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SPA Newsletter - Fall 2017


Greetings from SPA/OSP/CGA!

We are happy to release another issue of the SPA News. Our Fall 2017 issue includes stories of change and recognition, and provides information, resources, and data to tackle challenges that we may encounter in research administration and at MSU. In this issue, here are just a few of the topics you will find:

  • Insight on Research Terms and Conditions (RTC) for NSF, NIH, DOE, and USDA NIFA grants;
  • Highlights on a Michigan agency, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services;
  • A description of Facilities and Administrative Costs and the connection to supporting sponsored research;
  • New templates created to assist with subrecipient invoicing;
  • An overview of an enhancement to Account Explorer featuring a new tab for Closeouts;
  • Recognition of the recipients of the Fall 2017 Unit Research Administrator Spotlight Award.

One of our major activities in recent months has been the implementation of the Kuali Coeus System. Echoing the list of acknowledgements in the Spring 2017 SPA News, I appreciate the efforts of so many that continue to work through implementation. Change can be challenging and SPA/OSP/CGA* staff continue to make every effort to be responsive to campus. From others across the country who have implemented KC, we understand that many added benefits are realized in the second year of operation. Our KC coverage in the SPA News is brief, because our team has shared KC information through “Friday Updates” on the Sponsored Programs Listserv (16 such updates as of the end of September 2017). On the off-chance you’ve missed those updates, they can be accessed on our KC/Research Administration Project webpage.

We also wanted to let you know about a developmental opportunity coming up soon. I encourage you to consider attending the third Global Research Administrator Network and Development (GRAND) Forum** on November 29, 2017. The Forum will be particularly applicable to those working with or interested in global research administration, but can be helpful to others. Event details will be available until the November meeting: here, and registration closes Nov 22, 2017. The November meeting will have a full agenda and features the Premiere of Making it Real, a video presentation of exciting international projects at MSU and their administrative challenges as reported by faculty. Past presentation materials are included on our website.

For suggestions for future content or feedback on this issue, please contact Jennifer Lafferty, or me, Authors or contact information have been included in each article for topic-specific questions. My appreciation is extended to the authors.

Michigan Department of Health
and Human Services (MDHHS)by OSP Proposal Team 1

Formerly the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH), MDHHS awards a wide variety of grants and contracts to MSU around topics such as autism, nutrition, health disparities, and other issues of importance in our state. Services from many of these projects extend statewide. There are two ways departments may receive grants/contracts through MDHHS:

  • As part of the Master Agreement
  • As a stand-alone project

Each year, the Master Agreement runs from Oct 1-Sept 30, and encompasses over 40 projects, including research, education, and public service. Projects range from a few thousand dollars to several million per year, and many are continuing projects that renew each year. For the year starting Oct 1, 2017 (MA-2018) the total funds to be granted is nearing $16 million. All of the Master Agreement projects follow essentially the same submission/amendment/awarding process, administered through eGrams (aka e-grants).

Outside of the Master Agreement, there are also competitive grants and contracts made by MDHHS. They tend to adhere to the submission/awarding process dictated by the agencies within MDHHS, and may utilize eGrams or a variety of other systems such as Buy4Michigan.

The Master Agreement is a multiple step process, and starts typically in the spring for the following October 1 start date. PIs discuss plans for new or continuing projects with their MDHHS Program Managers, and typically establish an estimated budget. OSP prefers that a Proposal Development document be created at this time for tracking purposes, and that we have an opportunity to pre-review the proposed budget. This also ensures that we can track progress and assist in making sure final proposals are submitted on time. MDHHS Program Managers finalize allocations for each project, and send that information to the MDHHS Bureau of Grants and Processing for inclusion in the Master Agreement.

Typically in late June, MSU OSP receives an email from MDHHS that outlines which projects will be included in the upcoming year’s Master Agreement, and the funding amount for each project. OSP informs the PIs and their research administrators of the final funding allocation, which rarely matches the original estimate. At this time a final budget is created, and after approval, the Proposal Development document can be finished and routed. The proposal is entered into eGrams by the research administrator, reviewed by OSP and then submitted by OSP.

Once all projects are entered by MSU personnel and approved by MDHHS project managers, the full agreement is sent back to MSU for negotiation and signature. The goal is to have this happen by early September. Once signed, the account set-up process begins. The start date for the majority of the projects funded by the Master Agreement is October 1.

Throughout the year, individual projects may be asked to amend their eGrams entries, most commonly to adjust final budget figures and to provide the names of personnel who were entered originally as “To Be Named.”

Fun (and sometimes confusing) Facts:

  • Even though the agency name/acronym has officially changed to MDHHS, the URL and other materials still say DCH or MDCH in some spots.
  • Principal Investigator is misspelled in eGrams
  • The online submission system is referred to as “eGrams” but it is really “e-grants”, which can be confusing to users who have used an e-grants system for other sponsors.

Have questions about the MDHHS grants or the Master Agreement? Please email

Research Terms & Conditions Made Easy
by Stacy Salisbury, CGA

Did the title get your attention? Are you wondering if it is too good to be true?
Not if you have a National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Department of Energy (DOE) or U.S. Department of Agriculture/National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA NIFA) grant. These agencies participate in the Research Terms and Conditions (RTC). The RTC build off of the Uniform Guidance (UG), found at 2 CFR 200. The RTC includes a standard set of terms and conditions, as well as an easy to read Prior Approval Matrix.

Prior Approval Matrix, you say? How does it work?
If you have an NSF award, for example, you can look through the Matrix to see if you need prior approval to issue a subaward, obtain a no cost extension, or in other situations. This handy Matrix is found here:

How do I know which terms to pay attention to out of the award document, the Uniform Guidance, and RTC?
Look to the most granular level first. For instance, the award is going to include the most project specific terms. If the award is silent on a topic, look to the agency specific policy. The agency terms are going to be more specific than the UG because the UG is for all federal agencies. (So look to the UG last if the award document and agency specific terms are silent on your item.)

How do I know if the RTC apply to my award?
The RTC are incorporated by reference in your award agreement, or, as specified in the following Agency Implementation Statements

What is the website for the RTC? Don't be fooled by the "" domain. NSF hosts the terms for all participating RTC agencies. Future agency participants are expected to include: Department of Commerce (DOC), Department of Transportation/Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

If you have any questions regarding terms and conditions, please contact Stacy Salisbury at

Assets on RC Accountsby Paige Feldpausch, CGA

When an asset is assigned to an RC account the department should ensure that the asset number is included on all related transactions. An asset is defined as an item costing $5,000 or more with a useful life of one year or more. Two ways that an asset may be acquired and assigned to an RC account is by: 1) purchasing equipment and 2) fabricating equipment. When equipment is purchased, it is assigned an asset number at the time the purchase order (PO) is approved in the Kuali Financial System (KFS). This is done by Capital Asset Management (CAM) and requires no further action to be taken by the department.

Equipment that is fabricated from separately acquired materials and constructed by MSU trades, principal investigators (PI), project representatives or any combination of these individuals is defined as fabricated equipment. To create an asset number for fabricated equipment, the department must notify CAM to initiate an asset eDoc in KFS. Once initiated, the document will route to the appropriate individuals, such as the fiscal officer (FO) for the account and Contracts & Grants Administration (CGA) for approval. CAM will create an asset record with an asset number once the asset eDoc is approved.

Please note, the following statement must be signed/certified by the PI and attached to the eDoc (Asset Request, Requisition or Purchase Order) when equipment is being purchased with federal funds: "I certify that this equipment is necessary and will be used for the project charged or in relative proportion to the projects to which the costs will be charged and that similar equipment is not available for use.”

Additional information on equipment acquisition and fabrication can be found at MBP 224:

Closeout Tab—New to AE!by Jen Hunter, CGA

Account Explorer Closeout Tab

CGA has added a new informational closeout tab in Account Explorer. This tab now shows when the final financial report is due, when it was submitted and the team member to whom the closeout of the account has been assigned. The account’s destroy date will be displayed here as well once it has been determined. If you have any questions on the closeout of a particular account, please contact the CGA contact listed under “Closeout assigned.”

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