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How Genome Alberta Enhanced Their Research Grant Reporting To Maximize Their Funding Impact

Posted by Stirling Myles on Nov 29, 2018 8:24:36 AM
 Photo by Vlad Tchompalov

Genome Alberta’s grant funding impact reporting was getting lost in incomplete data gathered in different formats including Excel spreadsheets, Word documents, and PDFs. With data from various sources, it took this government-funded research corporation a lot of time to gather information about their impact. SmartSimple delivered an all-in-one fully auditable solution that accommodated their nuanced funding structures while empowering them to create very granular ad-hoc impact reports to provide transparency and gain insight into their funding strategies.

About Genome Alberta

Founded in 2005, Genome Alberta is a nonprofit research corporation that funds and manages genomics research and partnerships. Funded by the province and the federal government of Canada, they support genomics solutions through funding efforts that advance the study of genomes through collaborations and partnerships. Some of their funding efforts are geared toward the improvement of disease prevention, diagnosis, treatment, technologies that assist science programs, and sustainable agricultural and environmental studies.

Too many formats to pull data from

Genome Alberta’s impact data gathering process was scattered and housed in a combination of Excel, Word documents, and PDFs. This created hours of wasted administrative time with little results when it came to developing a sustainable reporting strategy that maximized impact. “It was difficult to pull out project outputs from previous investments, and we needed something better put in place,” says Ryan Mercer, Research Program Manager for Genome Alberta. Without the proper perspective of their funding efforts, it deeply affected their big-picture impact strategies.


 Photo by Chuttersnap Photo by Chuttersnap


The search for the perfect system

When conducting a comprehensive review of other technologies, they were looking for a “perfect fit” to keep up with the unique way their operations were running. They chose SmartSimple as their flexible solution to track and report the complex funding and disbursement structures. “Other systems didn’t allow for the flexibility that SmartSimple did.”

A simple solution for a complex process

Transparency is vital for a government-funded entity, and Genome Alberta was able to track and report on exactly where the funds were coming from, where they were dispersed, and how grantees and projects were effectively using the funds on a granular level. Mercer particularly connected with the MS word merge feature, “I can assign date ranges for a report, and it will pull a report in a Word template with all the relevant information to present to our constituents.” By utilizing SmartSimple’s fully auditable system, “we were easily able to create reports to present to all our stakeholders, and I can get the most current view of the records within the system.”

Using the flexibility of the SmartSimple system, they were able to configure a centralized reporting system that allowed for ad-hoc reports for project impact. Mercer also configured the system to create real-time reports to give insight into external and internal operations, “creating these dashboards and systems gave us a broader picture of our funding efforts and a holistic view with day to day reporting.” Genome Alberta is working on implementing future systems for streamlined application intake and return on investment dashboards.

A system that scales

When SmartSimple was first implemented, they configured it to serve as a project management tool to track granting activities, performance, and evaluate post-award programs.  Administrators were empowered to delegate relevant data to different project managers to access only for their project. “We created a user guide for the project managers, and it was taken quite well,” says Mercer. As their needs grew, the system was flexible to scale with them. They then configured a separate system for tracking corporate funding grants for a simplified workflow.


 Photo by Ousa Chea Photo by Ousa Chea


With 95 projects in their portfolio, 36 that are currently open and running, and 13 new projects coming in, Genome Alberta is growing fast. With the solutions and tools that SmartSimple provides, Mercer is able to streamline every activity and financial element in their project workflow with ease, “we’re grateful to have SmartSimple to manage our implementation projects quickly. They can easily scale with us, and we intend to have our system around for some time.”

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Topics: Research Grants Management, SmartSimple Cloud for Research Grants Management, Client Success, Research Institutions