Development Process


Our process from topic to contract follows the Annual Research Calendar and Project Development Flowchart and is discussed below:

  1. Research topics are submitted by anyone at any time through our Research Topic & Funding Requests. This page is open 24/7/365. All submissions are collected at the Submission Deadline noted in the Topics row of the Annual Research Calendar.
  2. Open Feedback is allowed by anyone during the dates specified. While the Research Topic Open Feedback page is open 24/7/365, the dropdown of available topics is only populated in the days between Submission Deadline and Open Feedback after we have reviewed all submissions internally. Identifying information is not shown in order to remove as many biases as possible.
  3. Office Prioritization is submitted by Iowa DOT staff and helps us determine which topics have appropriate levels of interest. This is also when we determine our project champions. This information is collected through a page similar to Open Feedback but is not made available to the public.
  4. Program Identification is internally identifying which topics move forward into Project Development using the information collected in the Open Feedback and Office Prioritization activities.
  5. Topics making it to the Development timeline follow the Project Development Flowchart. The Project Development Group expands the originally submitted idea into information that is ultimately posted as a Request for Proposal (RFP). This process is internal to Iowa DOT, County and City staff depending on the topic. In some cases, it is determined that a sole source RFP is the proper action as justified by the Project Development Group.
  6. Requests for Proposal (RFPs) are posted to the Research Request for Proposal page according to the dates specified. On the day of the RFP posting, we send out an email to everyone who has subscribed to receive notification of our posting.
  7. Received proposals are reviewed by the Project Development Group. The selected proposer is notified and the requested funds are submitted for program approval.
  8. Program Approval processes differ based on the funding source. The dates shown on the Annual Research Calendar are for SPR. Dates for IHRB projects are determined at their monthly meetings.


We operate on a trimester cycle. Important dates are shown on our Annual Research Calendar.


Topics entering the Project Development stage follow a process to expand the submitted topic idea into a request for proposal and ultimately into a contract with an investigator. The process is shown on our Project Development Flowchart.