FDP: Grants.gov Update

The new Grants.gov PMO discussed the status of the system. Eben Trebino introduced the session:

Working with a system built 3 years ago that’s handling four times more capacity than it was designed to manage. Now approaching 130,000 applications being submitted through Grants.gov this year. Some problems have been experienced in the past week, and the team is working hard to fix them to improve the grantee experience. Developing a near-term architecture to address these issues, and a long-term architecture by the end of the year. Eben’s objective is to make Grants.gov as transparent as possible to the grantee/grantor community. Grants.gov is now more dynamic and vibrant than any other capability that’s out there. Some challenges are ahead — transitioning to Adobe, and potentially moving to Web-based applications.

Michael Pellegrino

25% growth in submissions so far in FY2008 (7.3% (8,853) of which are through system-to-system, and 12% of all submissions use the Adobe forms); 84% in AOR registration; and 3% growth in contact center calls.

Creating a separate listserve for Agency S2S concerns.

Adobe Versioning

In January we discussed Adobe versioning. The latest Adobe Reader is 8.1.2, and this is compatiable with all Grants.gov packages. If a user downloads and uses a package using this version, and another user in the organization opens the packages using an incompatible version of Adobe Reader (namely 7.0.8 or 8.0.1), the package becomes corrupted. Grants.gov has made a test application package available, to check users’ Adobe Reader version. This test code is now part of every Grants.gov package, so users will be able to self-assess whether their Adobe Readers are compatible. This applies whenever the form is opened, e.g. it checks on forms that are works-in-progress and being passed around between users. Note that Mac users should use OSX 10.4.3 or higher.

PureEdge submissions will be accepted through December 31, 2008, and the PureEdge system will be retired by June 20, 2009. Agencies can post Adobe packages right now, upon successful testing.

Many agencies are already 100% on Adobe; others are transitioning by September 2008; and yet others (mostly research grantors) will transition by December 2008.

SF424R+R update was posted to the Federal Register yesterday. The public has 30 days to comment, and then OMB has 30–60 days to respond to those comments. Grants.gov will then revise the forms, test, and implement into production. Agencies will have 60 days to test the new forms.

Q: The transition to Adobe was brought about when General Dynamics won the Grants.gov contract. Will we have to change form products again when the contract is recompeted?

A: No other transition is planned. If General Dynamics goes away, we’ll be sticking with Adobe. Adobe has been very accommodating to our requirements and complaints because they see us as part of their strategic plan. They are enabling us to look at ways to manage collaborative and complex applications using their technologies on the Web. So they are giving us capabilities we didn’t have before.

System Enhancements — Build 2008-01

Deployed April 12, 2008, including 20 change requests and included grantor and applicant enhancements.

Build 2008-02

Projected for late July/early August, including 28 change requests (not all of which may be implemented). Grantor and applicant enhancements (including S2S) are included, as are some Google Search enhancements.

“All About Grants”

Tips on how to get grants, with event schedules, and more information on how to apply and receive Federal grants.