Update: Per Nature News, “All [NIH] applications must be submitted through Grants.gov, according to agency spokesperson Bill Hall.”
Jiminy Cricket! A new funding mechanism covering hundreds of scientifically diverse research topics to be scored under new scoring procedures using new review criteria by as yet unidentified reviewers untrained in this process … and now, the feds suddenly realized grants.gov might not be up to the task of receiving 1.3 million submissions at 5 p.m. ET on April 27th.
Fortunately, OMB Director Peter Orszag is all over this in a recent memo:
One area of risk that has been identified is in the operation of Grants.gov. As the central portal where citizens may find and apply for competitive grants, Grants.gov has experienced an increasing volume of activity in the past several months. This load has far exceeded the throughput originally anticipated by the system and has at times resulted in noticeably degraded performance. In addition, the Recovery Act is expected to result in an approximate 60 percent additional increase in application volume to Grants.gov, putting the system at a significant risk of failure and thus potentially hampering Recovery Act implementation. After a close and diligent review of system limitations, we have determined this risk to be unacceptably high.
As a result, I am instructing the Department of Health and Human Services, the Federal agency that operates and maintains Grants.gov, and the General Services Administration, which serves as the facilitator of government-wide E-gov solutions, to work together to initiate immediate improvements designed to accommodate this expected volume increase.
I am further instructing Federal grant-making agencies to immediately identify alternative methods for accepting grant applications during the Recovery Act’s expected peak period to reduce demand on Grants.gov’s limited resources. These alternatives should focus on minimizing any disruption to the grants application processes. Federal agencies should submit recommended alternatives to their counterparts in OMB’s Resource Management Offices for review and approval by March 13, 2009.
Stay tuned, dear citizen …