Dr. Kolmerten makes good points about the barriers to grant submission posed by grants.gov to small institutions … but perhaps these small colleges do not have the appropriate oversight & compliance infrastructure to warrant their applying for NIH funding in the first place. And starting to review an electronic submission grant 2 weeks before the deadline … well, I won’t even go there.
Why Grants.gov Should Be Abolished
By Carol Kolmerten
“… Now those of us at small colleges long for those good old days [starts with anecdote about grant parties around the copier] as the advent of the monster Grants.gov has made grant-getting nigh impossible for us. … I do not know whose brilliant idea Grants.gov was, but it is clear that, as it now works, it is set up to benefit only large universities with a “grants office.” … At many colleges, like the one where I have taught for 28 years, there is no grants office — no cadre of workers hired to decipher the unreadable jargon or find the end of the maze that Grants.gov has created to keep applicants away from federal money. … Two weeks before the due date, I began editing Professor H’s [NIH] grant and we discussed the grant-submission process. … On the Friday before the grant was due, we sat at Professor H’s desktop. I entered my eRA Commons user name and password, and . . . it was refused. [she was trying to enter it at grants.gov rather than at the NIH eRA commons]…”
The tale of woe continues and makes good points about unnecessarily Byzantine bureaucracy, but the question remains again whether applicants such as this represent a good investment of taxpayer dollars.