SPA Lifecycle

Magnifying glass hovering over a dollar sign

Find Funding Opportunities

The first step to turning a great research idea into a fully funded project is identifying potential sources of funding. Support may come from Federal agencies, corporations, foundations, state agencies, or consortiums. The OVCRI can assist campus scholars in identifying and developing a strategy to pursue opportunities that will further their research goals.

Diagram of a plan of attack

Develop Proposal

Once a funding opportunity is identified, the investigator and their support staff get to work building a proposal—defining the scope of work, preparing a budget, confirming collaborators, completing forms, obtaining approvals and anything else required by the sponsor or university. The most competitive proposals follow instructions provided by the sponsor to the letter. START EARLY and leave plenty of time for preparation, review, and submission prior to the deadline. 

Paper airplane representing a sent proposal

Submit Proposal

Before any proposal submission, SPA must first review and approve it. Proposal staff review proposals for budget accuracy and adherence to sponsor and University regulations and guidelines, also serving as a liaison to sponsor officials.

Two hands shaking as if sealing an agreement

Negotiate Award

SPA's Negotiation team is responsible for negotiations of various types of agreements for sponsored projects to ensure reasonable terms and conditions that comply with University policies, federal and state regulations and Sponsor requirements.

An award document with a paperclip in the corner

Set Up Award

The sponsor has accepted the proposal and the agreement has been successfully negotiated and executed, but before an investigator has access to funds and can begin spending the award, SPA Award Management must set up the grant and fund codes in the university financial system. In special cases when the success of a pending award is apparent, campus units, at their own risk, may begin spending in anticipation of the award.

Clockwise from top left: A computer screen, an atom, conversation bubbles, and a gear illustrating collaboration between SPA, PIs and Units

Manage Award

Over the life of a project, it is vital that investigators, unit research administrators, and SPA Post-Award staff collaborate to maintain compliance with all sponsor and University regulations, and adherence to the terms and conditions of the award. Prudent management of fiscal and regulatory responsibilities safeguards the reputation of the Illinois research enterprise and ensures that investigators across campus have the best opportunity to obtain research funding.

Illustration of a wallet with a dollar sign to represent sending an invoice to receive payment

Invoice Sponsor

When the time comes to request payment from a sponsor, SPA Award Management is responsible for preparing billing materials and assuring compliance with university and sponsor policies. The award terms and conditions will dictate when and how invoices are submitted and payment is received. Investigators and their departments also have an important part to play in ensuring timely payment. Follow the link below for more details on each group's role in the invoicing process. 

Illustration of a clock representing time expiring on an award

Closeout Award

Closeout requires balancing the budget, expenditures, billings, and payments. It may also include removing an overdraft or refunding unspent amounts to the sponsor. The award documents will indicate if a sponsor requires a final invoice or a final technical or financial report.