Texas Biomedical Research Institute:
Saving Lives With the Power of Scientific Discovery
Texas Biomedical Research Institute
After decades of success as an independent research institute, Texas Biomedical found itself at a crossroads: Either continue administering its growing research portfolio with an Access database and paper-based system, or replace them with commercial research administration software.
According to Jonathan Scudder, the Institute’s Manager of Sponsored Programs Administration, maintenance and other issues continued cropping up in the Access database. “We had a few database crashes,” he recalls, in which a month’s worth of data was lost.
“We didn’t realize the database had corrupted until we ran a report out of it. After the second time of that happening, we decided it was a losing battle to try to support it. On top of that, there were a lot of issues regarding the formatting of reports coming straight out of Access. They needed to be massaged a bit to get into a useful format.”
The laborious manual processes of tasks such as formatting reports and maintaining the database consumed about half of the time of the Institute’s sponsored programs director. Quarterly reports took about 20 hours to create and another five to six hours to vet, while annual reporting consumed 30-35 hours to program, produce, and vet, Scudder estimates.
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When the previous director retired, his replacement initiated a search for a more efficient solution. The evaluation team reached out to an online list serve to solicit recommendations. A range of suggested products was narrowed to four of the industry’s well-known vendors.
“Our process was seeing what value everyone brought to the table,” Scudder says. “Cayuse had the most experience, had a proven, long-term product.” The company’s customer support was also an advantage, he adds. “That was the main thing that attracted me to them. Their timeliness, the quality of responses to our questions—and we had a lot—we just thought all the things they could bring to the table were the most valuable for the price offered.”
The Institute implemented the Cayuse Grant Management product. Scudder says the ease of porting data from Access was good, and that the initial setup “was pretty much fantastic. The financial stuff, the PIs, the installment data were all very easy to see that it was ported over. The reports were pretty awesome just to see in a snapshot”
Following implementation, reporting quickly became more efficient. “With the forms view in Access, a lot of things are hidden,” Scudder says. “You don’t know the implications of changing one thing until you actually run the report. Cayuse Grant Management is a lot more straightforward; you see changes being made and reflected in the summary page right after the change is made. It’s more useful for vetting while in data entry mode than it was Access.”
The time required for quarterly reporting was reduced from 20 to 25 hours with Access to two to three hours with Cayuse Grant Management, while annual reporting fell from 30-plus hours to about 10, Scudder says. Another 30 or so requests each year have been streamlined from about two hours each to 15 minutes, he adds. Reports for the Institute’s CEO or CFO can be generated in less than a minute, he says, saving the time formerly consumed having to work on creating user-friendly reports for them.
Another benefit has been the ability to cross check the Institute’s Oracle accounting system and detecting changes that need to be made there.
The time required for quarterly reporting was reduced from 20 to 25 hours with Access to 2 to 3 hours with Cayuse Grant Management, while annual reporting fell from 30-plus hours to about 10.
About Texas Biomedical Research Institute
Texas Biomedical Research Institute aims to unravel the mysteries of infectious diseases and their impact on vulnerable populations through innovative thinking, creative problem solving and cutting-edge technologies. Since its founding in 1941, the Institute has gained worldwide recognition in scientific and academic communities for the quality of its basic research.
Each year, its scientists are engaged in more than 200 research projects and publish more than 100 articles in the international scientific literature. Located in San Antonio, Texas, Texas Biomed partners with hundreds of researchers and institutions around the world, targeting advances in the fight against cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, psychiatric disorders, problems of pregnancy, AIDS, hepatitis, malaria, parasitic infections and a host of other infectious diseases.
Its staff of more than 350 includes a multidisciplinary team of approximately 65 doctoral-level scientists.