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Re: Response to GEPPS posting Mike McCallister 02 Sep 1999 07:54 EST

It appears to me that the "oversight" aspects of this system are just
those that are cheap to include.  There are still no real protections
to our organizations and with  ever changing staff at foundations we
will inevitably have someone unknown to us propose as a member of our
organization, get a project funded, tell the press, then show up to
try to corner our institution into a bad agreement.  We have here not
a nifty new way of doing business, but a product sold prematurely, a


>Thanks for the very useful up-date on GEPPS.  The CFF has shown
>flexibility by extending the deadline.  The system should be very
>useful for application submissions and is a good parallel to the
>development of eRA systems at the Federal level.   I have a couple
>of points to mention as the system proceeds.
>First, while this may be true only at large universities, I suggest
>that it is not the faculty who will actually use the system.  They
>are busy with their research, teaching, and clinical duties.
>Rather it is their support staff and the central university grants office
>staff who will do the processing.  The system developers assumed it
>was the faculty who would do the nitty gritty work and did not
>open the system sufficiently to the administrators.  There is
>a weakness in that faculty support staff are to use the faculty
>members access code instead of having their own.  The system
>should be open to support personnel to carry out all the
>Second, in a related vein, by not having the system open to
>administrators, it is difficult for them to learn the system.
>Moreover, there should be some on-line "simulation" of the
>system to provide a training mechanism.  I wonder,
>even if faculty wanted to use the system, would they
>have the time to learn it as it is.  Perhaps it could be made
>more open to administrators so they can both learn it and
>demonstrate it to other users.
>Third, it may be that the confusion over by-passing the
>central grants office arose in a comparison to how Fastlane
>works.  In that system the faculty (or more likely some one
>on their staff) "sends" the file to the central office for review and
>dispatch to the sponsor.  GEPPS seems to allow the faculty and
>their staff to send the application directly to the sponsor.  While
>follow-up with a paper copy is a good stopgap measure, a fully
>electronic system with central grants office approval seems to be
>the optimum situation.  In the meantime, would it be possible for
>the central grants office to view and even obtain data from
>the electronic version?
>Another place for problems is that GEPPS differs markedly from both
>NIH and NSF in that those organizations went directly to the
>central grants office at each user site and engaged those people
>in the system first.  GEPPS seems to have neglected the central
>office and tried to engage the individuals least ready to use
>such a system.  The first our central office heard of GEPPS
>being required by CFF was when departmental research
>support staff contacted us for help.  Help we had difficulty
>giving as per my two earlier points on access and training.
>Perhaps private sponsors such as CFF and ACS do not
>realize the relationships between faculty and the central
>grants office as well as the Federal agencies do.  Teaching
>them of this is a task that RAMS might well take on.
>I would hope that GEPPS becomes more central
>grants office friendly and more open to research administrative
>staff.  From the what I could figure out about the system,
>not being a PI myself, it seems well organized and has great
>potential to bring eRA into the private sector.  If it
>were modelled more on the Federal eRA systems I think
>it would be fully successful.  Given RAMS expertise in
>the whole grants process I have confidence that we can
>expect contiuous improvement in GEPPS.
>Robert Beattie
>Senior Project Representative and
>Manager of electronic Research Administration
>Division of Research Development and Administration
>The University of Michigan
>--On Wed, Sep 1, 1999 4:03 PM -0400 Marilyn Keyes <xxxxxx@RAMS.COM> wrote:
> > This is in response to Nancy Dean's e-mail about the foundation commons
> > site, GEPPS (Grantmakers Electronic Proposal Processing System).
> > We especially appreciate Nancy's alert about a porn site having the .com
> > version of GEPPS. This information has caught us and the GEPPS Consortium
> > (the American Cancer Society, and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation) unaware,
> > as the .com site was a private web page until quite recently. The move to
> > a new name -- -- had already started, and
> > this pushes it to top priority.
> > The goal of the consortium is to bring the electronic grants submission
> > process to the private community, just as it is being done for the federal
> > community. Research and Management Systems, Inc. (RAMS), has built the web
> > site for the Consortium and provides its support.
> > does, in fact, require organizational approval for
> > any grant application. Because currently the electronic submission process
> > cannot provide a way to attach signatures, a paper copy containing
> > signatures MUST be received by the deadline in order for the grant to be
> > considered. The Consortium highly values the work of
> > research administrators in providing assistance to faculty and researchers
> > in the grant management process. The site states that GEPPS provides the
> > "Ability to submit secure proposals from PI's with appropriate Research
> > Office approval." If a PI submits an electronic submission and does not
> > follow that with a cover sheet with all appropriate signatures, the
> > application will not go forward.
> > Recently CFF made a decision to require electronic submission along with a
> > paper copy submission, and is the route used for
> > electronic submission.
> > ACS does not require the electronic process and is providing it as an
> > alternative for applicants beginning to learn how to use the web for doing
> > business.
> > If using electronic submission, you must have either Adobe Acrobat
> > Exchange (3.0) or Adobe Acrobat (4.0) -- one or the other of these
> > software systems is required to save information in the .pdf format and
> > to work with the Acrobat forms that make up the application. Adobe
> > technology was chosen because it enables the PI to download the
> > application form from the site, work on the
> > application off the web as convenient, copy it, circulate it, and upload
> > the finished application. There were some early problems using Adobe
> > Exchange 3.0 that have been cleared up. We apologize for problems anyone
> > incurred trying to use 3.0 in the past and have been assured by recent
> > applicants that 3.0 can be used successfully.
> > has a FAQ and staff available for assistance at all
> > times to help applicants with the electronic submission process. We can't
> > claim a perfect record, but consider customer service our #1 priority.
> > Additionally, we provide users with the ability to provide specific
> > suggestions on making the process easier, and have implemented some great
> > ideas submitted by our user base.
> > Please let us know of any suggestions or comments. The URL for feedback is
> >
> >
> > Marilyn Keyes
> > Vice President, Research and Management Systems, Inc. (RAMS)
> >
> > 301-975-0103   Fax 301-975-0109
> >
> >
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