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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University March 27, 2006 | Vol. 35 No. 27
HopkinsOne gears up for fed grant proposals

User training begins for July launch of Coeus software

By Glenn Small

In a training room at Mount Washington last week, the future of how Johns Hopkins will prepare and submit federally sponsored research projects was beginning to take shape, as nine staff from across the divisions began to learn how to use new electronic grant proposal software.

Developed by MIT and named after the Greek Titan of knowledge, Coeus (pronounced ko'-ee-us) will be the software system that Johns Hopkins launches in July to enable faculty and research staff to develop and submit electronically federal research grant proposals.

The government is moving toward requiring all 26 federal funding agencies to receive grant applications electronically via something called

"Eventually we will use Coeus to submit all grant proposals to," said Susan Doane, a senior sponsored projects officer for the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and one of those being trained to instruct others in using the new system.

Originally scheduled to be launched in July 2007 as part of the Hopkins-One project, the Coeus module was moved up after the National Institutes of Health last year announced they would require their most common grant submissions to be made electronically in October 2006. Although the NIH has since pushed that deadline to February 2007, Johns Hopkins will still launch Coeus this summer.

HopkinsOne is the multiyear effort to modernize and upgrade the Johns Hopkins business systems using an industry-leading enterprise software called SAP, which stands for systems, applications and products.

With more than $1.2 billion received each year in federal research funding, Johns Hopkins is the leading research institution in the United States.

Currently, only a few of the 26 federal funding agencies require submissions through, but that number will increase over time. Johns Hopkins research faculty are already using in the submission process, but the initial method involves downloading forms and sending them back via e-mail.

With the Coeus software, the process will be more seamless.

In this first phase, research administrative staff and faculty will use the Coeus system to prepare and submit required grant applications; when HopkinsOne goes live, no sooner than January 2007, the Coeus system will interact with the SAP software, and the SAP software will be used to produce the same reports available today in ReSource and to aid in budget tracking, said Tim Schleicher, the sponsored projects team lead expert and point person for Coeus.

But first, those who will train staff at the department levels need to be trained themselves, so that's what Schleicher was doing last week, walking them through the steps of setting up users, assigning roles and creating rules and workflow maps.

One of the issues on which they were working was deciding how many people would need training and when. Doane from Arts and Sciences said she thinks her division may focus on administrative staff in departments that apply for a lot of NIH grants, such as Biology, Chemistry, and Psychological and Brain Sciences.

Doane said that she had thought the program excellent when she had first looked at it, and now, she said, she is impressed by its recent enhancements.

Some 90 colleges and universities use the Coeus software, but only a few are members of the Coeus Consortium's Steering Committee. Johns Hopkins is one of those, and Cheryl Howard, assistant provost for university research projects administration, is its current representative. "By having a seat at the table, Johns Hopkins is more than a customer," Howard said. The institution will have a voice and influence in how the software is developed and enhanced over time, she said.

One of the advantages of the electronic system is the paperless internal approval process. Once a faculty member prepares the proposal, the research administrative staff, department chairs and others can view and approve the grant application, without passing paper around.

"I think this will be great," said Ruth Hurd, a senior administrative financial coordinator in the School of Nursing and one of those being trained last week. She noted that the electronic approval process means collaborations across divisions will be even easier, and faculty who are traveling will be able to work on and submit grant proposals from elsewhere, as the tool is Web-based.

"Another advantage is that the software does all of the budget calculations and feeds them right into the forms, so there's no chance of errors in re-entering the data," Hurd said.

Over the next few months, research administrative staff will begin training departmental staff and some faculty, with the help and support of the HopkinsOne training staff. Kevin Kobylski, project manager for business transformation, said that the task will be challenging, but the Hopkins community is up for it.

"It's a tight timeline, but it's also a tight community," he said. "We do think we'll be able to do it quickly and of a quality to reflect Johns Hopkins."


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