June 19, 2003

TCG Wins USDA E‑grants Contract

Significant step in Grants.gov integration for USDA.

Washington, D.C., June 19, 2003: Turner Consulting Group, Inc. (TCG), a Washington DC-based government IT contractor, has been awarded a $1,399,955 contract to build the second phase of a new grants management system for the United States Department of Agriculture’s Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES).

CSREES is leading USDA’s e‑grants implementation efforts. Under the contract, TCG will help CSREES develop more efficient, integrated, and cost-effective methods of electronic grants management. “TCG will implement components that will enable the agency to integrate with Grants.gov, the government-wide grant application system that is currently under development,” notes Daniel Turner, TCG’s President. “This is the kind of project that all grant-making agencies will need to take on. We’re proud that our years of grants management systems development expertise will help USDA satisfy this part of the President’s Management Agenda.”

CSREES’s vision is to develop a system that will help USDA meet the requirements of the Government Paperwork Elimination Act and of PL 106–107, and be responsive to the needs of the grantee community. CSREES receives approximately 6,000 applications per year, and makes 2,000 awards per year. The new system will enable the agency to receive and process grant proposals in a purely electronic form. USDA officials expect that the system will significantly reduce the time it takes to process grants. The project follows the White House’s mandate for all Federal agencies to streamline grants management processes.

The CSREES e‑grants project is the second such award to TCG from USDA. Under the first contract TCG developed a Web-based peer-review system that allows reviewers all over the world to review and evaluate 6,000 applications a year in a secure environment. That peer-review system (PRS) is integrated with CSREES’s in-house database that allows agency officials to manage the process from their desks, bypassing the mail room and the fax machine entirely.

TCG’s first task under the new contract is to create a Communications and Distribution System (CDS), the next piece of critical infrastructure that will enable USDA CSREES to accept and process grant applications electronically. The CDS will receive proposals from Grants.gov, process them according to CSREES’s business rules, and parse the appropriate information and attachments into the agency’s internal databases and management systems. TCG will be assisted in this task by Analytical Solutions Inc. (ASI).

TCG has delivered e‑grants services to the Department of Agriculture, the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs. TCG developed the government’s inventions and patents reporting portal, Interagency Edison (http://www.iedison.gov), and the first prototype of an inter-agency grants portal, the Federal Commons. The company is currently working on electronic grants and other Web-based application projects in several government agencies.

About Turner Consulting Group
Turner Consulting Group (TCG) specializes in delivering high quality, individually tailored Web application and integration solutions to the Federal government.

TCG was one of the fastest-growing privately-held companies in the United States in 2001, as ranked by Inc. magazine. The firm has been on Washington Technology’s Fast 50.

TCG is at the forefront of Federal E‑Gov initiatives. TCG focuses on helping government agencies use the power of the Internet and the Web to better interact with the public, and to do its internal work better. Past projects have won awards for their groundbreaking achievements, including piloting the first inter-agency grants management system (the Federal Commons), and creating the first and only inter-agency government system to receive secure information from the general public. That system, Interagency Edison (http://www.iedison.gov), was built in 1995 for NIH’s specific needs. Today the system serves the invention and patent reporting requirements of 16 Federal agencies.

The Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) provides the focus to advance a global system of research, extension and higher education in the food and agricultural sciences and related environmental and human sciences to benefit people, communities, and the nation. CSREES research, extension and education leadership is provided through programs in Plant and Animal Production, Protection, and Processing; Natural Resources and Environment; Rural, Economic and Social Development; and Families, 4‑H, and Nutrition; Competitive Grants; Science and Education Resources Development; and Information Systems and Technology Management (ITSM). For more information on the CSREES E‑Grants project, see http://www.csrees.usda.gov/business/other_links/egov/csrees/egrants.html.

About Grants.gov (formerly ‘E‑Grants’)
The Federal government awards over $350-billion in grants annually. The grants are awarded through over 600 programs managed by 26 Federal agencies. The administration of these grants varies from program to program. It has become critical to standardize and streamline grants management processes, so that grant applicants are not faced with a bewildering and daunting array of different forms and requirements.

By allowing applicants to apply for Federal grants electronically through the simplified, unified e‑grants systems, grants management will be easier and redundancies will be eliminated. The e‑grants systems will make transactions with the government for obtaining financial assistance easier, cheaper, quicker, and more comprehensible.

The Grants.gov (formerly ‘E‑Grants’) initiative is expected to be the impetus for agencies to establish new Government-wide standards for relationships with grantees. Through work teams empowered to question and challenge the bases of current practices, the agencies will develop common data standards and provide a common electronic storefront for the grantee community — Grants.gov, which is currently under development and being managed by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In addition, the agencies will seek to identify and disseminate best practices, change organizational paradigms to enable acceptance of these changes, and evaluate progress and performance in grants processes. For more information, see http://www.grants.gov/.