CWRU selects new proposal-management system to ease grant application process

Faculty members soon will find applying for grants easier and faster, as the university transitions to a new proposal-management system during the next year.

Each year Case Western Reserve professors and other researchers submit about 2,500 grants, securing more than $400 million to support their projects. Yet the system that manages that workflow is an inadequate amalgam of ad hoc efforts. After an extensive assessment process involving a formal committee and open demonstration sessions, the university selected Huron Consulting Group’s Click Portal software. The company will begin custom designing the university’s system this week, with the portal expected to be fully implemented by the summer of 2013.

Throughout the design phase, faculty and staff members will have ongoing opportunities to learn about proposed design options and offer their perspectives.

The new system will simplify the application process, help ensure accurate electronic submissions and enable timely processing of extensions and renewals, said Suzanne Rivera, associate vice president for research.

“For a research enterprise of our size and complexity, we need a state-of-the-art product that fully utilizes new technology platforms and integrates seamlessly with PeopleSoft and other systems,” she said.

Click Portal will include a personalized dashboard feature that will allow users to see all pending and open projects as well as track where each project is in the process and route it as needed.

“The added transparency of the status dashboard will reduce everyone’s anxiety because they’ll have a great sense of control over their work,” Rivera said.

Click Portal is used at large research universities across the country and allows system-to-system submission for National Institutes of Health grants. This option means that staff in the Office of Research Administration no longer will have to upload documents manually to the federal government’s grant submission portal. Eliminating this step will save time and reduce the possibility that a grant application is submitted without a key page or pages.

Other benefits include online budget development and auto-population of fields, which cuts down on time and human errors that can lead to a rejected proposal, Rivera said.

“Finally, with Click we’ll be able to provide much more robust and meaningful data to senior executive leadership about our research activities—the kind of information they really need for strategic planning and resource deployment decisions,” Rivera said.