The University of Iowa Information for UI Faculty and Staff


The federal government established as a central, web-based portal for inviting and receiving applications to its 26 grant-making agencies. constitutes a critical step in the application submission process, as it receives, validates, and prepares these applications for retrieval by the specific funding agency. Applications not meeting the validation criteria are returned to the applicant for corrections, rather than forwarded to the funder for review.

All federal funding agencies are expected to adopt the system, and are currently in various stages of transition to the system. While some have adopted in full, others have elected to use in conjunction with their own, previously established electronic application systems.

  • Registration Procedure
    The University of Iowa community should note that, while requires each applicant to complete a registration, the term applicant refers to the institution rather than the individual. Individual investigators, then, do not register with, and may not submit directly to, the system. Rather, the UI is registered as an institution and required to submit all UI applications -- a process completed by the Division of Sponsored Programs. The UI DSP has submitted hundreds of applications via the system, and has used this experience to develop policies, procedures, and informational resources to support successful electronic submissions.

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UI e-Application Submis​sion Policy

The system has proved much more complex and time-consuming than the traditional paper application procedure, requiring UI investigators to finalize and route their applications well in advance of the submission deadline. The system requires a generous buffer in time to protect the application against technical difficulties and application errors that may disrupt a successful submission. We must, for instance, allow up to 48 hours following e-submission to learn whether an application has been accepted by the funding agency or rejected for corrections. If errors are detected and the application rejected, the investigator must make all corrections and the institution must repeat the entire e-submission process, resubmitting the corrected application to in accordance with the original agency deadline. Applicants cannot assume the first submission will be successful and must allow time for resubmission(s).

In the interest of successful e-submissions, the UI instituted the following policy, effective May 1, 2006:

Applications requiring electronic submission must be completed, routed, and submitted to the UI Division of Sponsored Programs at least five business days prior to the submission deadline. Individual departments and colleges will need to establish their own internal deadlines to ensure review and approval of the application in advance of the DSP deadline. As a general guideline, investigators should plan to finish their applications 7-14 business days prior to the submission deadline.

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The University of Iowa subscribes to, and encourages everyone within its community to make use of, a system called Cayuse -- a commercial system-to-system interface that greatly assists the federal grant application process. Cayuse provides program-specific application packages; facilitates application completion; and provides a means for submitting and tracking these applications to their agency destinations. Cayuse offers many user-friendly features, such as

  • Checking the application against the program-specific guidelines, identifying any errors and allowing investigators to make corrections prior to submission;
  • Creating a single PDF file of the entire application, including attachments, for review prior to submission; and
  • Storing PI biosketches and profiles for automatic loading into applications, current and future.

Cayuse can be used in relation to any federal grant application that uses Adobe forms and electronic submission through -- the standard forms and portal for federal e-submissions.

Please see the Cayuse at UI site for additional information. Procedure for Opportunities Not Supported by Cayuse

While Cayuse accommodates more than 98% of federal grant programs, it is not an option for all. When Cayuse cannot be used, please obtain the application guidelines and complete the application package by following these particular steps:

  1. Find the particular program of interest through the Find Grant Opportunities function at 
  2. Save the completed application package as a file to your local network or hard drive.
  3. Upload a copy of the completed application file to the UI DSP, using the Uploads system available through our UIRIS site:
  • To access the upload system log into UIRIS.
  • On the UIRIS Main Menu, look under Forms for the link to Uploads.
  • Choose to start a new upload page or to access an application in progress.

4. Using the standard UI Proposal Routing Form, please see that the application and signed routing forms reach the DSP at least five business days in advance of the submission deadline. The PI's signature on the routing form confirms the application is ready for e-submission to

5. When the DSP receives the signed routing form, it will review the electronic application file, noting any concerns/revisions you'll need to address. If any changes are made, you must again use the UIRIS upload system to send the revised application file to the DSP. Note that you should not start a new upload record in UIRIS for each revision of the application file; instead, simply open and update the original UIRIS record to include the latest version of the application.

6. Once finalized, the DSP will submit the application to, where the sponsoring agency will retrieve it. Some agencies may require the PI and/or the DSP official to complete an additional verification step through the agency's particular system.

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Agency-Specific Websites

Agency-specific information is available through the following websites:

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Questions pertaining to specifically or to electronic application in general may be directed to the DSP main office, e-mailing or phoning 335-2123. We greatly appreciate your collaboration in the e-application process, and will be happy to assist you in any possible way.

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