Sponsored Programs, Research and External Engagement

We foster a community of research by helping faculty and students advance scholarship, and growing opportunities to partner with corporations and foundations.

Supporting and Growing Research and Programming

Sponsored Programs, Research and External Engagement (SPREE) promotes research and scholarship, by supporting faculty, staff, and students in readying research and innovation projects, acquiring extramural funding, and appropriately administering active sponsored projects.

We oversee research compliance pertinent to sponsor agreements and government regulations, and build mutually-beneficial relationships with our corporate and foundation partners.

contact us

Derham Hall | Room 1
Mailbox #4286

Kira Dahlk, Director
651.690.8820 | Email Kira

Jon Okstad, Assistant Director
651.690.8822 | Email Jon

Grant Proposals and Management

We can help you prepare requests for funding, manage your awards, partner with corporations and foundations, build student internship and employment pipelines, and negotiate equipment and facility use. We also offer trainings, educational services and expertise to assist you in research development or securing funding and partnerships.

Browse our curated list of current funding opportunities, and use our one-stop shop in Kateway for proposal writing, budget development, and award management.

Research Integrity and Compliance

We are charged with oversight and support of research compliance at the University. SPREE is the administrative home of the Institutional Review Board (IRB), and administers Mentor IRB, the University’s research protocol management system used by faculty, students, academic advisers, and staff engaged in conducting human subjects research.


  • Fall 2018

    3M Grants Continue to Provide Education Opportunities for Students in Sales

    The partnership between St. Kate’s and 3M continues to grow thanks to Director Mary Jacobs’ three funded grants totaling $58,000. Jacobs is the director of the Center for Sales Innovation, which is housed under the School of Business. Established in 1998 with the support of 3M, the Center focuses on developing successful and ethical sales leaders, as well as advancing the field of sales, through educational opportunities to students and sales professionals.

    A 3M Frontline Travel Grant ($8,000) will support student interns as they travel to the Frontline annual conference. 3M’s Frontline Sales program is an amazing opportunity for students to work for a Fortune 500 company and sell for one of 3M’s 26 divisions in either inside or field-based sales positions. Internships and conference travel provide students opportunities to engage in hands-on experiences that not only engage them in work that will be applicable after St. Kate’s, but also will provide them the opportunity to network with other students and professionals in similar fields.

    Grants totaling $50,000 ($25, 000 each) will support the development of St. Kate’s healthcare sales certificate online program and the Sales for Social Impact course. Support for the development of the online program, intended to open in fall 2019, will allow St. Kate’s to attract healthcare clinical professionals from across the country who are interested in careers in sales and business. This class will provide education on sales fundamentals, CRM-Salesforce, role play experience, negotiating skills, time and territory management, presentation, account management, and others—that prepares students to transition to careers in healthcare sales at 3M. The Sales for Social Impact class teaches principles of social entrepreneurship and provides students hands-on experience to work with a client organization on a business plan. Students will use their marketing, sales, and other coursework to provide a recommendation that will improve the organization’s’ operations.

  • Fall 2018

    St. Kate’s awarded two grants from the National Science Foundation

    The St. Kate’s Biology Department will soon be adding a new piece of equipment to its lab thanks to a $118,176 Major Research Instrumentation grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded to Professors Paula Furey, Andrea Kalis, Tami McDonald and Kay Tweeten. The funding supports the purchase of a fluorescence microscope, which will help advance research and training at the University.

    This modern microscope and data analysis software will enhance research programs, stimulate new collaborations among faculty and allow students to be more involved. With its addition, students will also have more opportunities to learn microscopy, imaging techniques and image analysis across a variety of disciplines, including: ecology, genetics, molecular biology, cell biology and developmental biology.

    Also receiving an NSF grant is the Education Department, whose late-phase Design and Development project to create a K-12 classroom observation protocol for integrated STEM instruction in science and/or engineering settings will receive $139,049 in funding. This project will use more than 500 classroom videos to design an observation protocol that can be used in a variety of educational contexts through an online platform. Professor Beth Whalen serves as primary investigator on this grant.

    "Each of these prestigious NSF grants will advance research and scholarship at St. Kate's, with direct benefits to our students," said Kira Dahlk, director of Sponsored Programs, Research and External Engagement at St. Kate's. "From Dr. Whalen's study, education students will learn improved methods for teaching STEM in K-12 settings, with ripple benefits to children in those classrooms. The acquisition of the widefield fluorescence microscope greatly enhances research capacity at the University, and will expand the types and diversity of research questions biology faculty and students can explore."

    The NSF provides funds for research and education through grants and cooperative agreements to higher education institutions, K-12 school systems, business, information science organizations and research organizations throughout the U.S. Of the approximately 40,000 project proposals received each year, about 11,000 are funded.