https://innovateuk.blog.gov.uk/2017/06/30/encouraging-collaboration-through-technology/

Encouraging collaboration through technology

Collaboration is at the heart of great innovation.  As academics, scientists and entrepreneurs come together to solve problems, different ideas and perspectives collide and provide the catalyst for ground-breaking technologies and innovations.

We recognised these collaboration challenges in developing our new digital Innovation Funding Service (IFS) for grant applications.  This makes it easier for partners to work together and for that spirit of collaboration to be maintained.

the Innovation Funding Service login screen

Helping partners to collaborate more effectively

As anyone who has pulled together a complex partnership initiative will tell you, the practicalities can be a lot more challenging, to ensure partners stay focused on shared objectives and bring together the right information in time for deadlines.  By making the application process simpler, easier and more efficient, it becomes less of a time and cost burden for applicants.

For every grant application, one organisation is identified as the lead applicant.  They can then invite other collaborators to join the online application process.  The lead applicant can assign tasks to partners, as well as allow them to work together on answering application questions.

For example, two tools which help keep the collaboration partners focused are the progress bar and countdown tracker.  The progress bar shows how much work still needs to be done on the application, while the countdown tracker shows how much time you’ve got left to do the work - before the submission deadline.

Saving time keyboard button

Collaborators still value their privacy

Even on a collaborative project, there are still commercial sensitivities regarding the confidentiality of partner financial information.  The Innovation Funding Service has resolved this by allowing the lead applicant to see all financial information, whereas individual collaborators can only see their own financial information.

Privacy sign

Confirming compliance as you go

As customers are working on their application they are automatically advised by the system itself whether they meet financial eligibility criteria. This avoids applicants wasting time submitting non-compliant applications.

With both the applicant and the customer support team having a common online view of the application, it becomes easier to resolve any issues or queries. And customers can be quickly kept up-to-date through email notifications.

All new funding competitions are now run through IFS.

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