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Sponsored Programs Administration (SPA)

The Sponsored Programs Administration (SPA) office is the central administrative support office under the Vice President for Research and Creative Activity unit. SPA is responsible for administering research-related policies, procedures, and programs and for coordination of research-related services.  The office encourages and supports university faculty and staff in their pursuit of external funding to conduct research or other scholarly activity, with an emphasis on administrative functions that advance a culture of compliance with applicable regulations.  SPA provides budget review and institutional signature for all external proposal submissions, manages electronic application submission processes, and negotiates awards received from external sources for sponsored program activities on behalf of the university.  The office also assists in non-financial post award administration matters.


Funding Opportunities

External Support: 
The pursuit of external support for research and scholarly activities is fundamental to the continued success of NDSU’s Research & Discovery Strategic Vision to increase national prominence of NDSU as a research university.  Such support is also important to advance science, disseminate knowledge and achieve national and international recognition as a premier public Research University, committed to solving complex grand challenges.  NDSU has a current designation by The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education® as a Doctoral Institution-Higher Research Activity. 

The Research Development office has a list of resources to assist faculty in identifying potential funding opportunities.  One such resource is COS Pivot, which is a web-based service that provides grant searches and searchable scholar profiles to NDSU employees and students seeking grant opportunities.  The Research Development office has more information on funding opportunities and can assist with COS Pivot set-up.  

Internal Support:
RCA Opportunities:
The VP for Research and Creative Activity has limited funds available to support research and scholarly enterprise at NDSU.  Programs of support include seed funding, equipment match and travel awards.  Additional information on these opportunities can be found on the RCA website

Other NDSU Opportunities:
Information concerning NDSU's strategic research priorities can be found at NDSU.  Additional internal NDSU funding programs can be found in the panel immediately below these priorities.


Institutional Information

Many sponsor funding application forms require standard information about NDSU, including frequently used numbers (DUNS, Congressional District, Cage Code, etc.), contact information and authorized organizational representative, fringe benefits, or the facilities and administrative cost rate (F&A).  This information can be found on SPA's Institutional Information page. 

Proposal Preparation Resources

NDSU Sponsored Programs Administration (SPA) encourages, facilitates, and supports the efforts of NDSU faculty and staff in pursuit of external funding for their research and scholarly activities.  SPA is tasked to ensure that research and other scholarly activities, particularly activities supported by external sources, observe the policies and procedures of the University, state, federal, and other sponsors.

NDSU policy requires that all sponsored project proposals be reviewed and approved by SPA.  Proposals are required to have SPA approval in the form of a signature (written or electronic) prior to submission to any sponsor.  The signature of the authorized University official indicates the University’s endorsement of and commitment to the project.  A minimum of three working days is necessary to allow for full administrative review prior to submission.  An NDSU internal Proposal Transmittal Form must be submitted along with a brief project description, budget and budget justification. 

Additional Proposal Preparation Resources are available to assist faculty and research staff.

Budget Development and Budget Justification

Essential elements to every proposal, the budget and justification are the financial reflection of how the proposed scope of work will be accomplished.  The budget contains the cost elements necessary to conduct the project and the justification explains why each of the requested items is necessary to accomplish the proposed research.  To assist faculty and researchers in the budget development process, NDSU templates are available: Budget Forms, Budget Justification

See the Budget Development and Budget Justification page for additional guidance.

Electronic Proposal Submission

A number of funding agencies require proposal submission through a sponsor designated electronic proposal system.  Faculty and staff are asked to check proposal guidelines closely to determine if electronic proposal submission is required and, if so, contact Sponsored Programs Administration staff as soon as possible to allow time for the necessary administrative preparations. Each proposal submission offers unique challenges which SPA staff can help resolve, saving you time and effort.  A list of sponsor systems and registration information are available here: Electronic Proposal and Submission.

Prior to Award

Sponsors may contact PI’s or SPA to request updated proposal information to continue with proposal review process or a sponsor may need updated information in order to issue an award.   PI’s work with SPA to develop a response to sponsor requests and SPA submits documentation to sponsor agency.

  • Just-in-Time
  • Advanced Spending
  • Revised Budget
  • Supporting Proposal Documentation

Additional guidance related to these requests is available here: Pre-Award Administration.

Post-Award Changes

During the performance of a project, it may be necessary to make changes to the project that was originally proposed to the sponsor.  Such changes may relate to the budget, personnel or scope of work.  Depending on the terms and conditions of an award, project changes may be able to be approved internally, but when necessary SPA will seek sponsor approval for project changes such as these:

  • Budgetary Changes: Requests to modify sponsor approved budget, SPA may need to seek sponsor approval.

  • No Cost Extensions: Requests to modify award end date

  • Institution Transfers and PI/Key Personnel Changes: Requests to transfer awards to new institution or internal department as well as any requests to add or remove key personnel from award.

  • Other Changes: Any other proposed change, provide an explanation for the request (e.g. change in scope).

Additional guidance related to these requests is available here: Post-Award Administration.


Policies & Procedures

The NDSU Policy Manual governs NDSU, including the NDSU Agricultural Experiment Station, the NDSU Extension Service, and the North Dakota Forest Service.  NDSU policies are established by 1) federal and state laws and regulations, 2) the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education, 3) the NDSU Faculty Senate, and 4) the Office of the President.  Also included are some operating procedures established by the respective areas to facilitate delivery of a service to the campus community.

Policies and procedures specifically related to funded research and creative activities can be found in Section 8 of the Policy Manual, under and Contract Accounting.  However, other pertinent policies can be found elsewhere in the Policy Manual, including Contract Review (Section 712), Employee Responsibility and Activities-Intellectual Property (Section 190), and External Activities and Conflict of Interest (Section 151.1).

Employment at NDSU indicates an agreement to abide by NDSU policies and procedures.  In addition, all NDSU employees are required to certify annually their compliance with NDSU policies.

Visit the NDSU Policy Manual website to see the policy manual in its entirety.

Highlights of policies and procedures most specific to sponsored funding and research and creative activities can be found at the SPA Policies website.  


Electronic Research Administration & Compliance (ERAC): COMING SOON!

NDSU is currently working with Novelution Corp. on a software solution for electronic research administration & compliance (ERAC).  An initial project team with members from Sponsored Program Administration (SPA), Business Development and Grant and Contract Accounting (GCA) are currently working on the first of six modules.  The first module is a pre-award/sponsored programs module, which will permit faculty and researchers to build their proposals in the system, and electronically route proposals for necessary approvals/signatures.  It is anticipated that the first module will go live in 2018. 

Additional modules will be implemented that will enable electronic management of various compliance functions, as well as electronic routing of compliance protocols.  These additional modules, in anticipated order of implementation, are:  Institutional Review Board (IRB), Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee (IACUC), Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC), Conflict of Interest (COI) and Effort Reporting. 

Full implementation of all six modules is anticipated by 2022.


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Phone: 701.231.8045
Physical/delivery address:  1735 NDSU Research Park Drive/Fargo, ND 58102
Mailing address:  P.O. Box 6050—Dept. 4000/Fargo, ND 58108-6050
Page manager: RCA

Last Updated: Wednesday, March 28, 2018 10:56:20 AM
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