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SPIN Plus: Finding National and International Funding Opportunities for Research Projects

The PennERA (Electronic Research Administration) Team is pleased to announce that SPIN Plus was migrated to an onsite Penn server on March 8, 2004. SPIN Plus is a comprehensive, web-based service that provides the most current information on available funding opportunities (national and international) for research projects. SPIN Plus is not just limited to scientific opportunities; there are listings for many disciplines including education, nursing, and social work among others.

SPIN Plus is now available to anyone at Penn (students, staff, faculty) who has a valid PennKey and PennKey password. Prior to migration to an onsite server, Penn users could only access SPIN from a computer on campus (with a Penn IP address). Because of PennKey authentication, users can now authenticate from off campus and enjoy anywhere, anytime access to the SPIN Plus system.

SPIN Plus At-a-Glance

SPIN Plus consists of three modules:

  •  SPIN--An up-to-date listing of funding opportunities from national and international governmental and private funding sources.
  • GENIUS--A searchable expertise profile system that contains profiles and/or full curriculum vitae of investigators. Investigators can choose to make their profiles public (the default is private).  These profiles can be used by SMARTS and will also be used during later phases of PennERA (Protocol and Proposal Development).
  • SMARTS--A system that matches GENIUS profiles with the SPIN funding opportunities and automatically delivers daily updates via e-mail.
  • Access

    To access SPIN Plus, users need a valid PennKey and PennKey password.  The PennKey and PennKey password replace the username and password in the old SPIN system. 

    If you need to get a PennKey, or have a PennKey but forgot your password and need to reset it, visit the PennKey web site for instructions at Once you have your PennKey and PennKey password, you may access the system with a standard web browser:

    1. Go to
    2. Click on the ¿Access Info Office" icon at the top right of the web page.
    3. Authenticate with your PennKey and PennKey password.
    4. Click ¿Continue" after you get the message that you have been successfully authenticated.
    5. At the Office Menu page, click on the SPIN icon.

    It is recommended that users access SPIN Plus via a Penn-supported web browser.  For information on Penn-supported web browsers, see the Supported Products page at

    Note: If you do not get prompted for a PennKey and PennKey password, go to your browser's preferences or internet options and make sure your browser's cache is set to update ¿every time I view the page" (Netscape) or ¿every visit to the page" (Internet Explorer). 

    Reference and Learning Materials

    Online reference materials, including a tutorial, frequently asked questions (FAQs), and a quick reference guide, are available from within the SPIN Plus application.

    An Integrated Research Environment

    The migration of SPIN Plus is part of the larger process of building the foundation for an integrated electronic research administration environment at Penn.  SPIN Plus is the fifth component of PennERA to be released, following the Human Subjects Adverse Events Reporting System (PennAEs), the Proposal Tracking module, and the Human Subjects and Lab Animal Protocol Tracking modules (see "PennERA: What's New" below for more information).  Together these components will provide a solid foundation for the more extensive protocol and proposal development modules to come in later phases of the Penn ERA project. 

    We welcome your feedback on SPIN Plus or any of the PennERA components. Please send any questions, comments, or suggestions to

    --Robin H. Beck, Vice President of Information Systems and Computing

    --Andrew B. Rudczynski, Executive Director of Research Services
    Associate Vice President of Finance

    --Joseph R. Sherwin, Director of the Office of Regulatory Affairs


    What's Changed in SPIN Plus

    Current SPIN users will note that there are no changes to the look and feel of SPIN or SMARTS. The following minor changes have been made to the screens within GENIUS profiles: 

  • Non-editable fields that represent areas where user information has been transferred to the system:  First and Last Name, Middle Initial, Department, Username, Status, Citizenship, Employer ID
  • Users could formerly specify their own Usernames, but now the Username is an individual's PennKey.  First and Last Names in SPIN Plus are usually the same as they appear in the Payroll system (which is derived from the Penn Community database).  If you need to change the non-editable fields listed above, contact your Business Administrator.

  • Fields that no longer appear in profiles, either because of security, privacy, or because they are no longer used in PennERA:  Password, SSN, Administrative Title, Appointment Date, Academic Rank
  • Users will also notice minor changes to the sequence of columns from left to right on the following GENIUS Categories screens:

  • Publications
  • Old: Author(s), Year, Title Reference(s), Abstract, Journal or Publisher, Volume, Page(s), Publication Status, Peer Review

    New: Year, Title, Reference(s), Journal or Publisher, Page(s), Peer Review, Publication Status, Volume, Abstract, Author(s)

  • Sponsored Funding
  • Old:  Sponsor Name, Period Start, Period End, Title, Amount: $, Abstract, Grant Status, Person-months committed to the Project, Federal

    New: Period Start, Period End, Title, Abstract, Person-months committed to the Project, Federal, Grant Status, Amount: $, Sponsor Name


    PennERA: What's New

    With the release of SPIN Plus, the PennERA Team nears the end of Phase I of the PennERA project, a multiyear initiative to develop streamlined processes and more efficient tools for handling pre- and post-award administrative tasks related to the sponsored projects of Penn's academic research community.

    Following are activities and implementations that have occurred over the last several months:

    • SPIN Plus implemented in March 2004--Migration of the funding opportunities database (SPIN Plus) to an onsite server to facilitate future integration with the proposal preparation process.
    • Human Subjects and Lab Animal Protocol Tracking modules implemented in November 2003--Secure web-based applications for the Office of Regulatory Affairs (ORA) that manage protocols currently active or under review by the Institutional Review Boards (IRB) or the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC).
    • Proposal Tracking module implemented in October 2003--A secure web-based system for the Office of Research Services (ORS) for collecting, tracking, and reporting on application and award information for proposals.
    • PennERA Proposals data collection implemented in October 2003--A subset of the University Data Warehouse containing data from the Proposal Tracking module of PennERA. The PennERA Proposals data collection contains current and historic information about sponsored projects (grants and contracts) at Penn.
    • AIS form redesigned in October 2003--The AIS form (Account Information Sheet, used by the Office of Research Services) was redesigned to reflect the newly automated account setup process. The AIS form summarizes the terms and conditions of a grant that has been awarded.
    • Effort Reporting Analysis completed fall 2003--Analysis leading to development of an online system for reporting effort on sponsored projects in compliance with the requirements of OMB Circular A21.
    • Sponsor conversion in August 2003--Standardization/conversion of PennERA, BEN Financials, and the Data Warehouse for enhanced sponsor data and clarity.
    • Human Subjects Adverse Events Reporting System (PennAEs) implemented in November 2002--A web-based system that gives principal investigators (PIs), clinical coordinators, and staff in the Office of Regulatory Affairs a means of tracking, collecting, and reporting serious adverse events involving human subjects.

    The PennERA Team wishes to acknowledge the invaluable contributions of users and advisory groups, such as the Research Reps group, to the development of PennERA and appreciates everyone's cooperation throughout the first phase of the project. 

    For more details about the PennERA project, please visit the PennERA project web site at



      Almanac, Vol. 50, No. 27, March 30, 2004