March 17, 2009
The Association of American Universities (AAU) and the Council on Government Relations (COGR) recently sent a letter to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Directer Peter Orszag on the need to overhaul the Grants.gov system. AAU and COGR explain that Grants.gov, initiated as a unified grants application and submission portal, has proven unable to cope with the volume of grant submissions -even under normal circumstances. They go on to express that the volume of applications generated by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will only worsen the situation.
An announcement from AAU reads as follows:
“The seriousness of the technical problems became clear last week at the annual meeting of the AAU Senior Research Officers (SROs), where it was reported that some AAU institutions have failed to meet grant submission deadlines because grant applications were delayed or lost by the Grant.gov system. The SROs approved a statement urging action and agreed to work with AAU staff to seek changes to the system.
Although OMB is working to improve Grants.gov and has told federal agency heads to identify alternative methods for accepting grant applications in the short term, some agencies, including the National Institutes of Health, have no back-up system. Clearly a longer-term alternative to Grants.gov is needed. Based on the discussion at the SRO meeting, we will urge OMB to move to a web-based system, similar to the FastLane interactive system used by the National Science Foundation.”