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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University June 26, 2006 | Vol. 35 No. 38
HopkinsOne Begins Training for Grants-Application Program

By Jeanne Johnson

Last week, 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 electronically.

"I'll give you a moment to find yourselves," Schleicher said, as the trainees typed their names into a search function.

Co-trainer Gene Rutherford couldn't restrain his retort. "I've been working on that for years," he quipped.

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 occurring online.

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, 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 agencies.

After Johns Hopkins' new SAP software is launched in January 2007, the three systems--SAP, Coeus and be able to communicate. By the end of 2007, 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 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 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]," 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 process.

Since Coeus will connect with, 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, can be contacted from within Coeus," said Schleicher, the HopkinsOne Coeus expert. "Once submission has taken place, 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."


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