To monitor the performance of grantees effectively, the institute should complete the implementation of a grants monitoring process, including audits, and the development of related procedures.
From the outset, CIRM has tracked the financial and scientific information reported by grantees. Initially, staff relied on spreadsheets and other standard office software to track the information. These methods allowed staff to collect and analyze the information, but it was cumbersome, and intended as a temporary system.
Initially, CIRM sought development of a customized system that would handle all stages of the grantmaking process - application, expert review, issuance, funding, oversight and close-out. CIRM awarded a contract to Grantium, Inc. , and began working with Grantium on implementation.
With further experience, and based on systems analysis that occurred in the Grantium implementation process, CIRM staff concluded that a simpler approach would be more effective and less expensive, and could be implemented more quickly. CIRM already has custom-designed software, developed in-house, to handle the application and review process. That custom software continues to meet CIRM's needs for all stages of the grant process up to and including the ICOC's final funding decisions.
For post-award management, CIRM opted for an existing grants management product, MicroEdge GIFTS, that is widely used among grantmaking agencies. This software was much less expensive than it would have cost to continue development of a complete customized system. Because GIFTS is in widespread use, most of the grants management staff had prior experience with it, which expedited training. It has been installed and configured for CIRM's processes, and existing data has been transferred. CIRM's grants management staff now use GIFTS to manage post-award activities and reporting. As discussed in CIRM's response regarding Recommendation No. 1, this system allows tracking of substantive scientific information across all CIRM grants. (See 2009-041 p. 31)
Agency responses received after June 2013 are posted verbatim.