This Web-based program was developed in conjunction with 43 private granting foundations. The cost for these granting agencies to design an application through ProposalCENTRAL can range from about $15,000 to $150,000 per granting agency. It's free to users, however, who submitted 9,300 applications through ProposalCENTRAL in 2007.
Fewer trees: This application submission tool bypasses the paper application and review process that has clogged private agencies for years. Like Cayuse, once you create a profile on ProposalCENTRAL, it can apply your basic information to any application you work on.
Application hub: Researchers can sign in and access the multiple grant applications they may be working on, track application status, and look at past awards. Most applications share a similar format, and many of the biomedical granting organizations model their applications after the NIH application.
Reviewing pleasure: Researchers...
The big picture: "Electronic applications onscreen look like a collection of empty boxes next to curt descriptions and instructions for what to type in," and you have no idea what the final application looks like, says Ming Hammond, a postdoc at Yale University, who recently was awarded a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Fellowship. Moreover, agencies that use ProposalCENTRAL might not necessarily include a checklist of all the needed components. So, users should keep track by checking for application instructions at the granting agency's Web site or grants office.
Keeping it short: Some granting organizations on ProposalCENTRAL restrict the science proposal portion of the application to five pages of text, while others ask for three times that amount. So be prepared to distill the gist of your hypothesis, says John Disterhoft, an Alzheimer's disease researcher at Northwestern University. This might apply particularly to researchers who are accustomed to writing 25-page manuscripts for NIH grants, for example. He advises first listing all elements of your scientific proposal into bullet points and then expanding each one in order of importance or complexity.
Paper remnants: While more than half the organizations using ProposalCENTRAL are fully electronic, some still require paper signature forms to be sent when the grant application is submitted.