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Client Story


Marine Institute of Ireland

Reducing paper, centralizing granting processes and sharing knowledge all key for the Marine Institute of Ireland.

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Marine Institute of Ireland

SmartSimple client since

2009


Type of giving

Research grants


Dollars managed

€6 million (approx. $7.7 million USD)


Old system

Microsoft Access database management tool


SmartSimple product/services

Key pain points

  • No external reporting capabilities
  • Applications were difficult to navigate
  • No online application or review process
  • Too much paper

New system must-haves

  • Extensive reporting functionality
  • Including the ability to create ad-hoc reports
  • Online application and review process
  • Easy to access system from any computer

At a glance

The Marine Institute was an entirely paper-based operation. Microsoft Access was okay for doing basic reporting, but not much else. Reams of paper were routinely shipped for both the application and review process, making it difficult to adhere to due dates. Because they also track all marinebased activities in Ireland, they needed a solution that offered better reporting and tracking capabilities, and a less cumbersome application process. With SmartSimple, they were not only able to automate all their processes, they were empowered to do much of the configuration work themselves. Permissioned user portals and high level security meant they could provide the access every member of their community required for their work.

Photo of a ship - Marine Institute of Ireland and SmartSimple

About The Marine Institute of Ireland

The Marine Institute was set up under the Marine Institute Act of 1991. Their mandate is to undertake, coordinate, promote, and assist in marine research and development. They provide services that encourage economic development, create employment, and protect the marine environment. The Marine institute is the state agency responsible for marine research, technology development and innovation in Ireland. They carry out environmental, fisheries, and aquaculture surveys and monitoring programs to meet Ireland’s national and international legal requirements, while safeguarding Ireland’s unique marine heritage.

Martina Maloney

“We’ve noticed a massive reduction in the amount of paper we produce since we so rarely need to print anything anymore. Everything is stored right in the system; reports that we would have had to create manually are now quickly created right in our SmartSimple system. Plus, all our reports can be easily exported to other programs or posted to our website.”

Martina Maloney, Research Office,
Marine Institute of Ireland

Photo of lab technicians - Marine Institute was entirely reliant on paper files for their application, review, and awarding processes

The inefficiencies of a paper-based process

The Marine Institute was entirely reliant on paper files for their application, review, and awarding processes. “It was an incredibly cumbersome process,” says Martina Maloney, who works in the Research Office of the Marine Institute. “We did a massive amount of printing, especially for our evaluators. In reality, we only used our database for internal reporting. We desperately needed an automated solution.

Photo of ocean waves - paper-based process for applications and reviews was that the Marine Institute was at the mercy of couriers and the postal services of different countries

“The other downside of using an entirely paper-based process for applications and reviews was that we were at the mercy of couriers and the postal services of different countries because our reviewers come from all over the world. It was hard for us to stick to firm due dates when we were dealing with packages that could have been picked up later than expected or took longer to deliver than anticipated.”

Martina Maloney

“We wanted a system that would manage every research grant submission we received from application to final reporting. Our goal was to find a solution that would address a range of functionality, while being easily accessible to all internal and external stakeholders.”

Martina Maloney, Research Office,
Marine Institute of Ireland

The search for a centralized solution

The search for a centralized solution

In 2007, The Marine Institute decided to take a deep dive into finding a research grants management system that could meet all their needs. “We didn’t just keep track of our own funding initiatives. Due to the nature of our mandate, we needed to be able to monitor and report on all marine research conducted by other agencies participating in marine-based activities, such as aquaculture, maritime shipping, seafood safety, fisheries, and ecosystems.”

Photo of the Marine Institute - Marine Institue wanted a system that would manage every research grant submission

“We wanted a system that would manage every research grant submission we received from application to final reporting. Our goal was to find a solution that would address a range of functionality, while being easily accessible to all internal and external stakeholders.”

Photo of beach and ocean - Marine Institute detailed a system requirements review

With the help of an outside consultant, Martina’s team did a detailed requirements review to figure out exactly what the Institute needed. “This was an important and valuable exercise for us, providing the opportunity to explore what exactly our processes were, what templates we were using, and what was required for both internal and external users. We wanted to be sure we knew exactly what we wanted a new system to accomplish.”

Martina Maloney

“It was immediately clear after seeing SmartSimple demonstrate their system capabilities for us that this was the only platform that could meet our needs.”

Martina Maloney, Research Office,
Marine Institute of Ireland

Photo of the Marine Institute library - SmartSimple is the solution for everyone

A solution with something for everyone

“It was immediately clear after seeing SmartSimple demonstrate their system capabilities for us that this was the only platform that could meet our needs. We loved the fact we’d have the ability to do a lot of the configuration ourselves, and that SmartSimple could meet all our technical and functional requirements.”

Photo of marine workers - Marine Institute works with the SmartSimple team

Martina, her team, and their consultant worked with the SmartSimple Implementation Team. “We got into a productive routine, using the time between meetings to our advantage by getting our notes and questions together. This ensured that when we had our weekly meetings with SmartSimple, we were making the most of our time together.”

Photo of school of fish - SmartSimple’s Community Support Team was a valuable resource

Once the Marine Institute’s system was up and running, they also found SmartSimple’s Community Support Team was a valuable resource whenever they needed help. “The ticketing system for Community Support Services is fantastic, and having the SmartSimple staff at the Dublin office available as an additional resource has been a huge asset.”

Photo of a ship - Marine Institute noticed a massive reduction in the amount of paper produced

“We’ve noticed a massive reduction in the amount of paper we produce since we so rarely need to print anything anymore. Everything is stored right in the system; reports that we would have had to create manually are now quickly created right in our SmartSimple solution. Plus, all our reports can be easily exported to other programs or posted to our website.”

img-circle-marineinstitute-testimony-3

“Thanks to SmartSimple, people can simply access what they need right from our website using permissions and security access we control.”

Martina Maloney, Research Office,
Marine Institute of Ireland

Photo of a marine worker - Marine Institute sharing knowledge and promoting transparency

Sharing knowledge and promoting transparency

“As the central repository of marine knowledge for Ireland, SmartSimple has significantly reduced the amount of time we spend responding to information requests from the public. Thanks to SmartSimple, people can simply access what they need right from our website using permissions and security access we control.”

Photo of Marine Institute signage - SmartSimple Dublin team helped develop an engaging, interactive mapping feature the website

“The SmartSimple Dublin team even helped us develop an engaging, interactive mapping feature for our website. This map offers visitors access to a tool that displays marine research being conducted real time. It provides an additional level of transparency by identifying where our research grants are being used and what other marine research activities are going on all over Ireland, regardless of the funding program or agency. You can even follow the vessel and track grant-aided research surveys that have taken place on our research vessels, the R.V Celtic Explorer and R.V Celtic Voyager, and view a summary of the survey details.”

Photo of lab technician - Marine Institute now has immediate access to a massive amount of data at the click of a button

“SmartSimple is constantly evolving. Their regular platform upgrades ensure that new features and functionality are continually being added. The adaptability of RMS360° is definitely a major advantage for us. We now have immediate access to a massive amount of data at the click of a button. I would absolutely recommend SmartSimple to other research granting organizations.”

Martina Maloney

“You can even follow the vessel and track grant-aided research surveys that have taken place on our research vessels, the R.V Celtic Explorer and R.V Celtic Voyager, and view a summary of the survey details.”

Martina Maloney, Research Office,
Marine Institute of Ireland

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