« FRBR & "Time-Based Media", Part 2: Clips/Segments | Main | Symposium thoughts »

May 13, 2008

Grants - lack of feedback

We have just passed the second major milestone in our rather lengthy and convoluted research grants application process.  The 14 people who got thru the first round (where bidders had to submit a short proposal of no more than two sides of A4) have just finished submitting a longer and more detailed proposal to us (8 sides of A4).  These are about to be evaluated using a mix of Eduserv staff, trustees and external experts.  Then we will shortlist again and invite successful proposals (probably 7) to interview here at Eduserv HQ.  The aim is to fund 3, or 4 at the outside, projects this time around.

Unsuccessful bidders from the first round will know that we didn't provide any feedback this year as to why their bids failed to get thru.  This obviously upset some people and we have received some negative feedback as a result.  I can only apologise...  this was not a decision we took lightly and in previous years we have always tried to provide feedback to everyone who sends us a proposal.  For the record, I have literally lost sleep as a result of this decision.

Unfortunately, the volume and quality of the bids this year meant that we didn't feel we had enough effort to provide feedback to everyone.  We received almost 130 bids in the first round and the truth is that we rejected very few of them because they were poor or not fundable.  The bottom line was that we simply had to move from 130 to 15 and you can't do that without turning down a lot of perfectly good proposals.  In most cases I suspect we would have simply found ourselves providing feedback at the level of, "there was nothing particularly wrong with your bid, we just found other proposals that showed a better potential fit with what we are trying to do".  As a small funder we have to consider more than just the bids as individual entities.  We have to think about the programme as a whole, small as it is, how projects are likely to sit alongside each other, how they fit in with other activities at the Eduserv Foundation, and how they fit with Eduserv's charitable aims more generally.

So I suppose that those people who unsuccessfully bid to us might well be thinking, "well why didn't you put more of that information into the original call?".  We tried to, but we also didn't want to be too prescriptive in terms of the kinds of bids we wanted to see.  Hopefully, we've learned some lessons about the way we frame the call text and we'll do better next year.  I'm just hoping that the lesson our unsuccessful bidders have learned from this isn't, "don't bid to Eduserv because they don't provide feedback"!


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Grants - lack of feedback:


The comments to this entry are closed.



eFoundations is powered by TypePad