Carnegie Mellon University
November 01, 2017

Tips: November 1, 2017

By SPARCS Help Desk


With the upcoming NSF deadline next week and approximately 60 proposals created within SPARCS, we wanted to communicate some tips on budgeting and processes to expedite the review and submission of your proposals:

  • Ensure that the type of effort included in the sponsor budget and budget justification is consistent with what was entered into SPARCS.  If summer support is suggested, the summer salary and summer effort should be used in SPARCS.
  • Enter the base salary and the associated effort for proposal personnel in order to calculate what is charged to the sponsor. For example, if a student’s CY stipend amount is $29,000 at 50% effort (6 months), enter $29,000 as the base salary and 50% effort rather than $14,500 at 100%.
  • Include the following documents within each proposal
    • PI Assurance Statement
    • Budget (excel spreadsheet)
    • Budget justification
    • Solicitation
    • Subcontractor documents including Sole Source Justification for each subcontractor

The SPARCS Help Desk is working with your OSP Representative/Specialist to conduct early stage budget reviews in the hopes to address any inconsistencies early in the proposal until you feel comfortable with the system and process changes.

We are hopeful this information proves useful and will lessen the number of issues encountered when a proposal is submitted for Department Review/Specialist Review; thus reducing the need to request changes.

We also want you to note that SPARCS will be unavailable for general use on Wednesday mornings from 6am-7am for normal maintenance/system patches.  Release notes will be available on the SPARCS website at:

Again, we thank you for your support with the design, testing and rollout of this system.  Please contact the SPARCS Help Desk if you have any questions or concerns.

SPARCS Updates


SPARCS unavailable due to maintenance on Wednesday, November 8 from 6:00 AM to 7:00 AM.