Zachariah Lab

Sponsored Programs

About SPA

Sponsored Programs Administration (SPA) supports and advises campus researchers and their staff with a variety of extramural endeavors and funding transactions. Dedicated staff in SPA serve as UCR's institutional officials responsible for the review and submission of proposals to extramural sponsors for research, training, instructional and other activities. SPA is also responsible for award negotiation and acceptance on behalf of The Regents for projects funded by federal and state agencies, foundations, corporations, and other public and private sources.

Other institutional responsibilities include the issuance and monitoring of outgoing subawards for collaborative research; coordinating pre-award and non-accounting post-award actions requiring either institutional or sponsor prior approval; monitoring institutional compliance with government regulations and award requirements; negotiating and executing various unfunded agreements (e.g., confidential disclosure agreements); and serving as the point of contact for a variety of customer groups, including sponsors, other UCR research units, faculty, and department staff throughout the proposal and award process. It is the philosophy of SPA that providing high quality customer service is essential to ensuring positive and long lasting work relationships, both on and off the UC Riverside campus.

Kuali Research

The eCAF proposal submission process has been replaced with Kuali Research. Please visit UCR's Kuali Research webpage for further information.

New PAMIS Portal

Please visit the Proposal and Award Management Information Systems (PAMIS) portal located in R'Space under the new PAMIS Tab.

Information for Principal Investigators

NCURA YouTube Tuesdays

NCURA “YouTube Tuesdays” are videos produced by the National Council of University Research Administrators (NCURA).  These short videos (typically 2 – 5 minutes in length), are presented by various research administrators from around the country, and provide educational information on various pre and post award administration topics. Please note that these videos do not specifically represent the University of California’s or UC Riverside's policies or procedures.

SPA Frequently Asked Questions

SPA Organization & Customer Service FAQs

  • How is Sponsored Programs Administration (SPA) organized?

    SPA is comprised of Contract and Grant Officers (CGO).   Each CGO is assigned a portfolio of departments/units and closely coordinates with other areas in the Office of Research and Economic Development (RED), such as Research Compliance and Technology Commercialization, to help facilitate a comprehensive, customer-oriented approach to providing sponsored programs administration services.  Information about CGO departmental assignments can be found at Staff Listing, which is accessible from either the RED or SPA webpage.

  • Who do I contact in Sponsored Programs Administration to ask questions?

    You should first direct your questions to the Contract & Grant Officer (CGO) assigned to your department/unit. Please allow your CGO an appropriate period of time in which to return your phone call, e-mail or other communication before elevating the matter.  Information about CGO departmental assignments can be found at Staff Listing, which is accessible from either the RED or SPA webpage.

    If your CGO is not immediately available and you are facing an emergent situation, please send an email to


Proposal Submission, Review and Approval FAQs

  • Do preproposals need to be submitted to Sponsored Programs Administration (SPA) for institutional review?

    Preproposals should be submitted to SPA for institutional review if any of the following apply:

    • The preproposal must be signed by an authorized institutional official;
    • A detailed budget is required by the sponsor, or the preproposal contains a detailed budget that i) does not include facilities and administrative (F&A) costs or ii) F&A costs are calculated using an F&A rate other than those rates contained in UCR's F&A Cost Rate Agreement or for which there is no currently approved exception; and/or
    • Preproposals that must be submitted to the sponsor by SPA via an electronic proposal submission system (e.g., NSF,, etc.).
  • Do all proposals to external sponsors have to be submitted to Sponsored Programs Administration (SPA) for review and institutional approval?

    Yes. UC Presidential policy requires that employees who receive any part of their salary through the University, or whose activities use any University resources or facilities, must submit their proposals for extramural support to the appropriate local contracts and grants office for review and approval. At UCR, the local contract and grant office is SPA.

    This policy is applicable to all proposals submitted to extramural sponsors, including UC-wide funding programs (e.g., Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, UC MEXUS, Pacific Rim Research Program, UC Energy Institute, Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program, etc.) regardless of: i) whether the sponsor requires the signature of an authorized institutional official; or ii) the method used to submit proposals (electronic v. paper).

  • Some sponsors, such as marketing order boards, don’t require that a proposal be signed by an institutional official. Do these types of proposals need to be submitted to Sponsored Programs Administration for review?

    Yes, UC Presidential policy requires that all extramural proposals be reviewed and approved by the local contract and grant office prior to submitting the proposal to the sponsor, regardless of whether a sponsor requires an institutional signature.

  • When should proposals be submitted to Sponsored Programs Administration (SPA)?

    The proposal must be routed to Sponsored Programs Administration for institutional review at least two (2) full business days prior to the Sponsor's deadline. 

    Note: Proposals due after 5pm (e.g., 11:59pm) on a given day by the sponsor are deemed to have a sponsor deadline of 5pm by sponsored programs.

    If SPA receives a final proposal less than two (2) full business days of the Sponsor's deadline, the proposal will be returned and not submitted to the Sponsor (absent exceptional approval).

  • How close to a deadline may I submit a proposal to Sponsored Programs Administration (SPA) for review and institutional approval?

    SPA prioritizes proposals for review by the order in which they were received by the Contract and Grant Officer (CGO) assigned to your unit.  

    Please keep in mind that your CGO provides sponsored programs services to a large number of units on campus, all of which are also submitting proposals.  Thus, a proposal should be submitted in ample time, but no less than two (2) full business days prior to the Sponsor's deadline, to enable SPA to perform and complete the necessary institutional review and approval in time to meet the sponsor’s deadline.

  • How are proposals prioritized for institutional review?

    Once a proposal is received in Sponsored Programs and assigned to a Contract and Grant Officer (CGO), it is reviewed in the order received.  

    In those instances when the above prioritization methodology would jeopardize the timely submission of a proposal to meet a sponsor’s deadline, and where circumstances outside of the control of the PI and department/unit prevent the submission of a proposal in accordance with SPA’s established lead time, exceptions may be coordinated through the CGO assigned to the unit/department.  All exceptions will be reviewed and considered for approval in advance by the Vice Chancellor for Research (or designee) and will also be predicated whether there are competing deadlines on the CGO's desk at that time.

  • Will the Contract & Grant Officer assigned to my unit review my proposals?

    In most cases, the Contract & Grant Officer (CGO) assigned to your unit will review your proposals. However, from time-to-time, another CGO within Sponsored Programs may be assigned to a proposal. This will typically occur when: i) the CGO assigned to your unit is out of the office; ii) it is necessary to balance the proposal workload to ensure that proposals are submitted prior to sponsor deadlines; iii) complex proposals may require review by a CGO with the requisite knowledge and experience; or iv) the reassignment of a proposal will help facilitate CGO training.

  • How will I know if my proposal has been assigned to someone other than my Contract & Grant Officer?

    All proposals submitted into routing via the proposal development module in Kuali Research, and which are ultimately routed and received by SPA, will be manually assigned by SPA management to the appropriate RED Officer based on unit assignments.  Such assignments appear in the Proposal Workload Assignments section of the Kuali Research dashboard (under the Assigned Approver column) and will concurrently list the assigned RED Officer's name in a red-colored pill within the proposal.  

    If the RED Officer assignment changes at any time during the SPA proposal review and approval process, the re-assigned RED Officer's name will appear in the Proposal Workload Assignments section of the Kuali Research dashboard as well as appear in the red-colored pill within the proposal.

Award Negotiation, Acceptance and Set-Up FAQs

  • What is a PreAward?

    A Preaward is an institutional approval to incur expenditures related to a specific contract, grant or cooperative agreement in advance of receiving an award and where such a delay would adversely affect the project.  In most cases, a Preaward Spending Request is approved when an official award has not been received due to administrative delays.  In such cases, the sponsor provides Sponsored Programs Administration with a firm commitment to fund the project, including the anticipated project start date and anticipated amount to be awarded.

  • When should a PreAward be requested?

    A PreAward Spending Request should be submitted if an urgent need to expend funds in advance of receiving an award exists and where the delay in funding would be detrimental to the project.  

    For new projects, a PreAward might be used to procure equipment essential to conducting a project or to conduct field research to coincide with a particular season or natural event.  For renewal, continuation and supplement awards, a PreAward might be used to ensure to ensure the continuity of the project by providing authorization to incur project personnel costs, thus avoiding an interruption in the conduct of the project.

    For Federal grants under the Federal Demonstration Partnership terms and conditions, a PreAward Spending Request should be submitted in those circumstances when the next increment of funding on an existing award is administratively delayed.  Since campus policy prohibits overdrafts, PIs and departments/units should not incur and allocate project costs for the next budget period to the chart of accounts for the prior year’s budget without first securing a PreAward.

  • What is the process for obtaining a PreAward?

    PreAward Spending Request must be submitted via Kuali Build. 

    The PreAward Spending Request form has an automated workflow built into it which routes the form to the necessary individuals in the approval process.  Once the form receives final approval in RED, an automated email notification will be sent to the form submitter and associated PI indicating that the PreAward Spending Request has been approved, contingent upon: (i) receipt of all applicable financial disclosures by Research Compliance; and (ii) approval of all applicable regulatory matters.  The notification will also advise of next steps (i.e., that the RED Officer will begin processing a PreAward in the Kuali Research Award module and, once processed, a Campus Award Notice will be generated indicating when PreAward spending may commence).

  • How long does it take Sponsored Programs Administration (SPA) to review and approve a PreAward request?

    PreAward Spending Rrequests have a high priority within SPA and we strive to complete our review and approval as quickly as possible.  Under optimal circumstances, our review and approval is generally completed within two to three business days of receiving a request.  Unfortunately, circumstances are not always optimal.  Following are the three most common reasons why the review and approval of a PreAward Spending Request may take additional time:

    • The sponsor is not able or willing to provide a firm commitment.
    • The PI, Co-PI(s) and/or project staff have not completed and filed financial interest disclosure forms as required by state law and federal regulations or the review and approval of positive financial disclosures has not been completed.
    • Research protocols involving the use of humans, animals, rDNA, biohazards or human stem cells have not been approved.
  • Will the Contract & Grant Officer assigned to my unit handle my awards?

    In most cases, the RED Officer assigned to your unit will review, negotiate and set-up your awards. However, from time-to-time, the RED Officer may be re-assigned. The re-assignment of a RED Officer will typically occur when: i) the RED Officer assigned to your unit is out of the office for a prolonged period of time or has separated; ii) it is necessary to balance the award workload; iii) the complexity of an award necessitates review by a RED Officer with the requisite knowledge and experience; or iv) the reassignment of an award will help facilitate RED Officer training.

Post-award Administration FAQs

  • What are subawards?

    Subawards are legally binding agreements, issued by Sponsored Programs Administration, that transfer a substantive portion of the scope of work under a UCR award (e.g., contract, grant, or cooperative agreement) to another institution or entity (subrecipient/subcontractor).

  • How are subawards processed?

    When an award is processed by RED, the award notification email will contain a link to a Subaward/Subcontract Request Form (SRF).  If an outgoing subaward/subcontract is to be funded through the distributed award, the Principal Investigator and/or department administrator must complete and route an SRF for each subrecient/subcontractor.  This completed form provides information necessary for the Subaward Team to draft and negotiate the subaward/subcontract, and the Principal Investigator's signature on the SRF provides audit documentation and the approval for RED to initiate the subaward/subcontract process (e.g., subrecipient monitoring, risk assessment, subaward/subcontract negotiation and execution). 

    Once the information and approval is received in RED, a member of the SPA Subaward Team will draft the subaward/subcontract to include terms and conditions as required by the prime sponsor. The subrecipient/subcontractor may request clarification or negotiation of any terms, which are negotiated by RED. In turn, RED consults with the Principal Investigator regarding the negotiation of the scope of work and budget. Once a subaward /subcontract has been executed by both parties and subsequently set-up in the Kuali Subaward module, RED will notify the Principal Investigator, department administrator and Accounting Office via e-mail, which will contain a link to the complete subaward/subcontract document under the Attachments tab in Kuali.

  • How long does it take Sponsored Programs Administration (SPA) to issue a subaward?

    SPA recognizes the importance of subawards in the creation and continuance of research collaborations with other institutions.  Consequently, we place a high priority on the timely negotiation and execution of subawards.  However, given the vast number of factors that need to be considered in the drafting, negotiation, execution and monitoring of subawards, it is not possible to guarantee that subawards will be executed within a specific time frame.  Also, it is important to note that the negotiation of a subaward necessarily involves two parties.  While SPA strives to negotiate terms in a timely manner, it is not uncommon for us to be working with a subrecipient organization that is experiencing staffing shortages or other administrative challenges that may adversely impact the timeliness of the negotiation.

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