Making the Case for a Proposal System-to-System Solution

System-to-system (S2S) technology is still relatively new in the grants world. was established in response to the Federal Financial Assistance Management Improvement Act of 1999, often referred to as Public Law 106-107, and the President’s 2002 Fiscal Year Management Agenda to improve government services to the public.

In the Summer of 2005, InfoEd submitted the first application via S2S to It was a proposal to NSF, which, unfortunately, was not funded. The first InfoEd client submission to via S2S was an application to NIH in the Summer of 2006. Since then, NIH has transitioned to electronic submission for all mechanisms except complex applications, which represent about 6% of NIH’s extramural portfolio. Complex applications are expected to transition to electronic submission later in 2012. Because has fully supported S2S alongside form-based submissions (originally PureEdge and now Adobe Forms), as NIH has transitioned their applications from paper to electronic submission, InfoEd’s S2S solution has been able to process more and more of the institutional NIH application portfolio.

InfoEd’s Proposal Development (PD) module provides additional functionality beyond supporting S2S submissions to Any proposal can be processed via InfoEd PD and electronically routed for internal institutional review and approval. Electronic routing facilitates the process of collecting reviews and signatures, collects approval information all in one place with no paper required, and provides an audit trail for later review. In 2009, InfoEd broadened support for S2S electronic submission via to include applications for agencies other than NIH with the release of dynamic S2S.

Dynamic S2S is a term InfoEd coined to reflect a change in how InfoEd’s PD module interface is constructed for each proposal. Traditionally, the PD/S2S interface pages were defined and closely reflected the nuances of NIH’s application requirements. Broadening PD/S2S to support submission of other agency proposals via necessitated a new approach to constructing the PD interface dynamically to reflect the unique requirements of each application package.

There are many reasons for an institution to choose to implement an S2S solution for submissions in lieu of using Adobe Forms. Often cited reasons include the ability to pre-fill many of the administrative data elements of the proposal, ability to pre-fill personnel data from stored profile information, ability to automate many calculations including F&A and inflation, and opportunity to provide agency or opportunity-specific validations that go beyond the minimum requirements of those defined in the Adobe Forms interface or opportunity package XML. Less readily available, are statistics around S2S relative to using Adobe Forms for proposal submission. NIH has recently provided data for Federal FY 2011 showing a substantially higher rate of success on the first submission for S2S proposals relative to Adobe Forms submitted proposals.

Electronic Competing Applications to NIH
Federal Fiscal Year 2012 S2S Adobe Forms
% applications without eRA system-identifiable errors in 1 submission 90% 72%
% applications without eRA system-identifiable errors in 2 submission 99% 94%
% applications without eRA system-identifiable errors in 3 submission 99.8% 98%


Further, NIH provided data on the percent of applications received in 2010 and 2011 that were submitted via S2S vs. Adobe Forms.

Submission Method for All Electronic Competing Applications to NIH Submission method for R01 Electronic Competing Applications to NIH
Fiscal Year S2S Adobe Forms S2S Adobe Forms
2010 25% 75% 32% 68%
2011 31% 69% 38.5% 61.5%


System-to-system technology has the potential to deliver better results for investigators, institutions and funding agencies, saving time and reducing the burden on everyone. Over 80% of the twenty-five institutions reporting the largest FY 2010 R&D expenditures identified in a recent National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NSF) publication, have or are implementing S2S proposal submission systems. Opportunities exist for small institutions to leverage S2S proposal submission technology as well. For additional information about InfoEd Global’s Proposal Development solution with dynamic S2S, please click here and submit an information request form.

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