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Sponsored Programs Assurance

Vanessa Peoples
Vanessa L. Peoples
Associate Director of Sponsored Programs Assurance

The Sponsored Programs Assurance (SPA) group performs process efficiency and transaction-level effectiveness reviews across the university including the Schools of Medicine and Nursing. This includes both non-clinical and clinical sponsored research reviews.

The annual SPA project plan is developed through:

  • Holding discussions with area leaders across Duke
  • Attending the Research Administration Continuous Improvement (RACI) Committee meetings to understand its areas of focus or concern
  • Keeping current on new regulations and trends affecting sponsored programs

The SPA plan includes risk-based reviews as well as reviews in areas with newly created or implemented policies, processes, leadership or technology. Many reviews are horizontal in nature, examining processes and controls utilized across many departments. Some reviews are vertical, examining one or more areas within one department, division or center.

Formed in early 2016, the SPA group originally began by focusing on basic or non-clinical sponsored research and during 2017 expanded the plan to include sponsored clinical research. Because sponsored research is at the core of Duke’s mission, the areas served by SPA are broad reaching and include central offices in addition to those areas directly performing research.