University of Illinois


Sponsored Programs and Research Compliance

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Frequently Asked Questions


Q. Do I need to be an Illinois staff member to apply to this program?
A. Yes. SPaRC’Ed is open to University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign staff members only. Staff who are involved in any aspect of the sponsored projects and research administration duties of their units are the intended audience for this certification series. Although some staff may perform specific pre- or post-award tasks for their unit, all participants will benefit from the full spectrum of sponsored projects and research administration knowledge provided by the SPaRC’Ed program.

Q. Will completion of this program mean I will get a promotion, raise, or bonus?
A. Participating in SPaRC’Ed will provide you with an excellent opportunity for professional development and will likely reflect positively on your resume as you advance your career in research administration. However, becoming a University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Illini Certified Research Administrator will not automatically result in a promotion, raise, or bonus.

Q. Is there a registration or application fee for participating in SPaRC’Ed?
A. No, SPaRC’Ed does not require a registration or application fee. Participant attendance and engagement in the program is a vital component of the learning process; therefore, attendance at all sessions is imperative for participant and program success. Due to the limited number of spots available for participants in each cohort and the importance of all topics presented throughout the program, there will be a $25 fee charged to a participant’s unit for each unexcused absence.

Q. What is the time commitment for SPaRC’Ed?
A. SPaRC’Ed begins annually in August/September and runs thru April. Classes occur approximately once every other week and will range in length from 2-3.5 hours. There are also elective courses that will be held in off-weeks throughout the program period.

Q. Who should I contact if I have additional questions about SPaRC’Ed?
A. For additional questions regarding the SPaRC’Ed Certification Series, please contact


Q. When can I apply to participate in SPaRC’Ed?
A. The application period will be open from mid-May to mid-June each year. The application form is accessible online from the SPaRC website during the application acceptance period.

Q. Why is there an application?
A. The application allows the SPaRC’Ed Committee to identify potential participants, gather pertinent biographical and unit information from applicants, assess an applicant’s interest in the program, and maintain campus-wide representation and balance in the selected cohort.

Q. What is the selection process for SPaRC’Ed applicants?
A. The SPaRC’Ed Committee is made up of representatives from central administration and various units and colleges. The committee is charged with evaluating applicants and making the final participant selection for each cohort. Applicants will be evaluated based on a combination of factors including the applicant’s role in research administration at Illinois and their personal statement as well as unit specific factors such as number of transactions, sponsored projects expenditures, existing departmental support, and strategic needs of the unit. Selected participants will represent a variety of research administration experience levels as well as a variety of colleges and departments.

Q. What if I am not accepted into SPaRC’Ed the first time I apply?
A. Due to space issues, we may have more applicants than there are open slots for any given SPaRC’Ed cohort. For those applicants not selected for the cohort for which they initially applied, they may reapply with the next cohort and will be given additional consideration and priority during the selection process.


Q. What are the certification requirements?
A. To become an Illini Certified Research Administrator, participants must attend all required sessions and pass two open book assessments during the course of the program.

Q. What if I do not pass the assessments?
A. The purpose of SPaRC’Ed is to ensure all participants successfully complete the program with the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively perform the duties of a research administrator at Illinois. The assessments are intended to reinforce and solidify the information learned during the sessions and we anticipate 100% success of participants.

Contact Us

For questions or more information, please contact Kamil Tamimie, Assistant Director, Training, Outreach, and Data Management.