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Everyday eSPA: Understanding affiliated units

Closeup of a computer keyboard and mouse, with a corner of a monitor visible. A users hand -- holding a pen -- is poised on the mouse.

“Everyday eSPA” is series of occasional posts that offer Miami University researchers quick tips for working effectively in eSPA.


Near the bottom of the “Start New Proposal” screen in eSPA is an “Affiliated Unit(s)” field. Importantly there is an “(if applicable)” notation next to the field name. For most Miami researchers, this field is not, in fact, applicable, and should be ignored.

Screenshot of "Start a New Proposal" eSPA screen with "Affiliated Units" field highlighted.

Many researchers mistakenly follow the Click Here to Choose Affiliated Unit(s) link to select their home department. However, the PI’s home department is already supplied in the required “Award Admin Department” field earlier on the screen. Instead, an “affiliated unit” is (usually) a center or institute that the PI is affiliated with. The PI will select a center or institute as an “affiliated unit” when the project being proposed is relevant to the work of that center or institute.

Screen shot of "Start a New Proposal" eSPA screen, with "Select Affiliated Unit(s)" pop-up menu displayed.
Only PIs with center or institute affiliation should select an affiliated unit.

The rule of thumb, then, is that if you are not affiliated with a center or institute, you will do nothing with the “Affiliated Unit(s)” field. Just skip over it and move on to the “Sponsor Deadline” field.

For more help with eSPA, check out other posts in our “Everyday eSPA” series, consult our quick start guide, or contact your OARS representative.

“Everyday eSPA” series posts:


Digital image by roaded via Pixabay. Keyboard and mouse photo by Vojtech Okenka. Both public domain.

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