Research and Development in the FastLane
- By Paula Shaki Trimble
- Apr 24, 2000
By October, the National Science Foundation hopes to have all of its research
proposals submitted and processed electronically through a system called
The system is a World Wide Web-based proposal submission, review and
tracking program that started as an experiment and has grown into the agency's
method for achieving an electronic business process.
During the first part of this year, 78 percent of proposals from academic
institutions were submitted electronically, said Linda Massaro, NSF's chief
information officer and director of information and resource management.
Massaro is well aware that getting the last 10 percent probably will be
Who's in the FastLane?
FastLane enables NSF customers to conduct business
electronically with the agency. Individuals primarily from academic institutions sign on to the system and send and receive transactions with NSF. Those
transactions include award searches, proposal preparation, proposal reviews,
status reports, project reporting, requests for funding under a current
grant, or post-award notifications and requests.
FastLane is connected to the agency's accounting systems, which will
enable grantees to draw on their awards electronically. When they make the
request through FastLane, the system will verify the amount, which is based
on NSF's account records, and send an electronic fund transfer request to
the Treasury Department. The Treasury then will distribute those funds to
the university electronically.
Why use FastLane?
NSF says it believes that using FastLane will result in more efficient
processing of transactions, faster NSF response to requests and proposals,
and direct access by users to the information that affects their daily work.