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 Grants.gov.
"Eventually we will use Coeus to submit all grant
proposals to Grants.gov," 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 Grants.gov, but that
number will increase over time. Johns Hopkins research
faculty are already using Grants.gov 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
In this first phase, research administrative staff and
faculty will use the Coeus system to prepare and submit
required Grants.gov 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."