The University of Minnesota is undertaking a significant upgrade of its grants management system that will bring UMN in line with other top-25 research universities and will significantly improve efficiency, reduce administrative burden, and expand capabilities in all aspects of grants management.
MN-GEMS (Minnesota Grants Electronic Management System) is a multi-year, multi-phase project that engages stakeholders across all aspects of research throughout the University system.
The University of Minnesota developed the existing Electronic Grants Management System (EGMS) in 1998 to assist faculty and staff with preparing and submitting grant proposals to Sponsored Projects Administration. While its initial functionality provided an effective custom solution for many years, significant changes in technology and funding agency proposal requirements in the past two decades have rendered many of the system's functions obsolete. Today, only a few functions of the original tool are widely used.
From May 2016 - February 2017, a cross functional discovery team led a review of deficiencies, business needs, and opportunities related to existing and future grants management systems. The team engaged key stakeholders from across the UMN system in small group sessions, one-on-one meetings, focus groups, site visits, and other feedback requests. The discovery process identified a clear need for a new system and the recommendation that the University purchase and implement a commercial database product with functionality in the following areas:
- Proposal development, review, and submission
- Award review, negotiation, acceptance, and initiation
- Unfunded research agreements (UFRA) - material transfer agreements, data use agreements, confidentiality agreements, $0 collaboration agreements
Read more about project background and discovery: MN-GEMS Whitepaper
Read more about core functionality: Summary of Core Functionality Requirements
In July 2019, the UMN distributed a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the MN-GEMS project. Two vendors, Huron Grants Suite and InfoEd, were selected to deliver onsite demos to the UMN research community in January 2020, followed by usability testing of the two vendor solutions in February. In April 2020, Huron was selected as the preferred vendor, and in October 2020, the Board of Regents approved the request to enter into a contract with Huron.