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SPA Newsletter - Fall 2022


Greetings from SPA/OSP/CGA!

It's hard to believe that the holiday season is already upon us! I want to take a moment to thank you for your efforts on behalf of MSU. I am grateful for your hard work and tireless dedication to supporting MSU's research mission. I hope you can take some time during the holidays to relax and connect with the people and things that bring you joy.

This has been a particularly busy semester for many in MSU's research administration community, as we worked to navigate a variety of changes impacting our work. Many of the articles in this newsletter are related to these changes. Some articles deal with organizational changes, such as the HFH + MSU HC Collaboration and Finance's Financial Management Transformation. You will also find information on CGA's revised subaward process and changes to expense workflows. In addition, we have developed some tools and resources to assist the campus community, including the PI Award Portal and the new Data Management & Sharing webpages.

This issue also announces the recipients of the Fall 2022 Unit Research Administrator Spotlight Award. We are proud to sponsor this award and we welcome the opportunity to recognize the exceptional service of the recipients. As we congratulate the winners, I also extend my appreciation to all research administrators at MSU. Our collective efforts support the university's research mission, and I truly value your contributions. Thank you!

I hope you enjoy this edition of our newsletter. For suggestions for future content or feedback on this issue, please contact Erin Schlicher, or me, I extend my thanks to the authors and contributors who made this newsletter possible. Happy Holidays!

Twila Fisher Reighley
Associate Vice President for Research, Sponsored Programs



Henry Ford Health + Michigan State University Health Sciences (HFH + MSU HS) Collaboration

by Katie Cook and Laura Johnston, OSP

HFS MSU logo image

MSU is moving forward with developing a joint health research program with Henry Ford Health. The collaboration is formally named Henry Ford Health + Michigan State University Health Sciences (HFH+MSU HS), and has been assigned a new Unique Entity Identifier.

How does this impact you?

  • Proposal submissions and award acceptance under HFH+MSU HS will occur in phases. The first phase began on November 1st. This phase includes grant and cooperative agreement applications (excluding contract proposals) submitted directly to NIH where the lead PI is from Henry Ford Health or MSU and has a base appointment in CHM, COM, or Nursing. NIH proposal submissions where the lead PI's base appointment is outside of CHM/COM/Nursing will continue to be submitted through Michigan State University (even if there is a Co-I on the proposal from CHM/COM/Nursing/HFH).
  • The first potential project start date for HFH+MSU HS awards is July 1, 2023.
  • The process for submitting proposals through HFH+MSU HS is very similar to the process for submitting through MSU. Kuali Research (KR) has been updated to allow HFH+MSU HS to be selected as the Applicant, and two new questions have been added to help with reporting. See Issue 73 of the System Implementation Update for additional information on these changes in KR.
  • A new Institutional Profile has been created in eRA Commons (NIH's proposal and award system) for HFH+MSU HS. PIs submitting proposals through HFH+MSU HS must be affiliated with the new Profile prior to proposal submission. New proposals submitted and awards received under HFH+MSU HS will appear under the new organization. For instructions on how to change the affiliated institution in eRA Commons, see: Changing the Displayed Affiliated Institution.



PI Award Portal is Live!

by Evonne pedawi, CGA

To provide Principal Investigators (PIs) with a high-level view of their sponsored programs, Contract and Grant Administration developed a PI Award Portal. This tool displays a dashboard of all funded and open awards (RC and RG accounts) specific to a PI, with the ability to drill into additional information of each award.

PI Award Portal can be accessed by logging into CGA's website (, going to “Portal” under Frequently Used Tools and then clicking on “PI Award Portal”.

screenshot of PI Award portal access

Your award dashboard will be displayed in the portal and depending on your role, you may also have additional access to a department or college view of the sponsored programs, including spending by grantor type and a list of all at-risk projects (i.e. hardship status, overdraft, etc.) for multiple PIs.

Please access PI Portal to view the information available to you and contact with feedback or questions.


image of trees in the fall with person and bike
Photo courtesy of University Communications

CGA Subaward Reminders

by Kristy Smith, CGA

CGA's newly created Subaward Team within the Audit and Compliance Group would like to provide the following reminders to campus:

  • Utilize CGA's Account Explorer (AE) to reference the details of your subaward prior to submitting invoices for payment in KFS or requesting modifications to your subaward agreements. AE provides a summary of subaward information such as:
    • Current end date.
    • Subaward amount and unpaid balance remaining under the appropriate subaward object codes (6593, Subcontract Payments <= $25,000; and 6594, Subcontract Payments > $25,000).
    • Subrecipient's approved F&A rate.
    • Previous payment details, including any outstanding advance balance.
  • Remember to review the "Notice of Modification" email notifications you receive from CGA's Awards Group, as they include details regarding your subawards and how to request modifications. Modifications to your subawards can also be requested at any time using the Subaward Modification Request form and instructions available at
  • Per Uniform Guidance requirements, CGA conducts an annual risk assessment and debarment verification on each active subrecipient as part of our subrecipient monitoring process. If your subrecipient has been assessed and supporting documentation (receipts) are required to be submitted with each invoice, please ensure the documentation has been reviewed and deemed acceptable by the MSU PI, is legible, includes translation and currency exchange information if applicable, and is organized in a manner that enables an efficient CGA review prior to submitting in KFS.
  • Principal Investigators are responsible for the oversight of all subrecipient activities. This should entail regular communication with the subrecipient regarding project-related objectives as well as a review of their invoices. PI certification of each invoice must be included in one of the three ways outlined in CGA's Subaward Policy when submitting in KFS for payment
  • Subrecipient's final invoices are typically due within 30-60 days after the end date of your project. Please work directly with your subrecipient to ensure final invoices are received and processed in a timely manner according to the terms of the subaward agreement. Once a final invoice is processed, deobligation of remaining funds can be processed in AE.
  • Questions can be directed to


image of dorm courtyard in the winter
Photo courtesy of University Communications

Data Management and Sharing Resources for MSU

by Erin Schlicher, SPA

NIH's new Policy for Data Management and Sharing goes into effect on January 25, 2023. To assist faculty and research administrators in navigating the requirements of this policy, MSU's Sponsored Programs Administration, in coordination with a cross-campus workgroup, has developed two new webpages:

Data Management Plans – Resources for MSU Webpage

  • The DMS—Resources for MSU webpage includes general resources related to data management and project resources, which are organized according to the stage of the research award lifecycle: Getting Started / Writing a Proposal, Working on a Project, and Finishing a Project / Sharing Data. News items and information on upcoming events are listed further down the page.

Data Management Plans – Sponsor Requirements Webpage

  • The DMS Sponsor Requirements webpage provides specific information on requirements by agency for NIH and NSF. The webpage includes guidance on what steps need to be taken at the Proposal and Award stages, along with specific instructions on what to include in the Data Management and Sharing Plan and where to include it in the proposal. Links to agency notices, tools, and resources are also provided.

If you have questions about Data Management and Sharing requirements, please contact your OSP Proposal Team. Feedback on the webpages can be sent to Erin Schlicher at


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ERA Videos and Resources

by Amy Bane, SPA

Did you really want to attend an ERA training session, but something came up? We can help! All ERA courses that have been recorded can be watched for course credit. You can find the complete, up to date listing of available recordings on the ERA Training website. To receive ERA credit, simply fill out the ERA feedback form after watching the video. Please remember to check the ERA Training website for all up to date training information. Please let Amy Bane know if you have any questions:


image of colorful fall trees with leaves on rocks
Photo courtesy of University Communications

Expense Workflow Changes

by Tyler Neal, CGA

As part of the rebranding of the Audit and Compliance Group (see “Finance's Financial Management Transformation” article for more details), the workflow for all expenses was evaluated to ensure that CGA is reviewing financial transactions on RC accounts in the most efficient and effective manner. We believe that the following two major changes to these workflows will have a positive impact from both an internal CGA perspective and externally for campus.

The first change made was to the workflow surrounding salary cost redistributions submitted in SAP. As a reminder, the most common SAP transaction that routes to CGA is the retroactive transfer of salary onto an RC account, but this workflow also includes other transactions, such as faculty overload and backdated summer school, graduate, or faculty appointments and amendments. CGA reviews these transactions when they are moving expenses onto an RC account and the related pay is greater than 60 days in the past. The Audit and Compliance Group was originally responsible for the review, but as of September 1, 2022, the Awards Group is responsible for the review.

One of the most common, but also most complex issues related to cost redistributions is how the salaried employee's Effort Report is affected by the change. Frequently, the most recent Effort Report is impacted, which may cause the redistribution to be disapproved, as it isn't supported by the effort documentation, or in rare situations, the Effort Report may need to be revised. The process for this is managed by the Effort Report team in the Awards Group ( and more details on this process can be found here – Effort Reporting Overview and FAQs. Moving the review of cost redistributions to the team that also handles Effort Reports will reduce instances where administrators may be referred back and forth between CGA groups. For the more complex salary transfers, this will greatly reduce CGA's review time and corrections to Effort Reports can be made in a timelier manner. This change will provide better service to campus and will reduce duplication of effort related to pay on sponsored program accounts.

The second change involves the workflow for international travel in Concur. The approval workflow for these expenses previously required CGA approval (specifically by the Audit and Compliance Group) for any international travel transactions that will be placed on an RC account. However, this workflow no longer requires CGA approval.

CGA's review often included duplication of effort, as compliance with many of the same travel policies is also reviewed by MSU's Accounting Department. Therefore, the additional approval step is often unnecessary and may delay reimbursement to MSU employees.

Does this mean CGA will no longer look at any international trips on sponsored projects? Of course not! We will, however, be looking at these from a post-audit perspective instead of pre-auditing them. This will allow us to focus on trips that have higher audit risk, such as those that are federally funded or contain non-travel expenses, or travel on awards with additional restrictions, such as required prior sponsor approval. This should address risk areas more efficiently within CGA, while reducing the turnaround time for employee reimbursement. This audit will typically occur the month after the trip has been finalized in Concur and posted to the related account's operating statement. Campus will not receive any notifications if your trip is selected to be post-audited unless CGA requires additional information. If it is determined that a travel expense is unallowable or is inadequately supported on the RC account, it will need to be moved to a departmental account at the conclusion of the post-audit process. It is, of course, always recommended that you email the Audit and Compliance Group ( before traveling to confirm a trip's allowability or to ask any other questions you may have regarding this post-audit travel process.


 Spring 2022 Research Admin Spotlight Award header image

by Twila Reighley, Assoc. VPR; Erin Schlicher, SPA

The offices of Sponsored Programs Administration (SPA), Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP), and Contract and Grant Administration (CGA) are honored to recognize excellence and exemplary service through the Research Administrator (RA) Spotlight Award. We are happy to announce that Colette Grace Zulu and Coreena Spitzley were selected as the Fall 2022 awardees. Congratulations Colette and Coreena, and thank you for playing an integral role in advancing MSU's research mission! We appreciate your dedication and hard work.

photo of Colette Grace Zulu

Colette Grace Zulu
Research Administrator II Dean's Office of Research and Graduate Studies College of Veterinary Medicine


Colette has been with MSU for eight years. She provides pre-award support to researchers in the College of Veterinary Medicine and serves as a liaison between the College's researchers, collaborators, OSP, and funding agencies to ensure timely, compliant, and complete proposal submissions. In addition, Colette assists with the administration of CVM's internal endowed research grant program. She actively serves on the Sponsored Program Research Opportunities and University Training (SPROUT) and Research Administration System Implementation (RASIC) committees.

What do you enjoy most about your job here?

“I enjoy working with talented researchers, learning about, and supporting their specific research. Also, I enjoy relieving my PIs of the administrative pressures of proposal submissions so that they can concentrate on their scientific ideas. In addition, I love that I can wear “other” hats in doing activities that go beyond the RA's daily duties. For example, when a grant application is successful and an award is announced for a PI, I put on the role of their biggest and loudest cheerleader and feel gratified that I have contributed my little bit to making a difference through the potential outcomes of the amazing research that our researchers are doing in CVM.”

What advice do you have for new research administrators?

“I would encourage them to continually educate themselves with research funding guidelines by doing lots of reading; networking with other Research Administrators on campus & beyond, and asking questions; and by joining professional groups such as NCURA. This profession is always revolving and as such, we must keep up with continuous education if we are to provide the best service to our researchers.”

photo of Coreena Spitzley

Coreena Spitzley
Department Administrator Microbiology & Molecular Genetics


Coreena has been with the University for 43 years. She leads business operations of the Department of Microbiology & Molecular Genetics (MMG), a department shared by four colleges (CHM, CNS, COM, CVM). She works closely with research faculty to oversee their individual lab spending and ensures that the department as a whole maintains a stable financial position and can meet its priorities. Beyond the MMG administrative staff, Coreena also oversees staff in the BPS building operations center and shipping/receiving office.

What do you enjoy most about your job here?

“What I love most about my job is working in a team environment with a wonderful group of faculty, staff, and students who all want to make a positive impact in Microbiology. I enjoy the challenges that come with the joint administration of a research department. You need to be creative, able to problem solve, and manage complex collaborations. It can be sort of like a puzzle and you need to be sure all the pieces fit together. I also really enjoy learning about the research that goes on in our department and across campus. We have some amazing researchers doing great things who are passionate about their research and being able to be a part of that is very gratifying.”

What advice do you have for new research administrators?

“Create a good working relationship with your researchers by being approachable. Boost your soft skills. Time management, organization, communication, problem-solving, critical thinking, and decision-making are skills that you will need to use daily to be a successful research administrator. Be willing to learn and adapt to the variations and changes that occur in research administration. Participate in training, education, and resource opportunities offered. Find a mentor and reach out to other research administrators that you can collaborate and network with.”


Finance's Financial Management Transformation

by Lauren Scott-Briningstool, Senior Communications Manager, Offices of the EVP for Administration & SVP, CFO and Treasurer

image of colorful tree in front of hannah admin building in fall
Photo courtesy of University Communications

As an institution, we're continuing to make great progress toward developing a long-term financial model that is comprehensive and sustainable. The 2030 University Strategic Plan articulates a shared vision for the future of our university and expectations for central financial services to foster the long-term sustainability of MSU and its high-quality education, research and outreach and engagement programs.

Led by Lisa Frace, Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer, MSU has embarked on a financial management transformation that complements the entire strategic plan and prioritizes the long-term financial health of this institution. The transformation includes the budget model redesign and other key components which enables MSU – and finance teams – to remain excellent stewards of institutional resources. Naturally, this transformation will necessitate the re-envisioning of current processes, policies, systems, and structures to ensure greater efficiency and effectiveness.

Since the finance department became a single organization (that integrates the budget, finance, accounting, and treasury functions), Lisa has intentionally made decisions that prioritize university-wide efficiency and effectiveness. For example, earlier this year, Lisa announced title changes for the finance leadership team to reflect the stronger alignment of each leader's responsibilities and breadth of work. Within Lisa's portfolio, the senior leadership team is deliberately working towards better integration with campus partners and identifying opportunities that enable greater efficiency in our current ways of working. Additionally, in support of the strategic plan, the department is working towards a best-in-class workplace culture & environment in which excellence and opportunity thrive so that we can do our best work, individually and collaboratively. Prioritizing engagement and continuous professional development for all finance department employees is a key component in establishing this culture.

Like any other organization, it is important that we continuously evaluate our progress and look for ways to modernize our processes and systems in support of the University's mission. In support of this vision, Contract and Grant Administration (CGA) is evaluating its functional teams to identify areas of potential efficiencies, while maintaining the university's financial and compliance integrity and continuing to help manage audit risk in sponsored program awards. As a result, CGA's Transactions Group will now be named the Audit and Compliance Group to better represent the function of that team. In addition, some modifications to the Audit and Compliance Group's workload have been implemented to reduce duplication of effort and increase efficiencies.


green sparty helmet logo

Client Feedback Surveysby Mike Wolf, SPA

At SPA/OSP/CGA, we strive to provide excellent customer service in all stages of research administration, from proposal development to the final closeout of an award. We continue to use client feedback surveys to solicit feedback on our proposal, award, and post-award processes. Ratings response details are available on the SPA Metrics section of our website (two-factor authentication required).


ERA Training Updates

by Amy Bane, SPA

image of colorful fall trees with bikes in front of building
Photo courtesy of University Communications

Introducing New Short Course Electives!

In response to participant feedback, we are introducing four new “short course” electives in 2023. These courses will be less than two hours in length, making them easier to fit into your busy schedule. Brief descriptions of each of the new “short courses” are provided below. We hope you will join us at one or more of these courses in the coming year.

Subawards (4/25/23): Do you know how to write a proposal to include a subaward? Do you know what documentation and reporting is needed from your sub-awardee? Come learn these things and more from our OSP and CGA subaward groups. (2 credits)

Effort Reporting and Cost Share (5/2/23): Come learn about effort reporting and cost share from our experts. This course will cover how to include these items in your proposal, monitor them during an award, and what steps are needed for award closeout. We will discuss budgeting and certifying effort, required and voluntary cost share, and how to make changes during an award. (2 credits)

Audits (7/18/23): The audit process can be intimidating, and it is often very time consuming. Learn about what documentation you should keep during an award, the audit process, and lessons learned from recent audits. (2 credits)

Export Control (9/26/23): Do your researchers send controlled items, materials, software, or data outside of the U.S.? Do they work or collaborate with citizens of other countries? Does the research from your department qualify for the fundamental research exemption? The staff from Export Control and Trade Sanctions will share up-to-date information from their office. (2 credits)

Updated ERA Certification Requirements:

ERA certification and recertification requirements have been updated to focus on the required number of training hours, rather than the required number of courses. This change was made to accommodate our new short courses, and to give participants greater flexibility to choose the training path that works best for them.

Initial Certification:

Completion of the four Core courses and 12 elective credits are required for initial ERA certification. Participants have two years from the date they complete their first course to complete these requirements. Possible initial certification pathways include:

  • Complete the 4 Core courses and 3 full-length electives
  • Complete the 4 Core courses, 2 full-length electives, and 2 short-course electives
  • Complete the 4 Core courses, 1 full-length elective, and 4 short-course electives


Your ERA certification can be renewed annually by completing 8 hours of ERA coursework or equivalent research-related training. Possible recertification pathways include:

  • Complete 2 full-length electives
  • Complete 1 full-length elective and 2 short-course electives
  • Complete 4 short-course electives
  • Attend SPROUT-approved conferences or training programs (see the ERA webpage for more information) and send proof of attendance to Amy Bane ( Each hour of training completed will count as one ERA credit toward your recertification


Training, Education, & Resources

by Amy Bane, SPA

Essentials of Research Administration (ERA) Series

SPA/OSP/CGA, in collaboration with SPROUT and an extensive network of MSU staff involved in pre-award, post-award and compliance aspects of research administration, provide a certified training series for research administrators and other support staff with responsibilities for research proposals, grants, contracts, and pre- and post-award administration at MSU.

2022 Schedule: Only one live Zoom session remains in 2022, along with four eLearning courses in D2L. Please register in the Ability LMS on To register for eLearning, please email Amy Bane ( to be added to the course in D2L.

Hot Topics December 6
International research I eLearning in D2L
International Research II eLearning in D2L
Contracts and Other Agreements eLearning in D2L
Animal Care and Use Requirements eLearning in D2L


2023 Schedule: 4 Cores and 16 Electives, along with eLearning options, will be available in 2023 and are open to anyone with a valid MSU NetID. New for 2023: we are now offering short courses to better fit your busy schedule! Each session name below is hyperlinked directly to the corresponding registration page in Ability.  All courses will take place virtually over Zoom unless otherwise indicated.

Core 1:  Principles of Pre-Award Research Administration1 January 17 & January 241
Core 2: Principles of Pre-Award Research Administration, Part 2 January 31
Core 3: Principles of Post-Award Research Administration February 21
Core 4: Compliance February 28
NEW: Subawards (short course)** April 25
NEW: Effort Reporting and Cost Share (short course) ** May 2
University Procurement and Logistics for Research Administrators May 16
Intellectual Property May 23
Beginner’s Hands-On Budgeting in KR June 6
NEW: Audits (short course)** July 18
Post Award Receivable Process & Financial Transactions August 15
Proposal Development in KR August 22
Reporting & Data Collection September 12
NEW: Export Control (short course) ** September 26
Departmental Post-Award Account Management October 10
Fee-for-Service & Service Centers October 24
Beginner’s Hands-On Budgeting in KR (in-person) November 7
NIH & NSF Agency Specifics November 21
Proposal Development in KR (in-person) November 28
Hot Topics December 5

1 Registration for Core 1 will automatically enroll you in both sessions. You must attend both sessions to receive full credit for this course.

** New short courses - registration coming soon!  

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