SPA Introduction


SPA luggage tag 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 – Overview

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 CNG 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

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

SPA Guide Home Page AccessDon’t get lost!

As you travel through the guide, you’ll be clicking links that will take you to various web pages. Most often, the links open in a new window or tab, so just click back on the SPA window/tab to continue.

In other situations, the link may take you directly to another site, so just click the back button to return. If you decide to explore further, though, you may be more than one click away from returning to the SPA Guide.

Take a look at the main menu illustrated on the right 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.


Taking Notes and Saving Information

SPA Journal

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

  • Click the Journal illustration on the left 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.


contacts link Ask an Expert or Make Comments on Guide

You will find a contact link (as illustrated on the right) at the end of each section of the guide containing e-mail links for content or site navigation comments.


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.

SPA Guide pages print without the web page menu or header being visible as illustrated on the right. You may find that the first printed page only contains the section header, but the rest of the pages will print fully.

Section Print View


Adjusting the Print Size:

If the page print is too small or if the text is cut off on the right margin of page, you can adjust the percentage up or down to fit on the page using the “Print Preview” option as illustrated below.

Page Print Preview


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 illustrated below for the Internet Explorer and Firefox browsers or check your browser’s Help file on printing images if neither of these methods work for you.

Firefox Print Images

IE Print Images


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.


Exploring the SPARCS and CNG 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.

Pre and Post Award Flow Chart

SPARCS Link CNG link




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




Each site maintains up-to-date Contracts and Grants (CNG) 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 document linked below for some helpful tips on these and other offices to contact for various issues.




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 Main Menu has a bullet list of topics in each section as illustrated below. So, in many cases, you can probably get to what you need quickly by scanning the menu, selecting a Topics list to skim to what you need to review or by clicking on one of the topic links.

menu topics


Return to SPA Guide Table of Contents

SPA luggage tag
You’ll find a SPA path link like this one at the top of each section. Click one of the “Top” dividers to go directly to the top of the screen and then click on the “Sponsored Projects Guide” link to go back to the Table of Contents.


Search Method

You may also use the Search function from the main C&G banner as illustrated below with an example search entry for “RFP.”

search field

Note that 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 (as illustrated below).

search results




  • Send an e-mail to the webmaster for this site if you discover broken links or want to make suggestions for improvement of this guide.


Last Update: August 2, 2013