SPA Business Practices

SPA Business Practices‌ address communication, proposals, agreements, and awards.

Communication from SPA to Departments

All communication from SPA Team to the Department and/or PI occurs via email or phone call to the Department Administrators/PI. When phone calls result in action items for either SPA or the Department or create a need for documentation, the SPA Team member may follow up with an email regarding the discussion.

If SPA sends a communication to the department that requires a response, it is expected that the administrators respond within two (2) business days, and on the same day if marked “URGENT” by SPA in the subject line. SPA will not abuse the designation of an email as "URGENT."

For second requests, SPA sends an email to the Department Administrators, with a cc to the Senior Department Administrator, if applicable.

For third requests, SPA sends the email to the Department Administrators, with a cc to the Senior Department Administrator, if applicable, and Department Chair, Division Chief, or Center Director.

Escalation of the requests will be handled in a manner and timeframe appropriate to the urgency of the item.

SPA uses departmental email distribution lists for certain correspondence with the departments. To add or remove an email from your unit's distribution list, contact:

  • Information Services for School of Medicine (help@som.umaryland.edu)
  • Dean’s Offices for Schools of Dentistry, Nursing, Pharmacy, and part of Social Work
  • Colin Hunter in CITS for School of Law, part of School of Social Work, Central Administration users

Correspondence from Departments to SPA

Escalation of the requests will be handled in a manner and timeframe appropriate to the urgency of the item.

Correspondence to SPA will occur in the following order:

  • Send First request to the SPA Team email (for grants and proposals: SPA-Team-Red@umaryland.edu or SPA-Team-White@umaryland.edu; for contracts: SPA-Contracts@umaryland.edu) or to a specific team member, if action has been assigned to a SPA team member.
  • Send Second request to SPA Team email (see above) or to assigned team member – the second request should state specifically the request and time requested for SPA’s for response, if any.
  • Send Third request to the SPA Team email (see above) or assigned SPA team member and copy the SPA Assistant Director. Indicate in the subject line that it is the third request.
  • If a Fourth request is necessary, copy the Assistant Vice President along with the same group as in the third request. Update the subject line to indicate that it is the fourth request.

Team Email Boxes

Upon receiving questions in the SPA Team email box:

  1. Questions received will be reviewed that same day.
  2. SPA will respond to the Department within forty-eight (48) hours, excluding weekends and holidays. If the question is complex and requires additional research, the Team may respond to alert the Department of the complexity and that a response is being drafted.
  3. If a response to a question is needed the same day, the Department should indicate "URGENT" in the subject line. When marking the email as "URGENT", the Department should state the circumstance creating the urgency (e.g. threat of losing funding). If there is a specific time the answer or response is needed, that should also be highlighted. Abusing this procedure will require a discussion among the Senior Department Administrator, Center Director, Chair, and the Assistant Director, SPA.

Proposals

All proposals will be submitted to SPA office at least five (5) business days prior to the sponsor deadline for review and validation. Proposals that reach SPA in FINAL form at least five (5) business days prior to the sponsor deadline will be submitted by SPA at least three (3) business days prior to sponsor deadline to allow sufficient time for sponsor review/validation and (if necessary) submission of a changed/corrected proposal. "Final form" of a proposal means that the proposal has been completely routed to SPA in Kuali Research with a complete, final budget and other sponsor-required details and that all narrative documents have been uploaded in final format AND marked as "FINAL" in the Kuali Research Attachments section.

SPA will triage proposals via the Action Form to an individual SPA team member for review and submission. An automated email will notify the Department, PI, and SPA Individual upon assignment of the proposal. Review of the proposal in SPA will only occur upon receipt of notification from the PI or department administrator that proposal is at the SPA level for approval and all files are final for submission. Please note, SPA will no longer provide pre-reviews of proposals. SPA will answer questions about a proposal via email. Once the proposal has been reviewed, SPA will email the department and PI with any corrections needed. To the extent possible, proposals will be processed by SPA in the order in which they are received in FINAL form.

If a proposal is completely routed and approved in Kuali Research and the FINAL version is received in SPA at least 5 full business days prior to the sponsor deadline, SPA guarantees that any issues will be resolved and that an error-free proposal will be submitted to the sponsor prior to the sponsor deadline. If a proposal is completely routed and approved in Kuali Research and a FINAL version is received in SPA less than five (5) full business days prior to the sponsor deadline, every reasonable effort will be taken by SPA staff to resolve issues and submit the proposal prior to the sponsor deadline. However, SPA cannot guarantee that an error-free proposal will make it to the sponsor prior to the deadline.

SPA staff commits to diligent review of proposals to capture avoidable errors when a proposal arrives in time to allow for review.

SPA Agreements, Contracts & Incoming Subawards (Note: This does not cover CCT Agreements)

Routing

All proposed agreements, contracts and incoming subawards, including agreements that do not involve an exchange of funds between the parties (“unfunded agreements”), must be routed in Kuali Research (KR) or Kuali Build in accordance with applicable procedures.

SPA will only review an agreement, contract or incoming subaward for signature or negotiation when it has been entered in KR, routed for approvals, and is at the SPA level for approval or already approved. If a proposal was routed, SPA will match an incoming agreement with the proposal for review.  If a proposed agreement document is routed, the document must be complete and must apply to the current project period.

  • If SPA receives an agreement that has not been routed in KR, the team sends communication to the administrators, within two business days, and alerts the department that routing is required.
  • When the department creates the proposal in KR, the exact title identified within the agreement, if provided, must be the same title used in KR proposal development.
  • For existing awards, use the same title from the previously approved proposal or award (see Searches: General tips for searching in Kuali Research).

Review and assignment

When the proposed agreement has routed and is at the SPA level for approval, within 48 hours, the SPA Contracts Team will review the proposal for completeness, approve in KR, and assign the agreement to a SPA team member. The Department and PI are notified of the assignment.

When an incoming agreement arrives at SPA to be matched with a proposal, within 48 hours, the SPA Contracts Team will assign the agreement to a SPA team member.  The Department and PI are notified of the assignment.

The review, mark-up and/or initiation of all negotiations should occur within ten (10) business days.

Communications

During negotiations, emails are sent to the PI and the department administrator who routed the proposal. SPA may include other department personnel for negotiations on an ad-hoc basis. The subject line of the email from SPA will include some type of identification number, usually the KR proposal, institute proposal (IP), or award number.

In any communications to SPA, the department must provide the SPA team with adequate information (KR proposal, IP or award numbers) to identify the agreement in question.

Before requesting a status update:

  • Department administrators must review all emails they have received or been CCed in prior to requesting a status update.
  • Department administrators are encouraged to check for current status updates in KR under the "notes" section on the Institutional Proposal tab of the Institutional Proposal (See Agreement Status Updates).

Any status update request sent before the ten-business day turnaround may be answered after the ten-day period depending on the SPA Contracts Team member’s workload/schedule.

Special situations

Any agreement that the department sends to SPA requiring less than ten (10) business days for delivery of the partially executed document to the sponsor must include a full and clear justification by the department regarding the limited turnaround time. This must be reviewed and approved by the Assistant Vice President for SPA. Please note that the expected due date of the sponsor is not sufficient justification, unless the documents were received from the sponsor on the same day and the sponsor indicated that funds will be withdrawn if the documents are not returned to the sponsor as requested. Please include this justification with your request. 

Award Processing

Award processing begins when SPA receives the fully executed agreement and remains the same as prescribed by SPA and SPAC office procedures. (Please see Award Setup for additional information.) Processing of any award is contingent upon sponsor proposal deadlines and workload. Submission of the award documents to SPAC should occur within two (2) business days.