Designing the Application and Evaluation process

One of the key things we learned while designing funding initiatives is that every step of the process matters. It’s not just about identifying a good problem to focus on and designing an engaging approach to incentivise innovation. Application and evaluation are key parts of this process and the success of a funding call will also be reliant on their effectiveness.

While designing application and evaluation materials we learned the importance of the following three things:

  • Factoring in different perspectives: Applicants, funding organisations and reviewers will each have different interests, objectives, or requirements when it comes to the application and evaluation process. From the amount of time applicants can allocate to developing a proposal, to the availability of reviewers and the complexity of the call, all of these features will shape the format of both the application and evaluation process.

  • Preparing all relevant materials at the same time: While evaluation forms might not seem urgent when you’re just about to launch a call, it will be much more difficult to prepare materials that are consistent with the call a couple of months down the line. To reduce any consistency errors in both language and structure, we try to think about the whole process and prepare (at least draft versions) of any relevant materials.

  • Testing materials: Once again, testing materials with users – either potential applicants or reviewers – is useful to highlight any omissions, inconsistencies or wrong assumptions we might have made along the way. This validation step will ultimately make sure that applicants have a suitable way to present their ideas and evaluators have a robust process to assess them.

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