In some cases, a funder limits the number of applications that can be submitted by CU Boulder to a given funding opportunity. For all limited submission funding opportunities, the Research & Innovation Office (RIO) coordinates an internal competition to identify the project(s) with the highest likelihood of receiving funding. All interested applicants should review the campus procedures for limited submission funding opportunities provided below. Click here to get our limited submission funding opportunity newsletter, the RIO Bulletin, delivered directly to your inbox every other Tuesday.

Interested in serving as a reviewer for limited submission competitions? Click here!

Current Open Opportunities

Past Opportunities

Procedures for Limited Submission Funding Opportunities

  1. Announcement of Opportunities
    1. Webpage: The RIO limited submission funding opportunities webpage lists active limited submission funding opportunities. Information about past opportunities can be found here.
    2. Email: RIO circulates the biweekly RIO Bulletin via email to campus stakeholders; the Bulletin includes notices of newly announced limited submission funding opportunities. Subscribe to the RIO Bulletin here. In certain time-sensitive situations, RIO may circulate a special issue of the Bulletin announcing a limited submission opportunity. RIO may also notify individual units and stakeholders of opportunities focused on specific disciplines or research areas.
    3. If individual faculty or staff become aware of limited submission funding opportunities not posted through the above sources, they should notify RIO immediately at
    4. To prevent CU Boulder from being disqualified from a limited submission funding opportunity, materials should not be submitted to the sponsor until a final selection is made and the winner of the internal competition has been notified.
  2. Internal Application Process
    1. Timeline: RIO will typically post notice of an internal competition at least 10 weeks in advance of the sponsor deadline (this will increase to 16 weeks for particularly large, complex, or multidisciplinary funding opportunities). This window allows RIO to allot at least: (a) 6 weeks for internal competition winner proposal development in advance of the sponsor deadline (this will increase to 12 weeks for particularly large, complex, or multidisciplinary opportunities), (b) 1 to 1.5 weeks for the internal competition proposal review process, and (c) 3 weeks for internal competition proposal development. ​RIO will make best efforts to adhere to the timeline outlined here, however, RIO reserves the right to make modifications considering sponsor timelines are outside of RIO’s control. If there is insufficient time to administer an internal competition, RIO may render a decision as to whom will be granted CU Boulder’s slot to apply to an opportunity.
    2. Application Submission: Applicants will submit internal competition applications through an online portal with a unique hyperlink provided on the limited submission funding opportunities webpage.
    3. Application Requirements: Internal application requirements may vary based on sponsor application requirements, but will typically include: (a) 2-3 page project summary, (b) CV/biosketch, and (c) 1 page budget overview (basic budgets outlining projects costs are sufficient; detailed OCG budgets are not required for internal competitions).
    4. RIO does not provide any advice or feedback during the internal competition process.
  3. Internal Review Process
    1. Applications are reviewed by faculty and staff with expertise in the relevant subject area(s). Based on reviewer input, an applicant (or applicants) is selected as the internal competition winner. The internal winner is invited to submit a proposal to the opportunity sponsor on behalf of CU Boulder.
    2. The CU Boulder Office of Advancement will provide input during the review process for private foundation-sponsored opportunities.
  4. Notification of Applicants
    1. RIO will notify all applicants via email. When possible, applicants will receive reviewer comments to allow the internal winner and other applicants to strengthen their proposals to the sponsor or for the subsequent funding cycle, respectively.
    2. RIO will provide internal winners with instructions on how to proceed with submission of a full proposal to the sponsor, working in conjunction with the Office of Contracts and Grants (OCG) and/or the Office of Advancement.
    3. RIO will share the names of internal winners when other internal competition applicants, whom were not selected, inquire for collaboration/partnership purposes. The intent is to encourage collaboration and to ensure that CU Boulder is submitting the most competitive proposal possible. Partnerships are at the discretion of the internal PI winner.
  5. Expectations for Internal Winners
    1. Internal competition winners are required to submit a full proposal to the sponsoring agency on behalf of CU Boulder. RIO expects selected faculty to make contact with their OCG Proposal Analyst (and with the Office of Advancement for applicable philanthropic funding opportunities) within one week of being notified by RIO. This one-week window may be shorter depending on the program deadline.
    2. Even if a sponsor allows a PI to submit on their own, PIs must submit through OCG (and should be in contact with the Office of Advancement for philanthropic funding opportunities).
    3. If, for any reason, an internal winner will not submit a proposal to the sponsor, (s)he is required to immediately contact If time permits, another internal competition applicant will be invited to apply on behalf of CU Boulder.
      1. For instances in which an internal winner does not apply and neglects to inform RIO, the dean/director of the internal winner’s respective unit will be notified, and this will be taken into consideration for future limited submission opportunities.
    4. If an internal winner wishes to appoint another faculty member as PI before the application is submitted to the sponsor, the internal winner must request approval by sending an explanation to Changes in PI must be approved by RIO.
    5. For projects involving cost-share, it is incumbent upon the selected faculty to secure appropriate financial commitments. Cost-share commitments should be identified and described in the internal campus competition application. In cases that RIO is able to contribute matching funds, RIO’s contributions are typically limited to funds for equipment and/or facilities for equipment. Typical matches total $50,000, with $25,000 from RIO and the remaining $25,000 from units or colleges.
    6. RIO expects applicants to send a copy of the submitted proposal to and to keep RIO informed of the proposal status and whether or not the proposal was funded.
    7. As an internal winner, you agree to provide you agree to provide sponsor feedback to RIO by filling out this form within 60 days of receiving sponsor feedback. You also agree to provide advice and sponsor feedback to the following year’s internal winner upon request. 

Open Limited Submission Funding Opportunities

Please see the table below for a complete list of active internal competitions. Click on the linked award name for more information and to access the internal competition application portal. If you are aware of a limited program not listed below, please email

CU Internal Competition Deadline

(11:59pm MT)

Sponsor Deadline                                                                                       


September 17, 2019 December 2, 2019 5:00pm MT NSF Critical Zone Collaborative Network
September 23, 2019 November 19, 2019 9:59pm MT NEA Sound Health Network
September 23, 2019 May 21, 2020 NIH Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD)
September 23, 2019 May 21, 2020 NIH Maximizing Access to Research Centers (T34)
September 24, 2019 October 30, 2019 (Sponsor Nominee Eligibility Exception Deadline)
November 13, 2019 (Nomination)
November 27, 2019 (Letter of Support)
Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists
October 7, 2019 November 13, 2019 5:00pm MT NIH Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Awards (IRACDA) (K12)
October 7, 2019 November 22, 2019 New York Academy of Sciences Innovators in Science Award - Early Career - Rare Diseases
October 7, 2019 November 22, 2019 New York Academy of Sciences Innovators in Science Award - Senior Scientist - Rare Diseases
October 8, 2019 November 15, 2019 (Nomination Deadline)
December 13, 2019 (Application)
Moore Inventor Fellows
October 8, 2019 January 20, 2020 5:00pm MT NSF Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) Program
November 5, 2019 January 1 -  February 15, 2020 (Pre-Application Counseling Period with Keck)
May 1, 2020 5:30pm MT (Phase I Application, by invitation only)
August 17, 2020 5:30pm MT (Phase II Application, by invitation only)

W.M. Keck Foundation Research Grants

November 18, 2019 February 6, 2020 Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Awards
December 2, 2019 February 24, 2020 5:00pm MT NSF Cultivating Cultures for Ethical STEM (CCE STEM)
Email if interested September 15, 2019 American-Scandinavian Foundation Public Project Grants
Email if interested September 18, 2019 5:00pm MT NSF Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) in Engineering and Computer Science
Email if interested October 11, 2019 5:00pm MT NSF Advancing Digitization of Biodiversity Collections (ADBC)
Email if interested October 31, 2019 9:59pm MT Simons Investigators in Mathematics, Physics, Astrophysics, and Computer Science
Email if interested November 5, 2019 5:00pm MT NSF Advanced Computing Systems & Services: Adapting to the Rapid Evolution of Science and Engineering Research
Email if interested November 6, 2019 5:00pm MT NSF Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL)
Email if interested December 25, 2019 5:00pm MT (Letter of Intent)
January 25, 2020 5:00pm MT (Application)
NIH Collaborative Program Grant for Multidisciplinary Teams (RM1)
Email if interested January 2020 Adaptation and Partnership Competition:
November 1, 2019 5:00pm MT(letters of intent)
January 15, 2020 5:00pm MT(full proposals)
NSF ADVANCE: Organizational Change for Gender Equity in STEM Academic Professions


Past Winners - Limited Submission Funding Opportunities

Please see the table below for a list of CU Boulder faculty who have received popular limited submission funding opportunity awards. If you are aware of any winners not listed here, please contact

Sponsor Award Past Winner(s)
The Blavatnik Family Foundation Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists Ana Maria Rey, 2019 (Physics)
W. M. Keck Foundation Science and Engineering Research Grants Daniel Dessau, 2017 (Physics)
Prashant Nagpal, 2014 (Chemical & Biological Engineering)
Rob Knight, 2013 (Chemistry & Biochemistry)
National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Stipends Myles Osborne, 2016 (History)
Robert Pasnau, 2011 (Philosophy)
Nan Goodman, 2010 (English)
Virginia Anderson, 2006, 1991 (History)
David Boonin, 2001 (Philosophy)
Timothy Weston, 2001 (History)
Marcia Yonemoto, 2000 (History)
Robert Hohlfelder, 2000 (History)
Jane Garrity, 1997 (English)
Mark Pittenger, 1994 (History)
National Science Foundation Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) Margaret Murnane, 2018 (Physics)
Wil Srubar III, 2017 (Civil, Environmental & Architectural Engineering)
Won Park, 2016 (Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering)
Markus Raschke, 2015 (Physics)
Thomas Hauser, 2015 (Research Computing)
Kevin Mahan, 2014 (Geological Sciences)
Rafael Piestun, 2014 (Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering)
Daniel Dessau, 2004 (Physics)
National Science Foundation Materials Research Science and
Engineering Center (MRSEC)
Noel Clark, 2008, 2002, 1998 (Physics)
Joseph Maclennan, 2006 (Physics)
National Science Foundation Science and Technology Centers (STCs) Margaret Murnane, 2016 (Physics)
David & Lucile Packard Foundation Packard Fellowships for Science and Engineering Ann-Marie Madigan, 2018 (Astrophysical & Planetary Sciences)
Christoph Keplinger, 2017 (Mechanical Engineering)
Cindy Regal, 2011 (Physics)
Michael Hermele, 2010 (Physics)
Pieter Johnson, 2008 (Ecology and Evoluationary Biology)
Alexis Templeton, 2006 (Geological Sciences)
Shijie Zhong, 2001 (Physics)
Daniel Feldheim, 2000 (Chemistry and Biochemistry)
Leo Radzihovsky, 1998 (Physics)
Kristi Anseth, 1997 (Chemical and Biological Engineering)
David Jonas, 1996 (Biochemistry)
Elizabeth Bradley, 1995 (Computer Science)
Barbara Demmig-Adams, 1992 (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology)
John Price, 1990 (Physics)
The Pew Charitable Trusts Pew Biomedical Scholars Jingshi Shen, 2010 (MCDB)
James Goodrich, 1999 (Biochemistry)
Bradley Olwin, 1990 (MCDB)
Robert Boswell, 1987 (MCDB)
Michael Klymkowsky, 1985 (MCDB)