To allocate funds more efficiently to research scientists and to increase the frequency of its grant applications, the Biological and Biotechnological Research Council (BBSRC) has implemented a business process management (BPM) solution from Ultimus. The BBSRC is the principal public funder of basic bioscience research in the United Kingdom.
The BBSRC's traditional grant application process was paper-based, with forms moving from desk to desk in a time-consuming manner. The BBSRC knew an automated BPM system would be more efficient, and would help it overcome other hurdles. For example, a move from two to four grant application intake rounds each year had made it difficult to process all incoming applications. Routing an application to the appropriate program manager for quality assessment had become more complicated and protracted as the volume of applications increased. Human errors in filling out the forms led to misrouting and other problems.
With Ultimus' BPM Suite, incoming grant applications are now downloaded automatically from a cross-council server into BBSRC's grants processing database. The application then moves to an assigned administrative member for a check of all administrative details. Next, the application goes to a program manager for quality evaluation. The BPM solution automatically handles specific business rules such as exception and escalation handling.
The BBSRC had sought software that would provide a powerful reporting tool so that users can monitor the status of individual grant applications or workflow instances. According to Ultimus, that has been accomplished, and processes can be completed in a more timely manner, leading to speedier allocation of funding to qualified grant applications.
Ultimus reports, too, that the business advantages of the new system at the BBSRC include: data updates and security, increase in efficiency and elimination of errors, and improvement in organizational control.