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New to Sponsored Research Administration - A Primer

Getting Started

Sponsored research projects at FSU, and at other universities, follow a fairly standard lifecycle. In the early stages of the lifecycle a researcher, or Principal Investigator (PI) generates an idea for a project. The researcher will then search for various funding opportunities which align with their interests, and submit a proposal to a funding agency. This is what's known as the "pre-award" portion of the lifecycle.

If the researcher receives the award, the lifecycle moves into the "post-award" phase. In this phase a central office at FSU (either Sponsored Research, or the FSU Research Foundation) will work with the PI and the department to setup the award. Next, the PI and the department will enter the project management phase as the research is being conducted. This process could last for months, or even years depending on the complexity of the project. At the end of the project the central office will work with the PI/department to close the award.

The research administrator's role throughout this process will vary depending on the department. Click through the lifecycle steps below for an overview of the processes the research administrator might assist with at each step.

In this step the research administrator might assist the PI will helping locate suitable funding opportunities which align with their interests. They may use Pivot, an online database of various funding opportunities, to track various award notices.

 Did you know...

The Office of Research Development has many resources dedicated to helping researchers connect with funding opportunities. Visit their Finding Funding section for more information.

The research administrator generally provides great assistance in this step. They may be asked to enter necessary information into RAMP - the online portal used to submit a proposal, and manage an award. They may also be asked to help with developing the project budget, and more.

 Did you know...

The eSPEAR course Proposal Development and Submission contains a detailed look at the proposal development and submission process, from a research administrator's perspective. Learn how to enroll in eSPEAR on SRA's website.

While the PI is ultimately responsible for submitting a research proposal, the research administrator might be asked to assist gathering any necessary final documents for submission into RAMP. The research administrator will then have the PI review the information prior to submitting the proposal.

 Did you know...

SRA/FSURF require three (3) business days to review the proposal before it can be submitted to the agency. Make sure to review the application deadlines, and plan ahead!

Once awarded, either SRA or FSURF will work with the PI and the department to set up the award. The central office will review the terms of the award, and coordinate with the department as needed. 

 Did you know...

In some cases the PI may be able to start work on their project before an award contract has been signed. This is what's known as an Advance, and allows the PI to begin work as long as they have sponsor and departmental approval. The eSPEAR course Award Set-Up contains a detailed look at the procedural steps of setting up an award.

In this phase of the project the research administrator will ensure that project funds are being spent according to sponsor/university guidelines. Monthly account reconciliations will be performed to ensure funds are spent as required per the award agreements, and charged to correct project. They will also supply supporting documentation for any invoices.

 Did you know...

The Research Administration Manual website provides roles/responsibilities workflows which explain the job roles of research administrators for publicly/privately funded grants, awards and contracts.


The research administrator will conduct a pre-closeout review with the PI, and work to ensure that the final project budget has been reconciled. They might also assist the PI in preparing any final reports, and obtaining any required signatures on closeout documents.

 Did you know...

The Roles and Responsibilities (RASCI) Matrices, which can be found on the RAM website under the Project Management > Roles and Responsibilities of Project Management section, provide an overview of which entities are Responsible, Accountable, Supporting, Consulted, and Informed for various project steps.

Introduction to the Office of Research - Video

A short video describing the Office of Research, its makeup, and overall function at FSU.






Research Administration Manual (RAM)

The Research Administration Manual (RAM) is your go-to source for FSU’s procedures for proposing and managing sponsored projects. It contains information and resources separated by pre-award and post-award activities.