HopkinsOne team lead Tim Schleicher was helping to
guide a class at Johns Hopkins at Eastern, where 13 people
were being trained in Coeus (pronounced ko'-ee-us), the new
program that thousands of Johns Hopkins faculty and staff
will soon be using to prepare and submit grant proposals
"I'll give you a moment to find yourselves,"
Schleicher said, as the trainees typed their names into a
Co-trainer Gene Rutherford couldn't restrain his
retort. "I've been working on that for years," he
Most of the group already knew each other from their
various roles in research administration, so after two
hours of training and with lunch on the horizon, they were
getting a little loose. But their training was right on
track, and they were taking their task very seriously.
Participants in last week's class were part of a first
layer of people on the "front lines," who are preparing to
train departmental users in classrooms. They will begin
training the first 110 of those users July 24. After that,
training will be ongoing, with most of it eventually
Once Coeus goes live in July, these trainees also will
be responsible for answering questions from their
respective departmental users, so they expect to start
fielding calls soon.
As with any major change, there is some trepidation on
the part of new users, but "it seems pretty straightforward
to me," said Joan Warfield, a senior sponsored projects
officer for the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. "There
is a lot of information, but mostly it's just a matter of
learning new commands and icons."
The Coeus system, developed at MIT and named after the
Greek Titan for knowledge, will tie directly into
Grants.gov, the federal government's portal for grant
submissions. That system-to-system connection will allow
Johns Hopkins to control the creation, routing, approval
and ultimate submission of grant applications to funding
After Johns Hopkins' new SAP software is launched in
January 2007, the three systems--SAP, Coeus and
Grants.gov--will be able to communicate. By the end of
2007, Grants.gov should be the single grants submission
portal for all 26 federal funding agencies, representing
more than $450 billion in annual research funding.
Most faculty members will be trained in Coeus 4.2, a
version that will be released in the fall.
Until that time, researchers can continue to use
PureEdge, a program that applicants are currently required
to download in order to prepare and view Grants.gov
submission forms. Two of PureEdge's shortcomings--that it
has Macintosh compatibility issues and is not
Web-based--will be corrected with the new system. Coeus is
compatible with Macs, and because it is Web-based,
applicants can work on proposals simultaneously.
Coeus is already in use by some 90 colleges and
universities, and developers are constantly enhancing the
product, said Cheryl Howard, assistant provost for
university research projects administration at Johns
Hopkins. In fact, MIT plans to provide new and updated
versions of Coeus every six months or so, and Howard is on
the steering committee that will play a pivotal role in
making enhancement recommendations.
Although Grants.gov will be the single portal for
applications, "different agencies will still have their own
systems, with different requirements and policies for each
system," she said. That means that some problems might
arise. "Coeus should help faculty and researchers deal with
some of the bugs and glitches that can accompany any new
electronic initiative [like Grants.gov]," Howard said.
"It's the best tool we've found."
During the transition period, Howard recommends that
grant applicants submit their proposals three to five days
before the deadline in case any glitches occur in the
Since Coeus will connect with Grants.gov, faculty and
researchers can use Coeus to search for and select grant
application opportunities. Then, Coeus will receive
application instructions, check to make sure that all the
required data is filled out and route the application for
approvals. "At any point in the grant application process,
Grants.gov can be contacted from within Coeus," said
Schleicher, the HopkinsOne Coeus expert. "Once submission
has taken place, Grants.gov and Coeus continue to
communicate regarding the status of the application until
it has been received by the funding agency. At that point,
faculty and researchers use agency mechanisms to track the
progress of the application."
It may take a while before any new users are experts,
Coeus co-trainer Marge Dolly told the class training last
week, "but we'll know what we need to know."