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IMPORTANT NOTE: This guide is a general reference and is not meant to be a substitute for our University policies & regulations. Be sure to consult the University’s policies and/or contact us.


About the Guide

This Sponsored Projects Administration (SPA) Guide is designed to help Research Administrators and other staff easily navigate through available online resources.

It also contains comprehensive details related to each phase of the research administration process, as well as helpful resources such as Quick Reference Guides, checklists, and system user manuals.

How to Use This Guide

The SPA guide is “mapped” to help you quickly find the information you need related to each phase of the research administration process.

Each section contains several types of information:

  • Links to online content in the SPARCS and C&G web sites
  • Links to Quick Reference Guides, FAQ’s, User Manuals for systems such as RADAR and PINS, and other helpful references
  • Other general and detailed information on the topic to supplement the online links
  • Thumbnail images, charts, and illustrations — click to open full-size

Some topics also contain links to optional video and outside links that may be of interest. If you are new to Research Administration at NC State, you may also want to access an online Frequently Used Acronyms page and print or bookmark it for future reference.

Tips for Success

Don’t get lost!

As you travel through the guide, you’ll be clicking links that will take you to various web pages. Links that are external to C&G will open in a new tab, otherwise they will open on the same page.

Take a look at the main menu on the top of the page and remember that you can get back to the SPA Guide at any time by making sure you get back to the Contracts and Grants site (often by just clicking the header on the main menu) and then select the Sponsored Projects Administration (SPA) menu item to get back to the guide.

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Taking Notes and Saving Information

There are several tools to help you organize and save helpful references in this guide. You may want to:

  • Open and save a SPA “Travel Journal” (Word) document to record notes or action steps as you go through the guide.
  • Bookmark or save web pages as Favorites to a SPA folder on your browser.
  • Print pages from the web site, but remember to check the current site for the latest information rather than relying on printed copies that may be out of date.

Ask an Expert or Make Comments on Guide

Contact Sponsored Projects staff for pre-award related questions or Contracts and Grants staff for post-award questions that are not covered in the guide or related web site links. Plus let us know your thoughts or ideas for improving the guide. Thank you!

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Printing Information from the Guide

If you want to print the entire guide, a section, or a chart or illustration, please review the following cautions and instructions.


We recommend that you consult the online version rather than a print version whenever possible to make sure that you are referring to the most up-to-date information available on these important topics. Each section contains a “Last Update” entry at the end of the section, so be sure to go online and double-check that date whenever you are referring to a print copy to make sure you have the latest information.

How to Print the Entire Guide

You cannot print the entire guide with one print command. To encourage usage of the online version for referencing the most up-to-date content, we are not providing a print version for the entire guide. A workable method for printing the entire guide, however, is the section printing method explained below.

How to Print a Section of the Guide

You may print any section of the guide the same way you currently print online pages from your computer. On most browsers, you have the option to select “File” on the tool bar and then select “Print” or right-click on the page and select “Print” to start the print process.

How to Print a Chart, Image, or Illustration

You may want to print some of the charts or other images to use as references. Use the same method that you normally use to print images from web pages.

If you are not familiar with how to do this, review the instructions below for the common browsers or check your browser’s Help file on printing images if none of these methods work for you.

  • Right Click (for options) on Image
  • Choose “Print” & follow instructions
  • You may right click on thumbnail for larger version of Image.

Converting to a PDF Print File

You may also want to use this online tool to print certain sections or remove some images. It’s a flexible tool for customizing online sites for printing. View the short video on the home page to see how it works.

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Explore the SPARCS & C&G Sites


As you click through the topics in the guide, you’ll be exploring sites created and maintained by both offices.

Generally, the pre-award and post-award areas of the process and the compliance regulations are monitored by each office as illustrated below.

SPA Pre Post Flow 2013

The compliance issues listed above are typical examples but the list is not all-inclusive.

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Who Does What & Who to Contact

Contacts within C&G and SPARCS

Each site maintains up-to-date Contracts and Grants (C&G) and Sponsored Programs and Regulatory Compliance (SPARCS) contact lists for any questions you may have, but you may also want to review and save the Who to Contact (PDF) document for some helpful tips on these and other offices to contact for various issues.

SPA CnG Who to Contact Chart

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Searching the SPA Guide

As you return to the SPA Guide as a resource, you can use the Main Menu or the Search function to get to what you need quickly.

Menu Access

As you have seen, the SPA Guide in the Main Menu has a drop down, index page, and each page has its own quick reference topic menu. So, in many cases, you can probably get to what you need quickly by scanning the menu, selecting a topic to skim to what you need to review or by clicking on one of the topic links.

You can also click the SPA Guide Banner to return to the guides index page.

Search Method

You may also use the Search function from the main C&G menu.

NOTE: This Search function relates to the entire site, however, so you will need to skim the results to find any specific SPA guide results you may be seeking.


You can also view the Documents, Forms & Resources page for all downloadable/viewable content from the SPA Guide.

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