Before any marine research project can begin, the first diver gets wet, or the first sample collected — it comes down to paperwork. And there's lots of it. As Sea Grant programmer/analyst Georgia Ratcliffe states, "We process research grant proposals from the preliminary stage through formal proposal submission, merit reviews, budgeting, fund allocation, historical tracking, and post–award reporting."
Every stage of that process is subject to close examination by advisors and external peers, and every bit of that information needs to be accessible. For years that was a problem. "We had huge amounts of information stored in dusty notebooks," Georgia recalls. "It was hard to access, and not available to multiple users, and made our proposal process that much longer and more complicated. We needed a database to make that information available to more people, and to allow us to present that information in many ways and easily generate necessary reports."