The 15/5/2 Rule

The 15/5/2 Rule

15 Days Prior

Notify your assigned Pre-Award unit of your intent to submit a proposal by completing the Notice of Intent page of a new Proposal Routing Form, a minimum of 15 business days prior to the submission deadline. If you aim to submit ahead of a sponsor’s deadline or are a subrecipient under another organization that will submit as prime (lead), then this would be a minimum of 15 business days prior to your target or the prime’s internal submission deadline.

10 Days Prior

Applicable to Projects with Cost-Share/Matching or Other Resource Commitments
The following items are due to the Research Service Center no later than 8:30 a.m. at least ten (10) business days prior to the submission deadline date:

  • Draft of all technical documents
  • Budget, in source file format
  • All applicable cost-share forms should be ready for signature. The RSC will route resource commitment and/or cost-share/matching requests.
  • Requests for an institutional letter of commitment from UTSA’s President, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, or Vice President for Research, Economic Development, and Knowledge Enterprise. Read more here about institutional letter requests.

5 Days Prior

Final, submit-ready non-technical documents (in source file format) and draft technical documents must be sent to your Research Service Center no later than 8:30 a.m. at least five (5) business days prior to the submission deadline date.
All of the following are required to meet this deadline:

  • Draft of all technical documents
  • Detailed budget in the UTSA template (and sponsor format, if required)
  • Budget justification/narrative or cost proposal
  • Approved cost sharing/resource documentation, if applicable. Note: The Office of the Vice President for Research, Economic Development, and Knowledge Enterprise designee must approve voluntary cost sharing prior to proposal review.
  • All supporting documentation from proposed subrecipients, if applicable (i.e., Statement of Work, Budget, F&A agreement, Subrecipient Form)
  • All other non-technical documents, as required, per the solicitation
  • If submission is through NSF or other sponsor-specific electronic submission sites/systems, access must be granted to the RSC

Your proposal will be considered late if not all the non-technical documents are received by the RSC by the set deadline.

2 Days Prior

All technical documents in their final format must be received by the RSC no later than 8:30 a.m. two (2) business days prior to the submission deadline date. RSC staff are responsible for conducting a detailed review of your proposal and may identify revisions and/or corrections needed. Providing source files may also be helpful.
Complete review of these documents will not occur if the final documents are received after the 2-day internal deadline. Be reminded: and other submission sites encourage applicants to submit their proposals at least 2-3 days prior to submission deadline date. This practice allows adequate time to correct errors and resolve technical or transmittal issues encountered through the electronic submission process.

How to Petition a Late Proposal

Proposal packages that do not adhere to the five (5) and two (2) business day deadlines will not be accepted for review without a petition.

  • Submit a request for an exception to your department chair or unit lead.
  • If approved, your department chair or unit lead will submit a request to your Associate Dean for Research or equivalent.
  • If approved, your Associate Dean or equivalent will submit a request for inclusion to the RSC.

The RSC will not place your proposal ahead of proposals that complied with the 15-5-2 Rule deadlines. Instead, your late proposal will be reviewed as time permits in the order that it is received. The PI/PD assumes responsibility for proposals deemed non-compliant by the sponsor. There is also a risk that your proposal will not be submitted to the sponsor.

More Time Needed for Complex Proposals

Multi-year proposals that incorporate:

  1. multiple budgets and subrecipients,
  2. cost proposals,
  3. cost-sharing/matching/institutional resources and/or
  4. international collaborations or sponsor will require additional time for coordination and review

If you think your proposal will fall within this category, please contact your respective RSC as soon as possible. 15 business days is a very short timeframe to work within.


Why does the RSC need so much time to review my proposal?  

The RSC staff will review all sponsor requirements and your proposal documents to make sure all requirements have been met. Sometimes this review involves technical clarification, coordination with multiple offices, and verification, which may depend on the schedules of other individuals. The review must be coordinated with other potential submissions by your colleagues and staff time must be allocated to support all pending submissions.

Can the RSC staff upload my documents?  
What if I will be unavailable on the day of submission?