Briefs

DOT nears Web travel plans

The Transportation Department has tapped PricewaterhouseCoopers and subcontractor Gelco Information Network to operate and maintain a Web-based system that would process federal travelers' trip planning and expense documents.

The Web-based Travel and Expense system, which would include electronic voucher approvals for reimbursement, is based on an existing commercial system, but with a few more bells and whistles, said David Kleinberg, DOT's deputy chief financial officer. The agency asked for an application service provider to manage the system for DOT and other agencies as they join the service.

The service will offer receipt imaging, voucher examination and automated distribution of reimbursements. The agency estimates that about 70 percent of its transactions--about 210,000 trips--would be handled by the Web-based system.

NIH tries e-grant applications

In the coming year, the National Institutes of Health expects to streamline the way researchers apply for grants by enabling them to apply electronically using a digital certificate. NIH's Office of Extramural Research recently selected Digital Signature Trust Co. to integrate digital certificates into two pilot electronic grant projects.

Under the first pilot project, colleges and universities will be able to apply for federal grants via an electronic version of NIH's Public Health Service 398 grant application form. Currently, researchers must complete forms on paper.

Because researchers are spending federal dollars, they must verify that they meet certain statutory and regulatory requirements, said Peter Alterman, director of operations at the Office of Extramural Research. A "signature verifies to NIH that all of those requirements have been filled."

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