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Transparency in research grant funding through a web application for a major American university.

Public universities in the United States are heavily reliant on research grants to fund studies in a wide range of disciplines. It is vital to hold individual grant receivers accountable for the use of resources to ensure the best possible use of limited funds; and to assure grant givers that their grants are being well used.

Here is how Mindtree helped a major American university ensure reporting transparency in research grants and save potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in lost funding.

The challenge

The customer receives over half a billion dollars in research funding annually, which could be threatened if an audit reveals gaps in fund usage and tracking. Enhancing transparency required the university to overcome several specific challenges:

  • 150+ individual departments had developed independent, internal methods for project tracking and reporting which impeded standardization and accountability
  • All reporting methods, varying from dashboards to spreadsheets, had major issues. For example, pulling data took days and accuracy was often questionable. There was no ability to cross reference university projects

Further, the customer lacked the skills to build a solution themselves. Mindtree was brought on board to meet the needs of individual researchers, administrators in charge of large department budgets and the university's CFO.

Our solution

Mindtree collaborated with the customer to build a Web application using the Microsoft .NET framework along an aggressive timeline. We took a three-pronged approach to deliver the outcomes desired by the university.

  • Consulting and design, data analysis, and User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) optimization
  • Application development and product engineering
  • Quality assurance, implementation and post go- live support

Our solution led to the development of a customisable, Web-based, intuitive reporting tool that was easy to use and accessible to all project owners and administrators campus-wide. The application enabled making good decisions at a university-wide scale as well at an individual project level.

Users can now track project health and performance across the university's projects and easily gather information for budgetary, transactional and staffing purposes.

Business impact

  • Decreased risk through insight and 'what if' analyses
  • Near real time, accurate data delivery for speedy reporting
  • Improved decision-making
  • Robust compliance through increased transparency
  • Ability to report completion of a funded project and send the research status to necessary funding agencies
  • Enhanced audit preparedness