Getting More out of InfoEd’s Proposal Development Module

Institutions using InfoEd’s Grants and Contracts solution are familiar with the use of InfoEd’s Proposal Development module to support electronic submission of proposals to the National Institutes of Health and other US government agencies via using system-to-system technology. InfoEd Global was one of the first system-to-system solutions available and is widely recognized as an industry leader in this field. InfoEd’s Proposal Development (PD) module can facilitate myriad activities beyond electronic proposal submission and can assist institutions with automating virtually any internal grant-related process requiring submission and review.

Some institutions require notification of administration regarding intent to submit a proposal well in advance of the actual proposal submission itself. This may be to verify institutional eligibility or to ensure appropriate resources are prepared to review and authorize the proposal at the time of submission. Typically, only a small amount of key information is required at this stage, such as the PI and perhaps other key staff; anticipated institutional commitments of space, funds, specialized facilities, etc.; sponsor and opportunity or program information; approximate funding being requested; and so forth.

In a similar vein, institutions often solicit internal pre-proposals from those investigators interested in submitting proposals for limited submission opportunities in order to facilitate the process of selecting the individual(s) who will be allowed to submit a proposal to the sponsor. In this scenario, the information collected may be a bit more comprehensive, almost certainly including a brief statement of work and perhaps demonstration of any preliminary data or relevant experience to support the proposed work.

These scenarios are easily managed using the pre-award modules in InfoEd’s Grants and Contracts suite – Proposal Development and Proposal Tracking.

Those familiar with InfoEd’s Proposal Development module know that templates drive the proposal development interface. InfoEd is installed with a core selection of templates to support electronic submission to the US system. Selection of the appropriate template for any given electronic submission proposal is determined automatically, without need for user interaction.

InfoEd’s PD module can be used to handle any kind of submission, however – its utility is not limited to proposal submission. Institutions can define an unlimited number of custom templates to meet their needs. A growing number of InfoEd PD clients use one or more custom templates to collect proposal information for sponsors or opportunities that cannot be submitted via S2S to This allows institutions to have a single electronic method for submitting all proposal information for institutional review and approval and a single system of record for tracking such approvals.

Custom templates can be very simple, essentially a single tab for uploading sponsor forms and other related materials. Alternatively, a more comprehensive custom template can include tabs to solicit other discrete data to: collect information on personnel and budget; track IRB, IACUC or other internal compliance approvals; provide internal allocation data and other information needed to support management reporting.

Custom templates can also be crafted to support pre-application notification of intent to submit a proposal, or to support an internal pre-application competition for a limited submission opportunity. The details of the appropriate structure for any given PD template will be unique to each situation and will be familiar to experienced InfoEd PD administrators. However, there are some key elements of template construction that merit highlighting along with reference to other functionality beyond the construction of the template itself.

Every PD template includes two tabs by default – the Setup Questions tab and the Finalize tab. These tabs are required to ensure that key data are collected and to collate and provide access to the system-generated combined PDF of the application materials and submit the proposal for internal review. InfoEd PD provides easy-to-use tools applicable to these tabs as well as many other tabs that may be chosen for inclusion in a custom template, allowing the administrator to customize their user experience significantly by hiding/displaying specific elements, establishing appropriate default values for certain elements, and adding custom instructions and guidance as appropriate.

By configuring the system with specific proposal type values for Pre-Submission Notification or Limited Submission Pre-Application, for example, proposals assigned those values can be automatically processed through distinct internal review and approval routes designed specifically to address the institutional requirements for those kinds of submissions. Proposal Type values and their use are fully controlled by the institutional PD administrator through standard configuration tools.

After the Investigator submits his/her proposal for internal review, the defined routing path will be applied automatically and will request and track institutionally-defined, required approvals. Upon completion of the approval path, relevant administrators (and the PI, if desired) can be notified. Research administrators can communicate with the PI using the communications tools in Proposal Tracking (PT), which ensures that all proposal-related communications are tracked and available for later review. Email responses from the PI can be automatically linked to the PT record as well to provide a full communications log for the record. As appropriate, standard letters can be pre-defined and, using built-in mail-merge functionality, notices to applicants can be quickly and easily processed individually or in bulk.

InfoEd’s Grants and Contracts solution provides a comprehensive set of tools and functionality to help institutions manage the complexities of internal processes associated with proposal submission and review. For additional information on the capabilities described above or other ways you can use InfoEd’s Proposal Development and Proposal Tracking modules to automate your institutional research administration business processes, please contact InfoEd Global Support. For ongoing updates relevant to grants and contracts administration, you can follow our Grants and Contracts blog.

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