All three of the GMLOB consortia (NSF, Education, and HHS/ACF) gave an overview of their offerings today. Notes follow the jump...
Research.gov - National Science Foundation
Kim Deutsch, Stacie Boyd, David Sanders, and Rick Howington (USDA CSREES, partnered with NSF)
Research.gov is NSF's vision is for enhancing customer service for grantees, and streamlining, and standardizing processes among partners.
Target outcomes: reducing the administrative burden for the grants community by increasing access to services and information.
The idea is to deliver low-cost, high-mpact offerings that deliver value to grantees firstIt will be a modular approach, and conservative, focusing on grantees first.
NSF was selected as a consortia lead because of its focus on research, its experience with FastLane, and experience in other egov activities.
CSREES has been involved for over a year. First pilot was a pilot to share data at a high level. Objective is to have NSF and CSREES data more integrated with each other, so information can be delivered more easily to grantees. This pilot service (focused on application status) will be released this Fall.
Both partners have systems of various ages and states, so there are numerous technical challenges associated with the endeavor.
In the Fall (most likely December), Research.gov will have a production release. This will include:
• Grant Application Status
• Transparency Act Search - Make award information from NSF and CSREES available through the portal, including publication citations and award abstracts. This supplements the information to be made available through FFATA.
• Policy Library - Consolidates Federal-wide and agency-wide policies, guides, T&C's, and instructions that applicants and agencies need to conduct grants business.
• Research Highlights - View highlighted research activities at NSF and CSREES.
• Portal - Single access-point to conduct grants management business. This boils down to a new database and a portal server. Institutions will be able to administer their own user's access to the portal (much like the eRA Commons, I assume).
Next phase may include functionality for research progress report, and financial reporting.
The advertised benefits to the research community include:
• Simplifies the research community's access to information and grant services for multiple federal agencies
• Facilitates timely notification of the award review process and decisions
• Provides modern online capabilities for conducting business with federal research agencies
• Helps researchers manage their grant portfolio
• Saves time by providing fast and easy access to participating agencies' grants management services
• Helps research complu with federal-wide reporting requirements
NSF wants to form partnerships with grantees and agencies around Research.gov. Kim Deutsch noted that agencies could be members of more than one consortia, using services in an a la carte fashion from each, or around particular grant types.
For more information, call the Research.gov Team on 703-292-8150 / firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q [Bob Beattie]: Why have other agencies beyond CSREES have not yet joined Research.gov. Where are the rest, he asked?
A [David Sanders]: Federal agencies need to have a "meeting of the minds" following OMB's latest directive.
A [Mary Santonastasso]: There has been a lot of interest from research agencies across government. The focus on FFATA has prevented agencies making a commitment to particular leads, and OMB deciding whether there would be additional leads. At the GPC meeting last week, OMB cleared this up -- agencies have to sign an MOU with a provider by the end of Q1 or present an exception request. This means that, now, agencies know they have to make a decision or give a reason why they cannot do so. One case where an exception may be provided is where a shared service relationship already exists. NSF has done outreach with 9 other agencies.
Q [John Rodman]: Where does NIH stand on this right now?
A [Megan Columbus]: Like other agencies, NIH needs to do an analysis and then make a decision. NIH already serves other HHS agencies and the VA now.
Q [Bob Beattie]: Who will be given access to the system? Concern about privacy and proprietary nature of the system.
A [David Sanders]: Research.gov is a set of business applications and research content. Some aspects of both will be public and others non-public. The Tranparency Act feature will be public.
Q [Ken Forstmeier]: Is there any thought about e-authentication being done through "inner-federated" architecture?
A [Dave Sanders]: A pilot of this has been done, around a year ago. We're continuing to look at it.
Q [unknown]: If an agency comes on board but later finds out that Research.gov doesn't meet their needs, what do they do? And if an agency submits an exception but has it rejected, what happens?
A [Dave Sanders]: OMB should answer that question.
G5 - Department of Education
Tony Cavataio, Angel Santa, Tremayne Cobb
Education is working on FDP collaborations in regards to their research grant portfolio.
G5 is a full end-to-end GM system, developed from scratch, to replace GAPS (which is also an e-payments system).
Phase 1 (November 2007) - Payment Functions: Drawdown capabilities; base system architecture
Phase 2 (2008) - Pre-Award Functions: Planning and scheduling; application (notice & receipt) peer review process
Phase 3 (2009) - Post-Award Functions: Grant performance and financial monitoring; grant close-out
Advantages of Phase 1
- Enhanced user control with personal profile and online account maintenance
- New wanrings for duplicate payment requests
- New descrptive pament flag status
- More descriptive error-messaes
- <Others...I need to type faster!>
- New on-line training and help functions
More information about G5 will be postdd on the e-Payments site. Online training will be available in October 2007. For most users, it should be a seamless transition, guided by links that will be sent to users.
Sources of info:
- http://www.G5.gov (after the go-live)
- G5 hot-line 888-336-8930
Q [Jean Feldman]: What constitutes "Planning and Scheduling"?
A [Angel Santa]: Preparing packages, solicitation, etc. -- everything up to Grants.gov.
Q [Ron Splittgerber]: Given the recent OMB announcement, where do you see Education participating? Are you soliciting other agencies to participate?
A [Angel Santa]: Started with GAPS requirement but intent is to build a flexible system that can be used by others. We are actively reaching out to other agencies to have them join the G5 consortia. We want to understand others, and now is the ideal time as we start Phase 2 and develop requirements for that phase. We want to build a base system that can accommodate others' business needs.
GrantSolutions.gov - Health & Human Services / Administration for Children & Families
Partnership includes ANA, ADD, AOA, IHS, CMS, PHS, HRSA, USDA FSIS, Treasury CDFI Fund, IRS. Potential partners include EPA, VA, and SSA.
Comprehensive life-cycle processes: Notice of Award; grantee reporting (including SF-PPR [Performance Progress Report])
Working to establish common solutions, such as Financial Status Report (FFR), GM to GM interfaces, sub-grantee information, and FFATA.
The center supports a wide range of grants, with economies driven by scale and lots of partners
Further info: email@example.com; 202-690-8604
Q [Bob Beattie]: What's the relationship with Grants.gov?
A [Michael Curtis]: We treat Grants.gov as a service but other agencies, which may not use Grants.gov, can direct grantees to apply through the system.
Q [Bob Beattie]: Please explain the registration process for GrantSolutions.gov. It looks like individual PI's register on the system, not organizations.
A [Michael Curtis]: Organizations should register, and handle all registrations for individuals. E-mail Michael for more information on this.
Q [Ken Forstmeier]: You say that research agencies should look at NSF and block grant agencies should look at Education. But NIH does research grant-making.
A [Michael Curtis]: Jack (CIO of NIH) and I need to sit down and figure out a strategy. OMB hasn't given a lot of guidance regarding the exception process and we'll figure out what to do after that.
Q [Bob Beattie]: I thought that HUD wants also a GMLOB service provider.
A [Michael Curtis]: HUD applied to be a GMLOB provider but OMB hasn't selected them at this time.
Ron Splittgerber noted that slides from the session will be available on the FDP Web site after the meeting.