Thanks to Matt Jillings at Compusearch, I recently met John Thompson and Kristen Chhim of Commerce Decisions, an English company that produces procurement source selection and performance monitoring systems for the British government, called AWARD. (By the way, I find myself intensely irritated that the English call IT “ICT” because, apparently, information has to be distinguished from communication technologies. Tsch! The English, eh? We’re a funny breed.) Anyway, I saw a demo of this software because it’s now being used by a British education agency to select grant (“funding” — there they go again!) recipients.
The system can manage peer review processes or more simple functions like yes/no scoring criteria for less evaluation-intensive awards. A Web-based grant application evaluation system isn’t new, of course — we’ve developed one or two in our time — but this is interesting because it’s an off-the-shelf system that can be bought on a per-program or enterprise basis, with various options in between. And it doesn’t try to be more than a review system; no ambitions to control the whole procurement or grant lifecycle here!
So if you’re an agency with a particularly complex review process on just one or two programs, for example, you can use AWARD for just those programs, avoiding the cost of developing something or buying licenses you just don’t need. It can also be hosted for you, too, which makes things even easier. Or you can integrate it with other grant lifecycle modules in your own environment.
Neither I nor TCG have any skin in this particular game, although I could see us integrating this for some clients. As it is, I would certainly advise anyone interested in peer review to take a look at AWARD.