups comprised of at least 3 reviewers from a standing LSO Review Committee and supplemented with ad hoc subject matter experts as needed. RDS organizes reviews and when a clear decision is not evident, the VPR makes the final decision based on the combined reviewer feedback. An internal competition may not be used for some LSOs which are deemed institutional priorities and whose nature requires trans-institutional coordination rather than competition.

    RDS will notify the applicant, their department chair, and their Associate Deans for Research of the decision and send a synopsis of the reviewer feedback. If the sponsor requires verification, RDS provides the sponsor with the necessary verification.

  • How do Vanderbilt University (VU) and Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) coordinate LSOs?

    In situations where VU and VUMC are each eligible to submit proposals, they have independent processes for notifying faculty of LSO opportunities, reviewing proposals, and selecting nominees. VU investigators should apply through InfoReady and address any questions to  VUMC investigators should follow the guidelines posted on the Office of Research website and address any questions to

    In situations where VU and VUMC submit collaboratively, the LSO process is coordinated.  When the LSO process is coordinated across VU and VUMC, the two insitutions issue the same LSO annoucement and combine VU and VUMC reviews if an internal competition is necessary.  In these situations, all investigators should follow the same submission guidelines posted in the LSO.

  • What are candidate responsibilities?

    Candidates are expected to adhere to all posted LSO deadlines. RDS makes every effort to identify all LSOs and notify faculty in a timely manner. If a faculty or staff member identifies opportunities that have not yet been announced internally, it is their responsibility to contact in advance of any deadlines before proceeding with a possible application.

    Candidates selected must ensure they are aware of any additional requirements of the funding agency beyond the internal competition. The funding agency's official program announcement remains the final authority in determining sponsor requirements. Nominees must also complete all regular internal approval processes, and it is their responsibility to contact the appropriate office(s) for assistance in preparing and submitting the full proposal. For assistance with submission of proposals to external funders, contact Sponsored Programs Administration (SPA).

    If a nominee is no longer able to apply for a limited submission opportunity, s/he must notify the appropriate contact person immediately, to allow another colleague the chance to move forward with a submission.

    If a proposal is submitted to an agency but not funded, RDS may request feedback including summary statements or other peer and sponsor review comments from the PI to help improve selection of proposals for that particular LSO.

    Faculty may not proceed with an application to an LSO competition without official confirmation from RDS. Applications for LSOs that are submitted to SPA without confirmation may be delayed, presuming confirmation can be obtained, or returned.

  • I want to apply to an LSO that is not listed. How do I apply for it?

    Our list of limited submission opportunities is not exhaustive.  If you would like to apply to an opportunity that restricts the number of applicants from Vanderbilt, you must get approval from RDS to submit.  If the opportunity is not already a posted internal competition, please forward it to for review and we will run a competition if necessary.

  • I want to apply to an LSO after the internal deadline. Can I still apply?

    Yes. As long as the limited nomination slots have not been filled, an LSO will remain open after the internal deadline, up until the sponsor's submission deadline. If you are interested in an opportunity and the internal deadline has passed, contact to see if a slot remains.

  • What are the requirements to submit an internal proposal for an LSO?

    Requirements will vary depending on the opportunity, but the information typically required is a brief project description (2 pages max, including references) and a CV. The requirements to submit an application for a specific opportunity can be viewed by selecting the "Apply" button when viewing the opportunity in InfoReady. If you have questions about a particular application, email your questions to

    Unless specified in the LSO application in InfoReady, there is no format required for your CV. If you do not have an NIH- or NSF-formatted Biosketch, make sure that your CV includes the following information:

    • Name
    • Current title
    • Education/training
    • Positions/Honors
    • Publications
    • Research support

    Unless specified in the InfoReady application, there is no format required for your project description. The text should be in a legible font and the content should be applicable to the goal of the LSO. Use your best judgement. The Project Description is very brief, and references should be included only when necessary. If you do include references, they should be included in the page limit.

  • Will I receive reviewers' comments?

    Reviewers' comments are made available to the applicants when possible. If you apply via InfoReady, they will be sent to you through the system after the competition has completed. If you applied for a joint VU-VUMC LSO through, reviewers' comments will be sent through email along with the results of the competition.

  • If I am approved to apply to the the sponsor, can someone help me with my application?

    For federal and foundation opportunities, depending on the available resources and the needs of the candidate, RDS can provide additional proposal development support ranging from proposal coordination and project management to critical review and content development. 

  • Where can I find additional funding opportunities?

    Vanderbilt University has purchased a membership to Sponsored Program Information Network (SPIN) and to GrantForward, two databases of public and private sources for research funding. Faculty, staff, researchers and graduate students can find funding opportunities from corporations, foundations, and other charitable organizations, as well as federal, state, and local government entities.

    Please see the following user guides for more information on accessing the databases, searching for funding, and creating an account.

    • SPIN's user guide can be found here.
    • GrantForward's user guide can be found here.