Research Lifecycle

At Case Western Reserve University, research is central to our mission—but navigating the research lifecycle can be a complicated process. 

The Office of Research and Technology Management is here to help. Whether you’re looking to develop a proposal, familiarize yourself with certain policies or bring your idea to market, we have staff and resources to support you in your efforts.

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Step 1: Administrative setup
Establish accounts and undergo training that’s needed to conduct research at CWRU

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Step 2: Find funding
Identify a funding opportunity that matches your research 

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Step 3: Develop and submit your proposal
Apply for an award to fund your project

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Step 4: Set up your project
Establish the project in CWRU’s system and ensure documentation aligns with award terms

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Step 5: Conduct your research and manage your award
Ensure proper grants administration while your research is underway

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Step 6: Close out your project
Complete final reports and other necessary documentation/ tasks for a smooth project closeout

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Step 7: Promote and commercialize your work
Turn to the Technology Transfer Office for help with commercializing your discoveries and inventions

Step 1: Administrative Setup

Register with the research administration systems to conduct research at CWRU. For funded research, you’ll need to complete a Spiderweb Profile, complete a COI Disclosure Form and set up your Sparta Grants and Sparta COI accounts. You may need additional CWRU accounts or agency-specific logins, depending on the type of research you’re conducting. Establishing these accounts at the onset will enable a smoother process for funding your research, and research administrators can help you avoid predictable pitfalls along the way.

Always Needed for Funded Research

  • CWRU Network ID: If you don’t already have one, have your department administrator request an ID for you. The UTech Help Desk can also be of assistance
  • A complete Spiderweb profile: Using your CWRU Network ID, you’ll need to personally set up your profile on Spiderweb
  • SpartaGrants Account: Once your Spiderweb profile is complete, you’ll need to be added to SpartaGrants. In the system, you’ll select “Sparta Request Person” under the Administrative tab, then have your department administrator email to request that you be added to a specific department and routing number.
  • SpartaCOI Account: Once in Sparta, email for account activation.
  • Conflict of Interests (COI) Disclosure Form: This needs to be completed once you receive notification the form is available. The COI Office is available to assist.
  • An ORCID ID: The Kelvin Smith Library offers a guide for creating an ID. Review and complete the steps to create an ORCID ID

Sometimes Needed, Depending on the Type of Research

  • For human subjects research: If you’re submitting to the CWRU Institutional Review Board (IRB) or University Hospitals' IRB, you’ll need to complete CREC certification and request a SpartaIRB account. Please note that CREC certification has to be completed before an IRB protocol will be approved. 
  • For recombinant DNA research: You’ll need to request an IBC account by contacting
  • For vertebrate animal research: You’ll need to request an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) account by contacting
  • For submissions to certain federal agencies: You’ll need to set up agency-specific logins and/or ensure they're up to date. For instance, to submit a proposal to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), you’ll need an eRA Commons ID.

What Slows Down the Process

  • Your SpartaCOI account cannot be created until your Spiderweb profile is completed. 
  • SpartaIRB accounts cannot be created without either a CWRU Network ID and email address or a University Hospitals user ID and email address. 
  • Inconsistent email addresses in CREC and SpartaIRB will halt your progress; the same email address is necessary to link CREC training to your SpartaIRB account. 
  • Incomplete CREC training slows the process.

Who Can Help

If you’re overwhelmed with the steps above—don’t be! Help is only a question away.

  • For assistance getting your CWRU ID, work with your department administrator or contact the [U]Tech Help Desk online or at 216.368.4357.
  • The Sparta Team is available to help with all things Spiderweb or SpartaGrants and can be reached at
  • The COI Team can be reached at or 216.368.7600 to help with SpartaCOI questions. 
  • The CWRU IRB Team can be reached at or 216.368.0134 to help with SpartaIRB questions.
  • The IBC Team can help with iRIS questions and can be reached at or 216.368.0838.
  • The IACUC Team can be reached at or 216.368.3815.
  • And lastly, the CREC Team can be reached at or 216.368.5963 for guidance with all things related to Continuing Research Education Credit Program.

 Meet the ORTM team

Step 2: Find Funding 

There are a variety of resources available to you as you seek monetary backing for your research project. We recommend the following: 

  • Familiarize yourself with funding sources: There’s a wide range of funding opportunities you could explore. Public or private funds? Internal or external? Industry funding? Foundations? Explore types of funding
  • Get updates on opportunities from ORTM: Stay up to date with the latest opportunities by signing up for ORTM’s Funding Opportunities newsletter. Subscribe to the Funding Opportunities newsletter.
  • Explore Limited Submission Opportunities: To help ensure a fair process amidst a competitive funding environment, CWRU has established procedures for limited submission programs—opportunities in which a funder limits the number of proposals it will accept from each institution. Review the procedures and view active opportunities.
  • Learn About Large-Scale Grant Support: At CWRU, the Strategic Partnerships and Research Collaboration (SPARC) Team supports proposal development for complex, center-level grants and contracts greater than $10 million. Get to know the SPARC Team.

Explore Funding

Step 3: Develop and Submit Your Proposal

Once you’ve identified the funding opportunity you’d like to apply for, there are several steps you need to take in order to submit your proposal—though additional steps may be required, depending on the nature of the opportunity.

Preparing Your Proposal

  • Please confirm your eligibility to submit a proposal, as required by your department or school. This process will vary depending on your school or college.
  • Carefully read the full Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOA) and related application guide, making a note of all required proposal components and other relevant information. 
  • Find collaborators.
  • Identify subawardees and understand the Subaward Process.
  • Assess need for generating preliminary data.
  • Develop your budget, and make sure you’re detailed. View guidelines for developing your budget.
  • Set meetings with senior key personnel to determine a timeline and outline who’s responsible for preparing various components of the application, including: budgets, figures, research narrative components, letters of support, required supplementary documents, etc. Familiarize yourself with the proposal submission timeline.
  • Complete the funding proposal in SpartaGrants. Get training for SpartaGrants.

Submitting Your Proposal

Once you’re ready to submit, work with your department’s research administration team to complete the funding proposal and your application package in SpartaGrants prior to the departmental deadline. Learn how to submit in SpartaGrants

CWRU prefers the use of SpartaGrants for funding opportunities that will allow system-to-system submissions. Learn more about proposal submission methods and procedures

A CWRU Authorized Institutional Signing Official must sign and submit the proposal to the funder. Understand ORTM’s process for reviewing proposals.

Award notifications can come through in a variety of ways, be it by email to the university or to the PI. 

Proposal Development

Proposal Submission

Step 4: Set Up Your Project

Once receiving the official notice of a grant award from the sponsor, work with your department administration to set up the award. Steps include: 

Regulatory Compliance Check

Ensure you’ve fulfilled all regulatory compliance requirements. This may include:

Award Acceptance and Setup

Step 5: Conduct Your Research and Manage Your Award

Here, researchers get into the crux of their work. PIs and research administrators each have distinct responsibilities in award management. By working together, they help ensure a project is managed with efficiency and accountability while maintaining compliance. Here are some key components of award management:

Ongoing Award Management

Step 6: Close Out Your Project

To accurately forecast expenses and make any financial adjustments, grant closeout should commence four months before a project’s end date. Review the list of project closeout tasks.

Though each agency has its own guidelines, most sponsors require a final technical report and a financial report upon completion of an award. 

Required closeout reports may include:

  • Final technical report, also known as the final scientific report
  • Financial report
  • Patent/invention report* 
  • Property report 

*Keep in mind that the PI is responsible for notifying the Technology Transfer Office as soon as an invention is conceived. The TTO team is responsible for submitting inventions to agencies at the time of invention. Review the steps in the final invention/patent reporting process.

Award and Project Closeout 

Step 7: Promote and Commercialize Your Work

Interested in commercializing your discoveries and inventions? As the coordinator of intellectual property (IP) on campus, the Technology Transfer Office (TTO) can:

  • Discuss your invention and provide guidance on the disclosure, evaluation and protection processes. Explore TTO’s inventor resources.
  • Help develop a strategy and explore the various options, including licensing to an existing company, creating a new business start-up or conducting further research and development within the university for future commercialization potential. See the commercialization process.

Explore Commercialization and Industry