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. We are now transitioning to a new system, MN-GEMS (Minnesota Grants Electronic Management System). Learn more about the MN-GEMS Project.

Project Timeline


SImple timeline. March '22: Design and implementation start. Spring '22 Tech design and implementation continue. Fall '22 Testing begins. January '23 Training developed and offered. 2021 Go live!


Anticipated Benefits

The system is expected to offer better transparency into the status of award negotiations, faster award setup via electronic data migration, as well as enhanced reporting and interfaces with other enterprise compliance systems, such human participant and animal subjects databases.

For federal grants, investigators and departmental administrators will not only be able to have their proposals electronically submitted directly to, but they will also be able to work on their science until close to the agencies' published deadline instead of having to stop three days ahead of time as is true today.

Other anticipated benefits to MN-GEMS include:

  • Reduced faculty administrative burden (more time available for research/scholarly work)
  • Increased faculty time to finalize scientific narrative in proposals (key feature requested by faculty)
  • Reduced error/warning rate for proposal submissions
  • Improved reporting capabilities
  • Increased efficiency of award receipt and UMN set up
  • Streamlined outgoing subaward issuance and management
  • Better visibility into award negotiations/improved ability to track and assist with complex negotiations
  • Expanded ability for designated research team members to view proposal and related documents
  • Improved interfaces with other University systems governing research (e.g. human subjects, animal subjects, etc.)
  • More administrator time available to assist faculty in quality proposal preparation (less time spent doing manual work or compliance reviews)
  • UMN research support services viewed favorably by incoming research-intensive faculty
  • Increased efficiency, visibility, and integration of UFRAs
  • Increased influence in federal sponsor decision making on proposal/award procedures


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:

  1. Proposal development, review, and submission
  2. Award review, negotiation, acceptance, and initiation
  3. Subawards
  4. 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

RFP Process

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.