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SPA Newsletter - Fall 2021


Greetings from SPA/OSP/CGA!

I hope you are doing well and enjoying a more typical fall semester. Although many continue to work remotely, the return of in-person instruction and campus events has brought with it the energy and enthusiasm that normally mark the fall semester. Whether it be the beauty of the changing leaves, the excitement of sporting events, or the heightened sense of possibility that the start of the academic year brings, fall is a special time of year at MSU. Whether your office is on campus or remote, I hope you have a chance to reconnect with the things you enjoy about the season.

This issue of the SPA Newsletter provides information on new processes and requirements, including an update on the procedure for processing Non-Resident Professional Service Contracts (NRAPSCs) and an article with information on overdue NSF project reports. This issue also introduces some resources that we developed for the research community at MSU, including new webpages with guidance related to Current and Pending/Other Support Requirements, Responsible Conduct of Research Training Requirements, and Fellowships. I hope you find these updates and resources useful.

As usual, this issue also announces the Fall 2021 Unit Research Administrator Spotlight Award recipients. Our offices are proud to sponsor this award and we are grateful for the opportunity to recognize the incredible work being done in the units. I extend my sincere appreciation to the Fall 2021 Unit RA Spotlight awardees, along with all research administrators at MSU. Your contributions are a vital part of supporting MSU’s research mission.

I hope you enjoy the Fall 2021 issue of our newsletter. For suggestions for future content or feedback on this issue, please contact Erin Schlicher, or me, Author names have been included in each article for any topic-specific questions, and my appreciation is extended to the authors.

-Twila Fisher Reighley, Assistant Vice President for Research and Innovation

NSF Update Related to Overdue Project Reports

by Todd Quiring, CGA

The newest version of NSF’s Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 22-1) went into effect on October 4, 2021. Included is a new requirement for overdue project reports. Chapter VII.D.5, Grant Closeout states if the grantee does not submit all required reports within one year of the period of performance end date, NSF must report the grantee’s material failure to comply with the terms and conditions of the award with the OMB-designated integrity and performance system (currently FAPIIS). NSF may also pursue other enforcement actions including the following:

       (a) Wholly or partly suspend or terminate the Federal award.

       (b) Initiate suspension or debarment proceedings.

       (c) Withhold further Federal awards for the project or program.

In light of the new requirement, here is a brief refresher on NSF Project Reports:

Annual and Final Project Reports

  • Annual project reports are due 90 days prior to the end of the current budget period.

  • Final project reports are due within 120 days of the award end date.

  • Annual and final project reports must be approved by the NSF Program Officer within the timeframes mentioned above, so please submit early.

  • NSF sends reminder notices for all reports, and CGA will also follow up on any overdue reports.

  • Both active PIs and any/all Co-PIs may submit the reports.

Consequences of Overdue Reports (In addition to the new requirement mentioned above)

  • Prevents NSF approval of all actions (funded and administrative) for the subject award and any associated awards for both the PI and any co-PIs.
  • This includes incremental funding, supplemental funding, proposals for new awards, and no-cost extensions.
  • Real Life Example: MSU has had multiple requests for no-cost extensions denied because the PI or Co-PI has another award with an overdue report. Please submit your reports in a timely manner so they do not affect the work of other awards.

If you need help with the submission of NSF project reports, additional information can be found on the site at Help with Project Reports, or you can contact the CGA Cash Management Team with any questions at

NRAPSC Updates

by Mitch Meyle, CGA

Non-Resident Alien Professional Service Contracts (NRAPSCs) have seen a recent change in the way they are processed at MSU. To comply with MSU’s procurement policies, NRAPSCs over $25,000 should now be processed as requisitions/purchase orders.

However, because the university threshold for competitive bidding ($25,000; is higher than the federal threshold ($10,000), CGA prepared the following guidance to assist units with compliance on federal and state sponsored program (RC) accounts.

  • For federal/state sponsored awards
  1. NRAPSCs up to $10,000 – send the NRAPSC via email to CGA ( for review and signature if allowable. Please note, if the total anticipated amount of the NRAPSC is budgeted for, or expected to be, over $10k for the project period, note 2 below would apply.
  2. NRAPSCs of $10,001 or more - to be compliant with 2 CFR 200, a requisition should be processed.
  • Foundation/Other sponsored awards
  1. Up to $25,000 – send the NRAPSC via email to CGA ( for review and signature if allowable. Please note, if the total anticipated amount of the NRAPSC is budgeted for, or expected to be, over $25k for the project period, note 2 below would apply.
  2. $25,001 or more – to be compliant with Section 270.7 of MSU’s Manual of Business Procedures (Competitive Solicitation), a requisition should be processed.


As outlined above, in many cases you would now process a NRAPSC in KFS just as you have been for a domestic PSC. CGA will be on the approval route log when appropriate and will still review for allowability on the specific sponsored account(s). Once the NRAPSC is established on a purchase order (PO), CGA would not be on the route log for review of specific expenses. However, those expenses are still subject to a post-audit review, which CGA does on a regular basis. If there are any questions with a specific expense once the PO is established, please feel free to reach out to the Audit and Compliance Group ( and they can review the situation. Please review the expense processing FAQs on CGAs website for additional information (

Current and Pending/Other Support Webpage

by Amanda Blank, OSP

Non-domestic influence in federally funded research has become a hot topic over the last few years. In December of 2020, the Government Accountability Office issued a report urging the need for enhancing the policies related to influence. Included in the report were the five federal agencies that fund the most research at universities: the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), Department of Defense (DoD), Department of Energy (DOE) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

In response, federal sponsors have updated their reporting requirements for personnel working on research projects. To assist faculty in navigating through all the new and updated sponsor requirements, SPA/OSP/CGA has created a Current and Pending/Other Support webpage, featuring the five agencies in the GAO report. Information you’ll find on this webpage includes:

Courtney Peatross
  • What needs to be reported;
  • What does NOT need to be reported;
  • When and how to report; and
  • Links to sponsor resources such as FAQs, templates, and application guides

Do you have questions not addressed on this new webpage? If you have questions about completing Current and Pending or Other Support information at proposal or Just-in-Time stage, please contact your OSP Proposal Team; for questions on updating disclosures after award, please reach out to CGA Awards.



Audit Corner

by Evonne Pedawi, CGA

The purpose of this section is to keep campus updated on sponsored program audits at MSU, as well as national trends in audit activity. Audits are an important part of sponsored programs as they provide an opportunity for sponsors to verify that MSU is complying with the award terms and conditions. As the point of conduct for external sponsored program audits, CGA has been very busy in the last six months!

Due to the COVID pandemic, we experienced fewer external audits in 2020. We are currently seeing sponsors try to catch up on lost audit opportunities, scheduling many virtual site visits and expense monitoring audits since Spring of 2021. Although sponsors have conducted audits virtually in the past, those have typically been audits with a smaller scope, such as an invoice audit. In this post-pandemic environment, it is a new trend to conduct audits with a large scope virtually and both sponsors and MSU are learning in this process. We have found that it is important in these audits to schedule face to face virtual meetings often to address the auditor’s questions and develop relationships. In addition, these audits have tended to be more time consuming as they are a more detailed review with a larger audit sample given that they are drawn out over a larger period of time as opposed to a focused 3-5 day on-site visit. We anticipate the trend of virtual audits to become the standard process.

The federal government’s funding in response to the COVID crisis has been an audit target that we believe will continue. A large portion of MSU’s Single Audit will be dedicated to HEERF and CRF funding received by MSU, and documented policies and procedures will be tested. In addition, we have experienced an increased interest by sponsors in MSU’s procurement methods and billing rates. This is a good reminder that even if the expense you incurred benefitted the project, if it did not comply with a required process, such as competitive solicitation, the sponsor may produce an audit finding and require MSU to return funds.

Please make sure to retain all information and communication related to your sponsored program and decisions made on spending in the event that a project you are or were involved in is audited during the project or after closeout (during the record retention period) Any questions can be sent to me at or to Kristy Smith at


Resource for RCR Training Requirements by Agency

by Erin Schlicher, SPA

Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) training covers the core norms, principles, regulations, and rules governing the practice of research, and is intended to foster a climate of research integrity. It is required for investigators who receive funding from NIH, NSF, or USDA-NIFA, as well as for those conducting research involving animal or human subjects. Because the specific training requirements can vary by agency, SPA/OSP/CGA has developed an easy-to-use table listing requirements for NIH, NSF, and USDA-NIFA. The table includes responses to frequently asked questions, including:

  • Who needs RCR Training?
  • When should RCR training take place?
  • What subjects must be included?
  • How much training is required?
  • How should RCR training be delivered?

Answers are shown side-by side for each of the three agencies, allowing for easy comparison. The table is provided as a resource for research administrators or investigators and can be printed to one page or bookmarked for easy reference.


New OSP Subaward Team

by Julia Miszkiewicz, OSP

On July 1, 2021, the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) launched a new Subaward Team responsible for processing all OSP-issued* subawards and subaward amendments. Previously, OSP subawards were drafted and negotiated by the Contract Team member who had reviewed the associated award.

The Subaward Team members are Chuck Roboski, Rhett Butler and Julia Miszkiewicz. Chuck collects and reviews documentation needed to issue the subaward or amendment. Rhett and Julia draft the subaward with appropriate terms and conditions and negotiate with the subrecipient.

The OSP Subaward Team’s goal is to issue the initial subaward draft within 10 business days from the date OSP receives complete and correct subaward information. Requests for OSP’s Subaward Team to issue new non-FDP subawards or amendments should be sent to Please help facilitate the process by providing the following required documents/information:


  • Signed and completed Subrecipient Commitment Form
  • Contact information for the subrecipient
  • Statement of Work
  • Budget
  • Budget justification
  • Any additional technical reporting requirements not listed in the Prime Award


  • Clearly stated purpose of the amendment
  • Revised statement of work, or supplemental statement of work, if applicable
  • Revised budget and budget justification, or supplemental budget and budget justification, if applicable
  • Any other subaward attachments that need to be amended

It’s helpful to include the SUBAWARD NUMBER OR PD/IP NUMBER in the subject line, e.g. “RC_______ - PU, PD 43771 Amendment 1 Request” or “PD 43771 Subaward Request with subrecipient____”.

Please contact the Subaward Team,, with any questions or concerns regarding the OSP-issued subawards and amendments. We look forward to working with the MSU campus community and collaborators!

* Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP) Subawards and amendments issued by Contract and Grant Administration (CGA), will continue to be issued by CGA’s Awards Group.


Fellowship Webpage Now Available

by Karen Rich, OSP

Fellowships. They are an important part of doing research at MSU, yet they can be very confusing. How do you budget for them? How do you set them up? Should the fellow be the PI on the proposal, or should they have a different role? Are fellows employees? Who can apply for a fellowship? Indirect costs or institutional allowance? What even is an institutional allowance? Do fellowships cover travel expenses? Don’t let your confusion stress you out, there is help available! There is a section of the OSP website dedicated to de-mystifying fellowships. It has much of the information you need to prepare a fellowship proposal with confidence!

The OSP fellowship webpage answers all those questions and more. There are no spoilers here, you need to visit the website! It explains exactly what a fellowship is and includes agency-specific information for several sponsors. NASA, NIH, NSF, and USDA and several others all regularly fund research fellowships, but their application requirements can differ greatly. OSP’s fellowship webpage identifies this information and explains how to set it up in KC. (Especially important for system-to-system submissions!)

Please check it out before you prepare your next fellowship proposal. Please follow up with your proposal team contact if you need more help, but you should find much of the information you need in that one handy location.




by Twila Reighley, AVPRI; 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 Theresa Couch and Jeannie Patrick were selected by the Recommendation Panel as the Fall 2021 awardees. They will each be recognized with a plaque of accomplishment along with a small financial award as a token of our appreciation. Congratulations Theresa and Jeannie, and thank you for playing an integral role in advancing MSU’s research mission! We appreciate your dedication and hard work.

Theresa Couch

Theresa Couch

Research Administrator II/S
Health Colleges Research Services

College of Human Medicine, Osteopathic Medicine, and Nursing

Theresa has been with MSU for over six years. She started her research administration career in the Office of Sponsored Programs, where she worked closely with the medical colleges as a member of Proposal Team 1. She joined the Health Colleges Research Services (HCRS) team in 2018, and primarily helps investigators prepare their applications for submission. She assists with a wide range of proposals, from small non-profit proposals to multi-million-dollar NIH P50 Center applications. She also provides post-award account management for several awards. Theresa is a regular presenter for the Essentials of Research Administration (ERA) training series, and she currently serves as a member of the Research Administration System Implementation Committee (RASIC). She was also recently named as a recipient of the Society of Research Administrators (SRA) Future of the Field award. One colleague noted that Theresa “maintains her composure under pressure and is a consistent, positive force among our team. She consistently seeks out ways to make every process more effective and efficient.”

What do you enjoy most about your job here?

“The best part of being at MSU is working with the best people and team!”

What advice do you have for new research administrators?

“Read as much as you can and ask questions. And keep in mind regulations are constantly changing!”

Dr. Jeannie A. Patrick

Dr. Jeannie A. Patrick
Office of Research Administration
College of Education

Jeannie has over 23 years of experience at MSU, all of it in the College of Education. She currently serves as the Director of the College of Education’s Office of Research Administration, where she says that she is “fortunate to manage a highly experienced and professional team of research administrators.” She and her staff provide pre-award support to all investigators in the College of Education. In addition, her unit currently provides post-award grant support for two departments within the College and serves as a post-award resource for other units. Jeannie serves on a wide range of university committees, including the Sponsored Programs Advisory Committee (SPAC), the Research Administration System Implementation Committee (RASIC), Sponsored Program Research Opportunities and University Training (SPROUT), and the SPROUT Training Subcommittee. She is highly valued throughout the College for her knowledge of research processes, her depth of experience with federal and private funding organizations, and her knowledge of MSU grant-related processes and resources.

What do you enjoy most about your job here?

“The best part of my job is working with our great team in the Office of Research Administration to provide pre-award and post-award support to our investigators. This enables our investigators to focus their attention on preparing quality proposals and, once awarded, focus on carrying out the research. It is also wonderful getting to know the investigators in our college. I thoroughly enjoy the work that we do and love the continual learning that comes with the evolutionary aspect of research administration.”

What advice do you have for new research administrators?

“The world of research administration affords many opportunities to learn and grow. As a research administrator you will have the opportunity to work for college units and departments or at central administration in roles of pre-award, post-award or compliance. Realize that things continually change in research administration. You will certainly never be bored with a career in research administration.”


Congratulations to Theresa Couch: SRAI Future of the Field Honoree!

Theresa Couch

by Erin Schlicher, SPA

Congratulations to Theresa Couch for being selected as an inaugural ‘Future of the Field’ honoree by the Society of Research Administrators International (SRAI)!

The ‘Future of the Field’ recognition program aims to shine a light on up-and-comers innovating and influencing the Research Administration profession.

Theresa, a Research Administrator II in Health Colleges Research Services, was selected by a committee of Research Administrator peers, after the program received well over 100 nominations from around the globe. Applications were evaluated based on candidates’ career history, demonstration of exceptional professional growth, and significant contributions made to the advancement of Research Administration.

“The individuals recognized through Future of the Field are the some of the best and brightest in our profession,” said Debra Schaller-Demers, President of SRA International. “These are the next generation trailblazers we know will drive Research Administration forward in the decades to come!”

“Theresa made an immediate positive impact in Research Administration at MSU when she joined the Office of Sponsored Programs six years ago,” said Erin Gorman, Director of Research Operations in the Health Colleges. “We were fortunate enough to have her join our team in 2018, which allowed us expand our support from Human Medicine to the Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine and Nursing. She serves as a resource to campus through training in the MSU Essentials of Research Administration series, leading our monthly newsletter and listserv communications, and her willingness to take on all manner of special projects to make research administration more efficient at MSU. She managed this level of campus involvement on top of submitting just under 100 proposals for our faculty in the last year. It is equally important to note that Theresa happens to be one of the most pleasant individuals with which I’ve had the privilege of working. She has been a remarkable addition to our team.”

Theresa was formally recognized along with other ‘Future of the Field’ honorees at SRA International’s Annual Meeting this October in New Orleans.

Courtney Peatross


Client Feedback Surveys

by 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).



Kelly Feinberg

Greetings! My name is Amy Bane and I am the new Training Program Developer  for SPA. I look forward to assisting you with your training needs and welcome feedback on the current ERA program. Please feel free to reach out to me at


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