Memorial University of Newfoundland, one of the largest universities in Atlantic Canada, enrolls over 18,500 students across four campuses and has an alumni network of over 85,000 professionals around the world.
The Office of Public Engagement and the Leslie Harris Centre of Regional Policy and Development help diverse groups and individuals connect with the research resources of the university. Each year, they provide a variety of funding opportunities for students, including grants, scholarships and fellowships.
In 2012, John Duff, Projects Office Coordinator, began leveraging FluidReview to streamline the application and review process for all available funding programs. As a result, he’s created a significantly more efficient experience for both students and administrators.
Before using FluidReview, applications for the numerous funding programs offered across the Office of Public Engagement and the Harris Centre were collected via mail.
Students had to fill out and send in paper applications, while administrators had to manually receive, organize and coordinate requests and reviews. Needless to say, this created a variety of problems and bottlenecks.
“The process before FluidReview was managed haphazardly,” John Duff recalls. “It was a completely paper-based process and had become incredibly challenging for students and time-consuming for administrators. Pieces of applications were floating everywhere, arrived in the mail after deadlines, and students of missed sections or completed them incorrectly, which means we’d have to manually track them down. It wasn’t manageable.”
John’s search for an online solution quickly led him to FluidReview, and he spearheaded the implementation in 2012.
FluidReview reduced the administrative workloads involved with managing the funding programs, and created a more efficient and streamlined application process.
“With FluidReview, students can easily log-in and see the funding opportunities that are available for them. They can clearly see the requirements and deadlines, and the system ensures that applications are completed correctly and submitted on time. It’s so much easier, faster, and there’s no more paper.”
Administrators have welcomed the new system with open arms.
“Before FluidReview, we had to have two or three staff members spend several days printing and organizing paper applications. That’s not the case anymore. Everything is done online, and incoming applications are automatically categorized and bucketed. The system is so intuitive and manageable that we have just one staff member managing the entire platform, and we’re confident that we can scale as our programs grow. We’re much more efficient.”
Another major improvement came with regards to the review process. Before FluidReview, reviewers received paper copies of applications and had to meet in person to rank applications. Now, they can login to an online review portal and fill out quantitative evaluation forms.
“The digital, point based system for reviewers has made the review process much faster and has given us a lot more confidence in the decision-making process. We now spend the final selection committee meeting discussing quantifiable numbers, not qualitative thoughts.”
Since implementing FluidReview, John has seen applications increase by 360% and he is excited about the possibility of expanding their funding programs to provide even more opportunities for students.
“FluidReview has helped us award the right applicants and has given us the confidence to add more funding programs. From an administrative perspective, adding new awards doesn’t scare us. We know we can handle it.”