SPA Corner

This space is for SPA and research administrators to share their knowledge.  If you have an idea to share send it along to Catalina Diaz and Heather Fuller!

NIH All About Grants Podcasts

NIH All About Grants Podcasts

The Office of Extramural Research (OER) talks to NIH staff members about the ins and outs of NIH funding. These podcasts are designed for investigators, fellows, students, research administrators, and others just curious about the application and award process, the NIH provides insight on grant topics from those who live and breathe the information. Episodes are available as mp3s for download here, via iTunes, or via RSS feed.

Job Aids

Award Acceptance and Award Setup Checklist

Award Setup Checklist and Award Allocation Chart

The Award Setup Checklist and Allocation Chart is a checklist for GMs, ADFs, and PIs to use as a tool when a notice of award or agreement is receivedIt includes a list of all items that SPA needs to setup your award in GMAS. Helpful links are provided throughout the Checklist. 

Subject Matter Resources:  Your SRA

Proposal Checklist

SPA LIbrary

SPA Learning Library

Over the years SPA has offered a number of learning sessions on specific topics related to research administration. Topics were chosen based on requests from departments, areas of risk or a new policy or procedure.  The library includes topics such as the ones listed below.  Let us know if you're interested in a session on any of these topics or have another topic that you'd like to add!

Action Memos

GMAS Action Memos summarize pertinent details about awards in a standard format across the University.  An Action Memo provides the blueprint for recording and maintaining award data for all Harvard sponsored projects. During this we will examine the components of Action Memos. Audience: Action Memo Recipients and anyone with a financial role interested in learning more about Action Memos.

Budget Justification

The Budget Narrative is the justification of "how and/or "why a line item helps to meet the program deliverables. This session explains the best way to identify the important components of the budget narrative.

eCRT Refresher with focus on Faculty and Quarterly Employees

This session reviews the eCrt certification requirements for both Annual Effort & Quarterly Project Effort Certifications.  We will look into how salary journals could potentially cause the reopening of a previously certified statement and what to do to avoid it.  Real life examples will be shared to illustrate different scenarios and you can make your pick for the best practice to follow.  This is an interactive session and your participation is greatly encouraged.


In the current economic environment federal agencies, particularly NIH, are carefully scrutinizing unobligated balances.   During this session we will discuss the importance of monitoring the “burn rate” for a project, how to best report on large unobligated balances in NIH progress reports and how to submit prior approval carryover requests.

How to Build Modular Budgets with Emphasis on R&A and Exclusions

Modular budgets are easy, right? To answer this question, we will explore when and why to use modular budgets in proposals, following sponsor instructions.  We will define modular budgets, determine what documentation is needed, create the budget on paper and  review how to do a modular budget justification.

NHSR and Exemptions

Come learn the IRB’s secret algorithm for determining whether an activity constitutes “research” with “human subjects,” and when such human research activities are exempt from IRB approval.  Get the inside scoop on who can make such determinations, and how to obtain the necessary documentation.  Be prepared to apply your knowledge to case scenarios frequently submitted to the IRB.

Understanding the IRB

This presentation will introduce the Office of Human Research Administration.  Presenters will provide examples of what constitutes Human Subjects Research and when such activities are exempt from certain IRB requirements. In addition, the two modes of IRB approval will be discussed, namely Expedited and Full Board.  We will also review NIH’s new Genomic Data Sharing policy and how it impacts JIT and IRB submissions.  Available resources will be highlighted, and there will be plenty of time for questions!

Uniform Guidance and Implications for Foreign Subs

This session is intended for staff with a role in administering subcontracts to foreign institutions.  Issues which will be covered include: Value Added Taxes, Fixed Price Contracts, 10% De Minimis Rate, Advance Payments and Working Capital.  What are the implications for proposal preparation, content of subcontract agreements, subcontract payments, and subcontract financial reporting?