College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
AGNR Research

Going After Grants with AG-PAS

New AGNR system aims to facilitate process for submitting extramural funding proposals
Gina Hsu, Chris Aubry, Princess, White and Ann Legall stand ready to help faculty members navigate grant proposals through the new AG-PAS system in the College of AGNR.
Photo Credit: 
Lauren Castellana, Edwin Remsberg Inc.

Applying for grant funding is now a more efficient and streamlined process for faculty members in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (AGNR), thanks to a new system and team of new staff members.

The new system called AG-PAS (pre-award services) standardizes and centralizes applications for federal, state, local and corporate grants – all of which come with different and complicated sets of instructions.

“It can be a pretty daunting process,” said Chris Aubry, coordinator of grants and procurements for AGNR. “We’re here to make sure faculty’s efforts are focused on the science and then we can help take care of all the other details.”

Submissions for extramural funding rose significantly across the University of Maryland campus during FY 2014, with more than 3,500 total proposals. The College of AGNR was responsible for 358 of those submissions, accounting for roughly 10% of all university requests.

In order to give AGNR faculty the best chance at securing grant funding, College administrators decided to hire several contract administrators (CAs) whose primary function will be to assist principal investigators (PIs) through the application process. Ann Legall, Gina Hsu and Princess White are the new CAs who will work alongside Aubry under the AG-PAS system.

As part of the new procedure, all faculty members who wish to apply for an extramural grant must fill out a “Notice of Intent to Submit a Proposal” form online. Once submitted, faculty members can expect to hear from a contract administrator within 48 hours. From there, the CAs and PIs will work together to create the best proposal possible before forwarding on to the Office of Research Administration (ORA). Aubry advises faculty members to send in the intent to submit form at least one month before a grant proposal is due.  This timeline is particularly critical when planning for major program deadlines such as USDA’s AFRI program or the various NIH cycles, Aubry says.

AG-PAS results from several years of fact finding and discussion within AGNR on how to facilitate the complex grant proposal process. AGNR faculty and staff are hopeful the centralized and streamlined system will create a consistent level of support throughout the pre-award process, encourage more faculty proposals and, ultimately, more grants awarded.

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