SPARC Team Support

Strategic Partnerships and Research Collaborative Team

The Strategic Partnerships and Research Collaborative (SPARC) Team at Case Western Reserve University facilitates collaborative, transdisciplinary, center-level ($10+ million) grants and contracts. Part of the CWRU Office of Research and Technology Management, the team has experience with center-level proposals to funders such as National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), Department of Defense (DOD) and Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), among others. 

It works across the university with investigators and research teams housed at all schools and departments. Ideally, the SPARC Team is brought on during the early phases of proposal development to shepherd the entire process. 


To facilitate complex, interdisciplinary, center-level research proposals that further the institutional priorities of Case Western Reserve University.

Our Process

The federal funding landscape has changed considerably as agencies create new funding mechanisms for collaborative, cross-disciplinary research programs—such as ARPA-H and NSF Engines—that prioritize team science, industry partnerships and transformative research innovations geared towards solving regional, national and global problems. These larger, complex proposals are difficult to assemble and among the most highly competitive. The increasingly competitive and rapidly evolving research landscape necessitates that researchers quickly understand and adapt to funders' new or unfamiliar requirements.

Researchers need to use every tool in our arsenal, including those with technical writing expertise, to express research in ways that are compelling to reviewers.

Our scientific and grant writing consultants are subject matter experts in STEM technical communication. The SPARC Team offers more than editing: A close collaboration between a subject matter expert and a writing expert and a continuum of writing support (content-level to sentence-level) from draft to finished product. All of this is informed by the funder, solicitation and writing research. They also provide an intensive review of all solicitation materials and funder requirements.

Our goal is not just to simplify the grant writing process, but to retain accuracy while ensuring proposals are more comprehensible and responsive to the RFP.

Pre-Award Proposal and Grant Administration Support

Our goal is to streamline proposal development and submission for CWRU investigators by offering the following support: 

  • Project management (implementing and facilitating timelines, coordination, organization of materials, scheduling and running meetings with PIs, etc.)
  • Problem solving/addressing roadblocks
  • Detailed, multi-phase grant review, ensuring compliance with federal regulations and individual RFPs and RFAs
  • Communications among principal investigators (PIs), departments, research teams, outside institutions, hospital affiliates, etc.
  • Research-based assessment and revision of grant narrative and all supplemental documents
  • Technical graphic illustration and graphic design
  • Creation of budgets and budget justifications
  • Supplemental document review, editing, and content production
  • Drafting/securing letters of support and letters of collaboration
  • Connection to relevant resources inside the Office of Research and Technology Management, such as IRB, Tech Transfer, and Research Compliance 
  • Facilities, equipment and resource documents
  • Submission to Sparta, ASSIST, and

Work With Us

If you are interested in working with us, please complete the “request for SPARC Team support”. If you have questions about SPARC, please email us at

Meet the Team



“I have been at CWRU for almost 10 years. Since I started my academic career here, I had never worked with a grant proposal development support team that is as capable, as responsive, as meticulous, and as friendly as the SPARC Team. I can confidently say that the creation of the SPARC Team is the most impressive and impactful investment in the research enterprise at CWRU in a very long time.” 

—Umut Gurkan, Wilbert J. Austin Professor of Engineering and professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Case School of Engineering

"We want to express our deepest appreciation and gratitude to the SPARC Team for the highly efficient management and assistance that they have provided in organization, compilation and submission of high-value, multi-investigator, multi-institution, interdisciplinary research grant applications to the federal agencies. Specifically, the SPARC Team assisted us to submit a program award proposal (total $9.2M) to the DOD in summer of 2023. Endeavors to plan, organize and execute such high-value research proposals require an extraordinary level of management, teamwork, coordination and communication, and the SPARC Team excelled in every aspect of it." 

—Anirban Sen Gupta, Wallace R. Persons Endowed Professor of Engineering and professor of biomedical engineering; Pedram Mohseni, professor and department chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

“Speaking from direct experience, it would have been impossible to submit our complex U01 and P50 proposals without the expert assistance from this patient and engaging team. The key for me is that the SPARC Team thoroughly reviews the science documents to ensure clarity of writing. Answering their in-depth questions led to an undoubted strengthening of the rationale driving the project and the presentation/understanding of the science.” 

—Stephen Lewis, professor in the Department of Pediatrics and Department of Pharmacology at School of Medicine 

“The SPARC Team handled organizational and administrative aspects that allowed us to focus on science and technology, provided us with constructive feedback that brought out the significance of the project and made the application more cogent, connected us with resources when needed, and kept us on track to meet the timeline.”

—Ozan Akkus, Kent H. Smith Professor of Engineering in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Case School of Engineering

“Creating a large proposal is a huge amount of work. Beyond the science, there is a significant effort to create, manage, and coordinate a large team. As well, winning large proposals requires a different level of professionalism and polish in the application itself. The SPARC Team elevates our work to successfully compete for these proposals, such as our recently awarded Office of Naval Research grant (total $9.5 mil).   

—Dustin Tyler, Kent H. Smith Professor of Biomedical Engineering in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Case School of Engineering