NEW YORK, May 30 - The Department of Energy's Office of Science may soon require labs seeking grant money to file their research proposals electronically.
In a statement posted on its web site recently, the office said that beginning June 1 companies, nonprofit labs, and academic centers interested in grants for basic research will need to submit their applications in a web-enabled program called the Industry Interactive Procurement System.
The DOE office added that it will allow applicants to continue using the traditional paper filing method until Sept. 30 so they have more time to change over to the new system.
But the new format is not yet set in stone. John Alleva, director of grants at the DOE's Office of Science, said researchers will ultimately have a say in whether the office should change to the IIPS.
"If people really prefer [the new system] we will publish another notice saying we will accept the proposals only electronically unless [applicants] contact my office and work out with us why they cannot submit them electronically," he told GenomeWeb. In this case "we'll be happy to make some other accommodations."
The upgrade, which has been part of the broader DOE system for the past two years, is being considered at the Office of Science as a way to help ease the enormous paper load it encounters each year: Eight copies of roughly 4,000 grant applications are sent to the Office of Science each year, Alleva said. He added that about 85 percent of DOE's grants are distributed by the Office of Science, a number that translated to $685 million in fiscal 2001.