Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research
finds a perfect fit in the Cayuse Research Suite
Whitehead Institute (Whitehead) is a small, non-profit independent research institute affiliated with, but fiscally independent from, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The relationship between the two is very close, with Whitehead’s 19 faculty members all holding positions within MIT’s prestigious biology department.
Whitehead had been using Coeus, a grants management solution developed by MIT and used by many other institutions across the country. Because of Whitehead’s smaller size and single-layer internal processes, Coeus was not utilized to its maximum capacity, but served Whitehead well as a database. Whitehead had an in-house team that was responsible for Coeus upgrades and testing, but because of turnover, institutional knowledge of the system was lost. Whitehead had to rely on consultants to perform further upgrades and provide training to meet Whitehead’s needs.
A few years ago, MIT migrated Coeus to the Kuali Foundation, so Whitehead began to explore other options to manage its proposals and awards. A few of the research administration solutions it looked into were, like Coeus, designed for larger, multisite institutions and the price tag of these solutions was cost-prohibitive. Whitehead explored the Cayuse Research Suite, which was designed to scale to any institution size, with licensing fees to match, and then became one of the first institutions to implement both Cayuse 424 and Cayuse SP. Working collaboratively with Whitehead’s outstanding IT team, the implementation specialists at Cayuse installed the suite, which also included some complex scripts and custom development to migrate Whitehead’s existing data into the new system.
Once the solution was implemented and had a soft launch in March 2014, Whitehead saw a significant improvement in its grant preparation process. At Whitehead, the research labs each have Administrative Lab Managers (ALMs) who work with the PIs to prepare and submit proposals. The ALMs have found the system to be intuitive and easy-to-use, no matter the level of expertise. An important advantage of the suite has been the reduction of errors in the grant preparation process. Cayuse 424 analyzes each proposal as it is prepared and checks for any errors that would prevent the proposal from being submitted successfully. This allows ALMs to catch mistakes and warnings before they submit their proposals, saving them the hassle of having to resubmit later. Additionally, because Whitehead used to rely heavily on a paper system, staff would occasionally make errors during data entry. Now that the ALMs can input information by themselves, and the proposal is routed through the approval process electronically, the number of data entry errors has gone down dramatically.
Switching from a research system that offered more than what Whitehead needed to the Cayuse Research Suite has proved to be a very positive experience for the Institute. Cayuse 424 and Cayuse SP have streamlined proposal processes and saved Whitehead a significant amount of time and money, allowing the Institute to provide a better service to the Whitehead community more economically.
“Now that the ALMs can input information by themselves, and the proposal is routed through the approval process electronically, the number of data entry errors has gone down dramatically.”
“The Cayuse team was exceptionally responsive during our configuration phase. It was wonderful to watch our feedback being incorporated into the application before we even went live.”Andy Nutter-Upham
“During our implementation phase, [the Cayuse team] was very helpful and responsible, always trying [their] best to answer our questions and provide us customized solutions to meet our unique business needs regarding proposal and award budgets.”Ning Zhuang
“It felt like we were flying blind a little bit because we were one of the early adopters of Cayuse SP. It was a leap of faith on our part. But we have a fantastic in-house IT group, and there was a great collaboration between our institution and Cayuse. We’re very happy with our decision.”Carla DeMaria