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Reaping the Benefits of Electronic Proposal Routing
—Even at a Smaller School

University of San Diego

The Challenge

Before September 2013, the researchers, investigators and administrators at University of San Diego (USD) were overburdened and often hindered by the University’s lack of a software solution for grant proposals. All proposals and approvals were routed via paper—meaning their staff were constantly running from office to office with large proposal packets. Their organization system involved color-coded pages for signatures, Adobe forms, and Excel for budgeting. Additionally, without an electronic system, administrators found it difficult to navigate sites like, the site for funding and applying for federal grants.

“Their organization system involved color-coded pages for signatures, Adobe forms, and Excel for budgeting.”

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The Solution

What USD needed to maximize their research potential was a software solution that eased the process of routing approvals and navigating submissions. Administrators were looking for a solution—fast—and they found it in Cayuse 424, an electronic proposal development and submission solution, along with Cayuse SP, a sponsored project life cycle management solution. Cayuse was ready to help them implement Cayuse 424 and Cayuse SP quickly with comprehensive support before, during and after the implementation.

The effect of switching to an electronic system for proposals was felt immediately all across the small university, but especially in the School of Nursing and the College of Arts and Sciences where the solution was most used. Though faculty, investigators, deans, and the provost all needed to be trained on the new system, they all found it intuitive and easy to learn. In fact, many of the people who started using the solution were largely self-taught.

Once the cloud-based software was implemented, everyone began to save immeasurable amounts of time. With everything in a centralized system, the staff found they are finally all on the same page. No longer do they have to physically walk to other offices for signatures. They can see where proposals stand in the process and review budgets in one location. With an electronic solution, administrators and staff also find the submission process is easier—especially for—because Cayuse 424 users can pull in all of the forms to be filled out.

One of the biggest questions administrators asked themselves when considering a switch to an electronic solution was whether the size of their University justified the cost of the solution. In 2013, the school had 67 submissions. In just the first year alone, the school will have 115 submissions. USD staff now has no doubt that Cayuse 424 and Cayuse SP were justified expenses even with the size of their campus, and they’re already seeing tremendous results.

“In 2013, the school had 67 submissions. In just the first year alone the school will have 115 submissions.”

Customer Reviews

The Cayuse Research Suite has simplified the process of having a proposal routed through the University and approved by administrators.

Tim Clark, Ph.D

Associate Professor Chemistry and Biochemistry, USD College of Arts and Sciences

“I really appreciate being able to obtain all of the necessary approvals electronically. Given how busy administrators’ schedules are, it is very helpful that they can do an approval even if they are traveling.

Susan Lord, Ph.D

Chair and Professor Electrical Engineering, USD , Shiley Marcos School of Engineering

Before the Cayuse Research Suite we had to dash from office to office getting approvals and signatures. Now the process is much more streamlined and efficient. I really like the ability to upload documents to Cayuse SP and Cayuse 424, and easily share information with other departments, so we are all on the same page at the same time. The Cayuse Research Suite has made managing my grants much easier and faster.

Jesi Betancourt

Assistant Director, USD Legal Clinics

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