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Compliance protocols MUST be approved and linked in SeRA to a SPO project record prior to award acceptance. 

See ORA's Award Acceptance Resources for additional information.


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A SeRA Pre-Proposal transaction is used to process pre-proposals or letters of intent (LOIs) that require institutional signature, electronic submission by an institutional official, and/or formal commitment of institutional resources, as required in a sponsor funding solicitation.

A SeRA Pre-Proposal transaction is not required prior to submitting a SeRA Proposal Intake Form (PIF) or Proposal Development Routing Form (PDRF).  If a pre-proposal or LOI is not explicitly required by the funding sponsor, initiate a PIF or PDRF accordingly.

SeRA Pre-Proposal transactions are subject to the Stanford Internal 5-day Proposal Deadline Policy

Scroll through the below for complete Pre-Proposal preparation guidance, or use the below quick links to jump to a specific Pre-Proposal page's guidance.

Initiate a Pre-Proposal

  • Log into the Stanford Electronic Research Administration (SeRA) system at with your SUNet ID and password
  • Depending on your SeRA access, the right-hand side of the SeRA home page will display either a:
    • Start Proposal teal button.  Click here, and then select Pre-Proposal from the drop-down menu
View for those that have been granted Department Level access (i.e., Research Administrators)
  • OR
    • Start Pre-Proposal teal button.  Click here
View for those with active SUNet ID access (i.e., Investigators)
  • Select the appropriate Pre-Proposal Type
  • Select the appropriate Agreement Type, and as applicable, Agreement Subtype, from the drop-down menu options
  • If logged in as a Department Administrator (My Actions Items view)
  • If logged in as a Principal Investigator (My Projects view)
    • Your name and SUNet are pre-populated
  • Click Start

Admin & Sponsor Details

Administrative Details

  • All fields with a red * are required
  • Fill out the:
    • Anticipated Start Date
    • Anticipated End Date
    • Proposal Title
    • Department/Lab/Institute Submitting Proposal
      • This is pulled in from the Principal Investigator's listed Home Org
      • Please update as necessary

Project Contacts

  • In the Department Contact field, key in the first 3-5 letters of the contact’s SUNet ID to populate and select from the name list

Sponsor Details

  • Search and select the correct Sponsor/ Entity. 
  • Limited Submission - Indicate (Y/N) if the funding opportunity limits the number of applications that can be submitted from an institution. 
  • If Yes, approved investigators must attach a copy of their Office of the Vice Provost and Dean of Research (VPDoR) approval letter.
    • Contact with any questions about university-wide limited submission programs or the internal application process
    • Limited submission programs with a clinical or biomedical research focus are facilitated by the Research Management Group on behalf of the School of Medicine, additional information is available here. Please contact if you have questions regarding clinical or biomedical programs
  • Indicate (Y/N) if there is a sponsor deadline
    • If Yes, enter the sponsor deadline date, time, and relevant time zone.  The pre-proposal will calculate the Internal Deadline date on which the complete proposal must be received by the relevant institutional official to be considered on time.  As needed, refer to Stanford’s Internal Proposal Deadline Policy 
  • Select the appropriate submission method from the dropdown menu
    • If the submission will be paper or email by your Institutional Official, provide the requisite sponsor contact name & contact information


Add Investigator

  • If the Principal Investigator (PI) was not added when first initiating the Pre-Proposal transaction, add the Stanford Principal Investigator for this project here:
    • Click Add Investigator to add the Principal Investigator
    • Select the Principal Investigator role
    • Click Save
  • If the Principal Investigator (PI) needs to be updated:
    • Click on the garbage can icon
    • Click OK to Are you sure you want to remove this investigator from the agreement?
    • Repeat the Add Investigator steps above to add the new Principal Investigator

PI Waiver

If a PI Waiver is needed:

  • Click on the paperclip icon​​​​​​​​​​​​
  • The Category and Subcategory are pre-selected 
  • Click on the Choose Files button, search for, and attach the PI Waiver approval document(s)
  • Enter meaningful Notes to assist in quickly identifying the attachment such as “PI Waiver”.
  • Click Attach

Project Questions

Budget Information 

  • Indicate (Y/N) if a detailed budget is required to be submitted with the Pre-proposal/LOI?
    • If Yes
      • The following documents must be attached prior to routing for approval:
        • Budget
        • Budget Justification


  • Indicate (Yes, No or TBD) if Stanford will issue subawards if this proposal is awarded?
    • If Yes or TBD
      • If subawards are added to the full proposal submission, note that the Subrecipient Commitment Form (OSR Form 33) and all required subrecipient documents will be required at that time


  • Indicate (Y/N) to Location: Will research (excluding data processing and data storage) be performed at SLAC? 
  • Indicate (Y/N) to Resources: Will SLAC resources be used while performing research? (e.g. computers, chemicals, lab equipment, SLAC procurement)
    • If Yes
      • SLAC location, resources, or personnel are included in the full proposal, all required SLAC documents and SLAC review will be required at that time
  • Indicate (Y/N) to Personnel: Are any SLAC rostered personnel on this project?



Attach to the Pre-Proposal any documents that are required by the sponsor and/or will facilitate the review and submission process. For more help, review the attachment guide.

Use the blue paperclip links to attach your documents as a visual checklist. After each document is uploaded, a green checkmark will be added to each requirement​​​​​

Use this as your electronic filing cabinet for the proposal!

  • PI Waiver, if necessary
  • Program guidelines
  • Budget Justification
  • Budget - Preproposal
  • Pre-Proposal/Letter of Intent

Approvers & Comments

  • In the Instructions/Remarks free text section enter any pertinent information for approvers and/or your institutional official
  • Approvers - Default approvers for the PI's department are listed in the Approvers section
    • Review, add, delete, and update as needed
    • Add approvers by searching and selecting names within the Name field (SUNet)
    • Pre-proposal approvals will route in the order listed
    • Change routing order by clicking the Up or Down arrows in the Routing Order section
  • FYI- All default FYIs for the PI's department will be listed below if available. Notification will be sent when all approvals are complete
    • Review, add, delete, and update as needed
    • Add approvers by searching and selecting names within the Name field (SUNet)

Submit for Approval

  • Click on Review for Completeness from the right-hand navigation Actions menu.
  • Blue hyperlinks for the pages with incomplete required fields will be listed
    • Complete all required fields
    • Once all required fields are complete, route the pre-proposal for approvals
  • Click the Submit for Approval either at the bottom of the page, or on the right-hand navigation menu.
  • Once all of the required fields have been validated, a message will display that all of the required information in the pre-poposal is now complete and can be routed for approval
  • Click the Submit for Approval either at the bottom of the page, or on the right-hand navigation menu.
  • You will return to your SeRA home page once the pre-proposal is routed.  The pre-proposal will no longer be listed among your Action Items
  • Monitor the PDRF from My Pipeline
  • To view the PDRF routing status, click on the blue PDRF ID# hyperlink, and scroll to the bottom of the Transaction Home page, to Task History



In addition to being able to upload relevant attachments directly within a SeRA Pre-Proposal, you can also send emails to SeRA with attachments that when properly tagged will upload seamlessly to the given project record.  

For more information on this functionality please visit the Sending Emails to SeRA webpage.

When Pre-Proposals are Invited for Full Proposal Submission

When the sponsor invites the submission of a full proposal, initiate a SeRA PDRF from within the previously submitted Pre-Proposal transaction. 

SeRA Completed Pre-Proposal Action Options

When Pre-Proposals are Declined

If the sponsor does not invite the submission of a full proposal, or the faculty/researcher decides not to submit a full proposal in response to the invitation, the Pre-Proposal should be flagged as declined from within the Proposal P1 record in the SeRA Project (SPO) record, and from within the investigator's SeRA Current and Pending Support report

Need further SeRA assistance? Have questions, feedback, or are experiencing other issues? Please submit a HelpSU ticket to the SeRA Support Team and a SeRA Support Analyst will contact you shortly.

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