Review the RFP

There are many names for the document that informs applicants how to apply for specific funding opportunities: Request for Proposals (RFP), Request for Applications (RFA), Notice of Funding Opportunities (NOFO), Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), Broad Agency Announcement (BAA), Program Solicitation, and Program Announcement (PA or PAR) are just a few. The information below generally applies to all of them.

Additionally, many sponsors have additional general guidelines that apply to all applications for funding, such as the NSF PAPPG, the NIH How to Apply Application Guide, or the USDA NIFA Grants Application Guide. Be sure to check the sponsor website to identify all documents that guide the application process.

Important steps for reviewing an RFP are:      (click to jump down to section)

Use the RFP Checklist(s)

Review the RFP using the Call for Proposals Checklist (2 pages), designed to help you extract key information.

You may also benefit from using the New Proposals Checklist (4 pages), which helps you begin populating specific details for a new grant proposal.

Need more help to understand an RFP? Write to the Proposal Development Services (PDS) team, formerly known as Interdisciplinary Research Support, at [email protected]

Institutional Eligibility

Read the RFP and any relevant sponsor guidelines to confirm that UC Davis is eligible to apply to the funding program and/or sponsor.

UC Davis is an Eligible Applicant Institution as follows (assuming it meets other eligibility requirements):

    • Institutions of Higher Education (IHE)
    • Public Institutions of Higher Education
    • 1862 Land Grant Universities
    • Non-Profit Institutions; 501c3

Eligibility as a Minority Serving Institution

According to the language of some RFPs, UC Davis may qualify as a Minority Serving Institution (MSI), or as an institution with a high proportion of underserved communities. Any MSI designation requires the eligible institutions establish a federally-mandate threshold of undergraduate student enrollment as a percentage of the overall student enrollment using the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data Systems (IPEDS) data.

According to the Department of Education and the IPEDs data, UC Davis is an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution (AANAPISI).

At this time, UC Davis does not meet the designation requirements for a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI). Even though UC Davis has a high percentage of Chicanx/Latinx/Hispanic students (more than 25% of our undergraduates identify as such), according to the IPEDS data, which only includes data for domestic students (and not, for example “dreamers”), we do not meet the minimum threshold to be officially designated as an HSI. Applicants are encouraged to carefully review the language of each Funding Opportunity Announcement to determine what criteria are required for eligibility.

Need more help with institutional eligibility? Write the Sponsored Programs office at [email protected].

Principal Investigator Eligibility

UC policy states that only qualified members of the Academic Senate and appointees in other eligible title groups listed in the UC Academic Senate policy may submit proposals without the need for an exception.

UC Davis policy on PI eligibility:

To request a PI exception use Form 105: Request for Exception to Policy on Eligibility to Undertake Sponsored Research/Other Sponsored Activity (PDF).

    • Complete the form
    • Obtain appropriate signatures
    • When submitting the proposal for internal review and approval, upload the form as a proposal attachment in the Cayuse SP Internal Processing Form (IPF).
      • Dept/unit chair approval will be obtained via IPF approval if the form is uploaded into Cayuse SP before submitting the IPF for routing.

Need more help with PI eligibility? Write to [email protected].

Internal Campus Coordination

Sometimes a funding sponsor limits the number of proposals an institution may submit to a funding opportunity. These “Limited Submission” programs must be internally coordinated to ensure that UC Davis only submits the allowable number of proposals.

Limited Submission: A sponsor limits how many applications an institution may submit.

Coordinated Submission: A sponsor requires some form of internal coordination.

Limited and Coordinated Submissions involve an internal (UC Davis) application and selection process before submission to the sponsor.

      • More information can be found on the Limited Submissions page.
      • Submit a Limited Submission pre-proposal for internal competition via InfoReady.


Need more help with a Limited or Coordinated Submission? Write to [email protected].