Sponsored Projects Administration

The Sponsored Projects Administration (SPA) is a University-wide office authorized to submit research proposals and receive awards from external sources on behalf of the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota. SPA is also the fiduciary for the U on grant-related matters.

SPA creates a seamless process throughout the sponsored project lifecycle, with the goals of reducing administrative burden, increasing faculty and staff knowledge, and providing the highest level of support possible in research, creative, and programmatic external funding pursuits.

Our Role


  • Review proposals for completeness and compliance with agency and university requirements (nontechnical)
  • Approve and endorse proposals on behalf of the University
  • Submit proposals to agencies
  • Manage electronic systems for proposal preparation, institutional approval, and submission to agencies


  • Negotiate favorable terms on behalf of the principal investigator (PI) and the University (e.g., publication rights, intellectual property rights, rights in data, indemnification, payment terms, etc.)
  • Accept awards on behalf of the University
  • Establish and maintain project accounts in the financial system
  • Create and distribute internal “Notice of Grant Award” synopsizing award terms and conditions
  • Resolve post-award issues (rebudgeting requests, change of PI, disputes with subrecipients, questions about allowability of costs, etc.)
  • Serve as institutional point of contact for questions raised by agencies (e.g., adherence to terms and conditions, compliance with reporting requirements, etc.)


  • Assess potential subrecipients for risk
  • Negotiate and execute subawards after ensuring compliance with sponsor requirements
  • Create purchase orders in University financial system
  • Monitor subrecipients 
  • Approve subaward invoices for payment (after PI review and approval)

Unfunded Research Agreements (UFRA)

  • Assist faculty in obtaining research materials
  • Negotiate and endorse incoming Material Transfer Agreements (MTA), Confidential Disclosure Agreements (CDA), Data Use Agreements (DUA), and Research Collaboration Agreements (RCA)

Specialty Services

  • Facilitate international proposals and awards
  • Ensure export control requirements are managed
  • Manage University research policies and procedures necessary to promote a healthy research enterprise
  • Analyze federal and state emerging regulatory requirements and audit plans to plan for their impact at the University
  • Provide campus training related to sponsored projects regulations and requirements (SPECTRUM Training Program, Sponsored Projects Symposium, and other specialty courses)
  • Serve as Business Process Owners and Business Process Users for campus electronic systems efforts related to research systems (MN-GEMS, PRF, MTA, EFS)