SPS, grants.duke and Other Electronic Submissions

All proposals from Duke University must be prepared and routed for approval in Sponsored Projects System - SPS. To obtain access to SPS, please contact the ORS Assistant Director assigned to your department.

SPS has several functions. It is used to prepare the administrative sections of a proposal such as the budget, budget justification, abstract, and the facilities and resources section. SPS facilitates document exchange between ORS and departments. SPS routes a completed proposal for departmental and ORS approvals. It also serves as a database for managing sponsored projects activity at both the central and departmental level. At the departmental level, for instance, SPS is the best way to check on an investigator's Current and Pending Support information for a proposal. SPS is the primary data source for reporting on sponsored projects proposals and awards, both internally for Provosts, Deans and Chairs at Duke and externally to federal agencies and non-profit entities.

SPS was developed by Duke's Office of Research Informatics (ORI) / Research Application Development (RAD) group), now called the Office of Academic Solutions and Information Systems (OASIS). Resources for installation and troubleshooting can be found at the OASIS website.  It is primarily a tool used by departmental and central-office grant administrators, although some faculty use SPS when preparing applications to be submitted by grants.duke.

Below is a list of documents that should be uploaded in SPS.  This is not an exhaustive list. Please note the 5-day review deadline for uploading documents for review at: Proposal Review and Approval at Duke.

  1. Cover page or application form
  2. Proposal abstract (draft)
  3. Budget (final)
  4. Budget justification (final)
  5. Completed electronic attestations from all who are required in SPS
  6. All extra forms required by the sponsor, including certifications and representations
  7. Subcontract endorsements, subrecipient checklist, budgets, and statements of work, if applicable
  8. Request for Cost Sharing Form, if applicable
  9. Conflict of interest disclosures, if applicable
  10. Any required NIH JIT documentation
  11. Revised budgets (on sponsor's budget form if the original was submitted on that form)

Upon completion of proposal review, your ORS Assistant Director will upload scanned documents to SPS for retrieval by departments, including documents such as signature pages, letters of endorsement, and other required documents for which an original copy is not needed.

If a proposal is awarded, an ORS Award Specialist will scan and attach the New Award Memo and the Award Documentation in the SPS Award Module.

An increasing number of federal agencies are now requiring that grant applications be submitted through the Grants.Gov website. In order to accommodate the NIH transition to electronic grant submission via Grant.Gov, the ADG staff created grants.duke. Grants.duke is a website that ties the SPS to the federal Grants.Gov system, allowing a system-to-system submission of NIH, DOE, and many DOD proposals. Note that if an agency requires Grants.Gov submission and grants.duke supports electronic submission to that agency, you must use grants.duke.

For grants.duke proposal submissions, the administrative sections of a proposal are prepared in SPS by the grant manager just as it is with any other proposal except that the indicator for a system-to-system submission is checked. While the grant manager and ORS prepare the administrative portions of the proposal in SPS and route it for approval, the PI prepares the technical sections of the proposal and uploads them in grants.duke. These can be modified at any time up to the time of submission. Upon ORS approval of the administrative portion of the proposal, the PI is free to submit the application via grants.duke at any time.

Your primary source for assistance with grants.duke during business hours is the ORS GC&C staff. If you are working after hours, call either of the following HELP desks and ask for the RAD staff member on call. Explain that you need technical assistance with grants.duke.
OIT Help Desk - 684-2200

Many federal and private funding agencies require the use of their own proposal submission websites. While the availability of multiple funding sources is welcome, learning to navigate multiple proposal submission systems can be daunting to faculty and grant administrators. ORS staff have a lot of experience not only with the major proposal submission portals such as NSF's FastLane and the non-profit portal Proposal Central, but also with most of the smaller funding portals as well. As each system has different requirements, consult any sponsor documentation early and contact your ORS GC&C staff person immediately if you have not previously submitted through a particular system.

Note that as part of the proposal review process ORS will need access to your proposal on the sponsor's website if a separate review process is not in place for the central grants office (such as FastLane which allows proposal preparation by the PI and a separate review by ORS). As noted above, contact the ORS staff with any questions that arise in the preparation of your electronic submission.