Improving the research and grant process: Lessons from The University of Toledo

How do you spend less time on finding the right people and more time on crafting the right story?

We sat down with Bill McCreary, Vice President, CIO, and CTO at The University of Toledo to discuss the role that faculty data plays in crucial university processes surrounding grant and research management. 

With over 17 different colleges, University of Toledo employs a diverse set of faculty with a diverse set of disciplines and data. Faculty work can range from teaching and learning to research around health and complex STEM-based projects (most notably 3D & AI).  McCreary must carefully consider stakeholders’ varied needs when making decisions about faculty data. 

Grants and research weren’t always a smooth process

“We were spending a high percentage of our activity on just fact-finding to create the application submission. It was nothing but searching for information on the researchers who would be part of the team,” McCreary said during the webinar. 

This administrative scavenger hunt reduced the time that McCreary and his team could dedicate to strategy and analysis around the research grants and their impact. 

“You can present yourself much more professionally when you can think less about who is on the grants, and more about the problem you are trying to solve with the research. This is a way for us to try to become more professional in the research and grant process,” McCreary added.

Using Interfolio and other integrations to continuously improve the process

Using Interfolio’s Faculty Activity Reporting module, among other integrations, University of Toledo created a database of their faculty members that they could pull in an instant. “When assessing a grant, we want to find people who do good research, and being able to quickly find that information enabled us to collect the information much more quickly.” An additional outcome of the centralized data in Interfolio: it brought to light other faculty members that would make strong collaborators on research projects—showcasing faculty expertise that might not as been as visible before.

With faculty members recording data in one universal place, University of Toledo has been able to focus on hiring strategy as well. They can assess who is currently on the faculty roster and identify who they should be looking for when posting hiring announcements in order to be more competitive for research grants. “It’s been helpful when Deans try to fill out faculty positions. They can look at the roster and say, ‘Who do we really want on it?’”

McCreary acknowledged that it is an ongoing process, stating “We’re looking at yields; there are so many different types of success. We’re looking to hire better researchers, and we’re still on that journey.”

Learn more about Bill McCreary and University of Toledo’s faculty data journey and listen to the full webinar.


Billl McCreary assumed the role of vice president, chief information officer, and chief technology officer at The University of Toledo on July 1, 2015. Responsible for all information technology, hospital systems, academic technology, the simulation game studio, 3D/virtual immersive reality, and the Center for Creative Instruction, this role brings together all the key areas of technology across the organization into the Division of Technology and Advanced Solutions (DTAS)

Before joining UT, McCreary held senior executive positions at Owens-Illinois, Kennecott, and NSG, as well as private technology firms. He also has experience in finance, mergers and acquisitions, venture development, engineering, research, marketing, manufacturing, and general management.