Research Administration

Kuali-Coeus Initiative Summary

Kuali-Coeus is a software system for managing the development and submission of research proposals, and for administering the awards that come to the University through contracts and grants. Five campuses are currently committed to implementing this system as a way to make these processes more efficiently and less costly.

Last fiscal year, UC received about 28,000 contract and grant awards amounting to $5.6 billion, and processed an even larger volume of proposals to produce this result. Each campus currently uses a different software system to manage this task, some home-grown and some from commercial vendors. The problem is that the software is extremely expensive to develop or purchase, difficult to maintain, not well suited to actual campus workflows for proposal processing and grants management and not well-integrated with campus and systemwide accounting data systems.

The advantage of Kuali-Coeus is that it is community-sourced: based on a system originally created at MIT, and now being developed by a consortium of universities, including UC, into a suite of web-based tools to simplify business processes, reduce duplicated effort and integrate more closely with other data systems. The savings in license fees, maintenance costs, streamlined proposal development and more efficient grant administration across five campuses should be substantial. Together, UC Berkeley, San Diego, Davis, Irvine and Merced together are responsible for more than half of the University’s proposals and awards. And within the next year to two years, all of these campuses will be using the same basic platform.

The success of this project hinges on the five-campus collaboration in developing and implementing Kuali-Coeus in a way that is tailored to the unique requirements of UC, with its tremendous diversity of departments, project types, research units and extramural sponsors. While this is entirely a campus-based effort, the Office of the President has also been involved. For the past year, we have been working closely with the Kuali-Coeus campuses to accommodate their new data and workflow requirements. This involves some significant changes to both our centralized data systems and work processes. The software development project to facilitate systemwide K-C implementation is now well underway, and will be completed in time for the campus’s planned Fall 2011 roll-out of the first major modules of the K-C system.

Charles Drucker
Institutional Research