Last May, we reported on a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study of Grants.gov, the centralized federal service for grant announcements and applications. That GAO study looked at the varying procedures among federal agencies for handling grant applications through Grants.gov, which makes applying for a government grant more difficult for individuals and institutions.
A later GAO audit, in July 2009, highlighted more problems with Grants.gov, particularly the cumbersome and lengthy registration process, which has to be completed before you send your first grant application. It's a multi-step process that Science Careers described in 2007, just as NIH was preparing to move from paper to all electronic applications. Some of the steps required by Grants.gov, such as getting a DUNS identifier, are the same as any company or organization faces when first getting into high-volume electronic business. But as GAO found, the Grants.gov registration process can take a week or longer.
The GPC is collecting real-life experiences from grant applicants through an online form to help the committee respond to the GAO report. A Federal Register notice posted on 7 January, gives more details about the inquiry. The deadline for comments is 31 January.