Cayuse’s integrated research suite fuels Chapman University’s rapid research growth

Proposal prep time cut 50%, disclosure time cut 95%, with new levels of process transparency and data access


A chain is only as strong as its weakest link—or in research administration, you’re stronger when all of your systems are connected. A comprehensive system, where everything works together seamlessly, is the foundation for growth. 

That was the secret to Chapman University’s research boom. As the R2 (high research activity) institution with the highest three-year R&D spend increase of 164%, according to the most recent HERD data, Chapman’s biggest challenge was creating the processes and systems to most efficiently and effectively support this growth while still controlling costs.

Chapman had already adopted Cayuse’s Sponsored Projects and Proposals apps in 2017 to help meet their growth goals. “Before Cayuse, we were using spreadsheets and printing out PDFs. With our research growth, there’s no way we could maintain that,” says Jill Borland, Director of Sponsored Projects Services. “The data entry took forever, because there were so many places to capture data.”

After seeing how Cayuse sped up pre-award processes, Chapman wanted to improve compliance as well: specifically, IRB, IACUC, and COI processes. “We were using emails and PDFs for COI disclosures, and the process was very manual,” says Michael Briggs, Director of Research Integrity. “People had to print the form, sign it, scan it, and email it back in.”

Chapman’s research office needed faster, easier ways for researchers to submit disclosures and protocols, as well as quicker review processes. They also needed to increase transparency as to where documents were in the approval process so it would be easier to report on COI, IRB, and IACUC data. Sustaining their growth would require strategically optimizing their systems.

“Before Cayuse, we were using spreadsheets and printing out PDFs. With our research growth, there’s no way we could maintain that.”

Jill Borland
Director of Sponsored Projects Services


Chapman’s research team was impressed with the first Cayuse products they adopted, so expanding into more was a natural next step.

“Cayuse does a great job of designing solutions with research administrators in mind, truly hearing and recognizing our needs,” says Jill. “For instance, Cayuse Proposals is so much more intuitive than, which doesn’t have the ability to warn you that you have an error before you submit your proposal.”

Cayuse apps are user-friendly, adds Vice President for Research Tom Piechota, and can be configured to an institution’s unique needs. “We liked Cayuse’s integrated full suite approach that’s driving impact across the research lifecycle, including sponsored projects, IRB, IACUC, and COI,” he says. The team also appreciated Cayuse’s proven track record of on-time, on-budget implementations. With such rapid growth planned, they couldn’t risk going with a vendor that might have unexpected delays.

Chapman’s research office decided to adopt Cayuse’s compliance solutions, including Human Ethics, Animal Oversight, and Outside Interests. Director of Research Integrity Michael Briggs is excited to see how these apps dramatically speed up processes and save time for both researchers and reviewers. “About 95% of our folks have no conflicts of interest to disclose,” says Michael. “Cayuse Outside Interests will streamline the disclosure process, so people only have to make one click and be done.”

“We liked Cayuse’s integrated full suite approach that’s driving impact across the research lifecycle, including sponsored projects, IRB, IACUC, and COI.”

Tom Piechota
Vice President for Research


“Having a consolidated suite from Cayuse that researchers are used to using, from proposal preparation to human subject research, is a much smoother process,” Michael says. Cayuse’s integrated solutions are supporting Chapman’s growth in three vital areas: efficiency, transparency, and compliance.


Because Cayuse’s apps share data, they reduce Chapman’s duplicate data entry. “Cayuse is cutting our proposal preparation time in half,” says Jill. That time can now go toward supporting the university’s research growth in other ways.

Michael adds that reporting is faster: “Cayuse is listening to our needs and incorporating the data we need in reporting, so we get those reports in a more concise way.” He can run reports much faster, instead of downloading data and trying to analyze it in a spreadsheet.

Michael also says their rollout of Outside Interests will drastically lower the time needed to complete and file a COI disclosure, from about 20 minutes to only a minute or two. If research staff do have something to disclose, it will be faster for him to review or electronically route to a committee if necessary.


“Before, office workflow was hard to monitor, as everything came in through email. Now it comes in through Cayuse,” Tom says. “Sponsored Projects gives us a level of transparency you can’t get with a piece of paper,” adds Jill.

Faculty are happier, too. “Cayuse’s transparent portals provide our faculty with all of their information in a central location,” says Tom. That allows for more collaborative proposal development. Users can view proposal history and attachments, see how many proposals there are to manage, and ensure the right version of a document is being included in a proposal.


“Without a doubt, we’ve improved our ability to assess our compliance with Cayuse,” Michael says. “Having the research suite has been a tremendous help, especially since the products integrate. That’s very beneficial to our compliance program.” He says they may even add Cayuse’s Hazard Safety app in the future.

Overall, the team at Chapman says Cayuse played a key role in the research organization’s expansion. “We couldn’t have supported this growth without Cayuse,” Jill says. “And with Covid transforming our research team to being 100% remote, Cayuse has been lifesaving in enabling us to collaborate pre- and post-award. I can’t fathom how we would’ve managed without Cayuse.”

“Outside Interests will reduce the time needed to file a COI disclosure from 20+ minutes to only a minute or two.”

Michael Briggs
Director of Research Integrity

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