Carnegie Mellon University
December 01, 2017

Tips: December 1, 2017

By SPARCS Help Desk


The following are some tips on using SPARCS to expedite the review and submission of your proposals:

  • You may have encountered a validation error that does not allow you to have a submission date that is after your start date. Don't fret! If you have a submission date that comes after the award start date:
    1. Enter the award start date as the submission date.
    2. Reach out to your OSP Specialist with the correct date. The OSP Specialists have the ability to update the record.
  • When the OSP Specialist uses the SPARCS system to email the department providing an attachment, the attachment will appear in the Proposal Attachments tab within the Funding Proposal workspace. These documents can also be found under the History tab.
  • If a sponsor has a written policy on F&A (indirect costs/overhead); administrative fees; specific exclusions; etc., please remember to upload a copy of the sponsor policy to the funding proposal.
  • Please remember to make cure a copy of the funding opportunity announcement has also been attached. At times, it appears the system pulls/attaches the opportunity from, there are many times (usually, NIH/NSF) when it is only the general guidelines and not the information specific to the opportunity.

Below is a list of comment reasons the SPARCS Funding Proposals have been returned to department requesting changes to be made:

  • The effort listed on the SPARCS budget does not match the effort listed in the budget justification.
  • Subaward(s) that account for more than 50% of the budget has not been identified on the Commitment of Additional Resources smartform. This requires a document upload
  • A signed/approved PI Assurance Statement has not bee attached to the Funding Proposal.

SPARCS Updates


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


Users with the SPARCS role of Department Business Manager now have access to the Prepare Letter activity. This activity allows users to generate drafts of common letters needed for submission such as Cover Letters (DoD), PI Certifications (DARPA/IARPA) and OCOI Statements.