NIH came to a realization in 2001 with over 45,000 grant applications coming through their doors that research funding is steadily on the rise and the easiest place to receive this money is the federal government. Social indicators such as 9/11, the aging baby boom generation and the research community becoming more aware of the process to receive grant money are contributing to over 70,000 grant applications slated to come into NIH in 2004 and these numbers are only going to increase significantly over the coming years. There are three grant application review cycles each year, which cause a surge of inbound applications during these cycles.
As volume increased, so did the costs for shipping and handling and the resources to distribute these paper-based applications to reviewers nationwide. Employees and reviewers were unable to access the grant information via a central, enterprise portal and the retrieval and management of the data was paper-based and manual.
The grants management solution NIH implemented, enabled a scalable approach to manage multiple document sources as well as unique content distribution. They now have electronic, searchable access of grant applications from an enterprise portal, allowing for customized distribution to the grant reviewers. Prior to this electronic process, the time to distribute applications was six to eight weeks. This process can now be done in two to three days.