[Office-of-research] Continuing Problems with Grants.gov Jeopardize UCR's Proposals

Bruce Morgan bruce.morgan at ucr.edu
Fri Mar 6 08:15:27 PST 2009

From:  Bruce Morgan

            Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research


To:       Principal Investigators and Unit Contract and Grant Analysts


Research administration colleagues from across the country are continuing to
report significant problems with the submission of proposals through
Grants.gov.  Most recently, it was reported that Grants.gov user IDs were
"disabled" and the institution reporting this problem was not able to get
the IDs reactivated.  Likewise, when they tried to establish new IDs, those
could not be activate as well.  


UCR is not immune from these types of problems.  Earlier this year, a
proposal arrived in the Office of Research one hour before the sponsor's
submission deadline.  Shortly after submitting the proposal, just one minute
before the deadline expired, the Office of Research received a notice
stating that the Contract and Grant Officer who submitted the proposal was
not an Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR).  We immediately
contacted the Grants.gov help desk and they confirmed that the submitter was
an AOR and directed us to resubmit the proposal.  After doing so, we were
contacted by the sponsor and told that they would not accept the proposal
because it was late (i.e., the sponsor received the second submission two
hours after the deadline expired).  Currently, we continue our efforts to
convince the sponsor to accept our proposal and have received additional
information from the Grants.gov help desk to support our request.


It is important to note that this situation could have been avoided if the
proposal had been submitted to the Office of Research in accordance with
UCR's long-established lead times.  The lead times are intended to allow
sufficient time to conduct an institutional review of the proposal, approve
it and ensure that it is submitted and accepted in advance of the sponsor's
deadline.  The UCR campus policy regarding the review, approval and
submission of proposals, which is available on the OR website at
http://or.ucr.edu/policies/policies.aspx?k=8.  The policy contains
information on the three business-day lead time for standard proposals, the
seven business-day lead time for non-standard proposals, and lists the
criteria for determining whether a proposal is standard or non-standard.
Additional information regarding proposal preparation and submission can
also be found on the OR website at


Please note that the Contract and Grant Officer
<http://or.ucr.edu/home/Staff.aspx?t=3>  assigned to your unit is available
to answer your questions regarding sponsor electronic proposal submission
systems, technical problems and administrative challenges associated with
such systems, and campus proposal submission policy and procedure.  In
addition, your Contract and Grant Officer is also available to meet
individually or with groups of researchers and/or administrators within a
unit to address their proposal-related questions, as well as provide
guidance and advice regarding strategies and good practices for planning
proposal submissions and avoiding known technical challenges with sponsor
electronic proposal submission systems.


The problems that we and our colleagues at other institutions are
experiencing are real, but their effect on UCR's proposals can be minimized
through careful planning.   It is clear that Grants.gov is failing the
research community but until it is replaced we will have to continue using
this system which means that if proposals are left to the deadline day for
submission there is no assurance they will be accepted by the sponsoring


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