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eSPEAR Certificate Series Overview

The new eSPEAR Certificate Series has replaced the Sponsored Research Administration Certificate Series and SPEAR (Sponsored Projects Education & Resources) Workshops.  This is an educational certificate program offered by the Office of the Vice President of Research that has been designed to ensure that FSU research administrators have the foundational knowledge they need to provide the highest quality of support possible to FSU researchers.  eSPEAR delivers the fundamental concepts of conducting research administration at FSU and introduces individuals to the resources available to assist them in meeting the responsibilities of their position. 

The program includes:

ESP01-Introduction to Research Administration at FSU

ESP02-Uniform Guidance – 2CFR200

ESP03-Proposal Development and Submission

ESP04-Award Set-Up

ESP05-Building Budgets

ESP06-Internal Controls and Audits

ESP07-Project Management

ESP08-Effort Commitments and Certifications

ESP09-Project Closeouts

ESP10-Issuing and Managing Subawards

eSPEAR Capstone (live half day course)

In order to complete the eSPEAR Certificate Program individuals must complete ten online modules and a half day live Capstone course.  The Capstone final exercise will be a hands on course conducted in a group setting utilizing the knowledge gained from the 10 eSPEAR courses.  Certification will be earned once the Capstone course is completed.

Are you required to complete the eSPEAR Certification Program?

Effective September 1, 2020, all existing staff currently holding positions responsible for the direct administration of research and/or sponsored programs (at the college, department or central level) are required to complete the eSPEAR Certification Program by February 28, 2021.   Any staff who begin a position responsible for the direct administration of research and/or sponsored programs after September 1, 2020, will be required to complete the program within six months of the start date of their position.  

Program Registration Process

An employee may register for the eSPEAR course through the OMNI HR Employee Self-Service. Select "Human Resources" from the left-hand myFSU Links drop down menu.  Click on the "Request Training Enrollment" link and search by course name: eSPEAR. Additional course registration and cancellation instructions are attached.  

Once you are registered you will be directed to log into Canvas to accept your invitation to join the course and access the training.

NOTE: All online computer-based trainings have a session date of the last day of the current year (i.e., 12/31/20XX), please disregard this date.  Online courses are always available for registration.  Canvas course completions are updated in OMNI nightly.

Capstone Registration:

Capstone registration will be processed through an invitation email sent to those eligible employees who have completed the required 10 eSPEAR modules prior to the scheduled Capstone course.

Extension Requests:

Requests for an extension to the six month requirement to complete the program are possible.  Up to 60 days can be approved by SRA.  Longer requests require OVPR Approval.  These requests can be made by completing the eSPEAR Extension Request Form with a justification provided for the request. All requests must be approved by supervisor who must approve/verify the following statement “I understand that this is a request for an extension to completing fundamental requirements of this position and details of this delay should be considered as part of the performance appraisal process.”


Are there any requirements to maintain the eSPEAR Certification?

Yes, there will be a continuing education requirement to maintain certification (for those completing the program and those meeting the requirement via exemption or testing). Research Administration is a constantly evolving field of knowledge and it is important that FSU research administrators remain engaged. In order to support FSU research administrators in their roles, an annual update will be provided (available online). The update will include new information for FSU research administrators and could include changes in federal requirements, FSU research administration systems, or any other topic impacting research administration.

Similar to other professional certifications and due to the rapidly evolving field of research administration, those with eSPEAR certifications will be required to meet continuing education requirements to ensure their level of professional knowledge is adequately maintained. For most active research administrators, this should be an easy requirement and not add additional time to their schedule as activities are in areas where they should already be active.  (While some activities may come with a financial cost, additional financial investment is not required as there are opportunities to meet the requirements without cost.)

In order to maintain an eSPEAR Certification, certified individuals will need to attend an update session AND earn a minimum of 10 points each calendar year beginning with the year following the receipt of their certification.  (ie: If a certification was received in February 20, 2021, this individual will be required to meet the below requirements beginning with calendar year 2022.) Each calendar year the eSPEAR points can be tracked on the eSPEAR CE self-tracking form.

Both of the following requirements must be met:

  1. Attend an annual eSPEAR update.  This will be a 60-minute update on research administration news, regulations, and policies.   (No Spear Points will be issued for this course. All certified individuals are required to attend. Recording will be available for those unable to attend live session.)
  2. Earn a minimum of 10 Spear Points per year. These can be earned as follows:
    • Internally offered opportunities within FSU:
      • Attend the Quarterly Research Project Discussion Group (RPDG) Meetings: 2 points per meeting attended.  Please email Pamela Ray at if you would like to be added to the meeting invite list.
      • Complete any supplemental or advanced eSPEAR or OVPR course (online or in-person): 2 points per course completed
      • Webinar or in-person presentation of 60 minutes or longer offered by or sponsored by the Office of Research: 2 points per session attended (RAMP or other system related training excluded)
    • Externally offered opportunities outside organization (NCURA, SRA, COGR, NACUA, UCRF, FDP, AGA and other agencies /sponsors) - Maximum of 6 points (of total 10 points) can be earned via external sources.
      • Workshop or Conference: 4 points per day (2 points per half day)
      • Webinar of 60 minutes or longer: 2 points
      • CRA exam - 6 points 
    • Other programs focused on research administration that are not covered in one of the categories above can be submitted to SRA with details to request attendance credit.

Extensions: Requests for a one-time, 1 year extension with supervisor approval will be considered if any of the eSPEAR requirements (as stated in 1 and 2 above) are not completed. 

Please forward a completed eSPEAR Extension Request Form to for review if you wish to request an extension. 

If requirements not met:  Not meeting the requirements as detailed above will result in the certification becoming inactive.  Passing the RAMP exam will be required to reactivate certification.


Will any other research administration training be offered (besides the eSPEAR Certification Program)?

Yes, SRA will continue to offer advanced and specialized training courses as they have in the past. Additional online training will also be added to the eSPEAR Program as optional courses.

How can I provide feedback on the eSPEAR Certification Program?

Any questions regarding this new program should be directed to Eileen Campanale at