Submission Guidelines

Steps in Proposal Submission

You have written your proposal and you are ready to get it out the door, so what’s next?

First, all proposals for extramural support must be routed through Wisconsin Proposal Electronic Routing (WISPER). The WISPER system is an electronic routing form for applications and agreements. WISPER is a web-enabled award set-up form that can:

  • create, route, and sign forms electronically
  • share attachments and documents
  • request and respond to document related approvals
  • monitor negotiation and award set-up progress
  • collect award data for posting to the Shared Financial System


  • Before grants may be submitted, the PI will need to demonstrate that they are in compliance with State, Federal, and UW-Madison regulations. PIs may either seek help from department staff to answer compliance questions or use the appropriate compliance office for answers. 

Review and Approval

  • All proposals much be reviewed and approved by:
    • The Department Chairperson
    • The Dean or Director (or designated College/School Research Administrator)
    • RSP
  • There are also additional reviews and approvals required before each proposal maybe be submitted to RSP for submission:
    • If the PI is an academic staff member, follow the guidelines for Limited PI status for Academic Staff. Also, please review the PI status page.
    • If proposals involve the resources of more than one department, school, or college (including university cost sharing) the proposal must be reviewed by appropriate officials of each unit (use an approval in WISPER).
    • If a waiver of indirect cost rates is desired, a letter requesting the waiver and justification should be uploaded to WISPER and an Approval sent to your Dean, Director or College/School Research Administrator as indicated above.

On-Campus Deadlines

  • You should allow sufficient time for on-campus processing of your proposals. Your proposal should reach the Dean's or Director's Office in final form at least seven (7) working days before any sponsor deadline. Requests for Proposal (RFP) or Requests for Quotation (RFQ) documents, which usually include representations, certifications, and special terms and conditions, may require additional review time. "Walking a proposal through channels" should occur only in the most exceptional circumstances. 

Lead Times

Budget Modifications to Pending Proposals

  • If the proposal budget needs to be revised and resubmitted to the sponsor, an approval must be added to your existing WISPER record requesting Dean, Director or College/School Administrator review.

Negotiations with Funding Agencies

  • RSP is the designated signatory and negotiating agent for the UW-Madison.