The XIII Directorate of the European Union has a Central Evaluation Unit (CEU) which is tasked with evaluation of applications for grants from academics under its “cooperation and foundations” scheme. This scheme distributed relatively small grants to fund cooperative research between universities in the EU. All applications were sent to the CEU’s processing unit (CEUPU) by university liaison officers (ULOs) who are based in around 150 universities. The process flow of the CEUPU can be shown in the following page. As can be seen, the turnaround time can be shortened even more if the checkers will have direct access to the ULOs and coordination done directly.
This can be achieved by use of email with the secretaries just copy-furnished. Also, the document tracking can be automated so that everyone knows where the documents are at any given time, using the identifier code that has been established for each application. In all, the application will be handled by the following people:
1. The ULOs who receive it and send to CEU.
2. Receipt clerk that checks that forms are complete.
3. Coding staff – set up a unique identifier for the application, encodes the data in the system.
4. Senior secretary that assigns the application to the next available checker.
5. Checker assesses the application. Half of the time, there is a need for additional information or data, and this must be conveyed to the secretary.
6. Secretary sends a query to the ULO
7. ULO secures the info from the applicant and sends back to secretary
8. Secretary sends to checker assigned
9. Checker decides
10. Auditor composes and sends acceptance/rejection letter. The problem of the CEUPU process is that there are too many steps and people involved in the process. First, the process can be automated and the application documents scanned. Then, the file can be sent electronically to the checkers so that they can be evaluated. Direct communication by the checkers to the ULO can be made for any inquiries/ additional data needed.
Auditors prepare the acceptance or rejection documents
ULOs receive application for grants
Additional info and requirements sent back
Request letter sent
File sent to secretary who then makes a request for the collection of any information missing or additional information required Yes
Checker evaluates the application
Decision is made by the checkers to accept or reject
Additional information needed?
Senior secretary of the checkers assigns file to the next available checker 8 receipts clerks check each application for completeness of all necessary forms Applications arrive from 150 ULOs, placed in the “in-tray” NO
Pro forma front sheet attached to documents
2 clerks place identifier on the form and encode it into the information system COMPLETE?