The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) was looking for a solution that could help them in managing funds in key sectors effectively, aligning with research priorities, and investing in high-impact and sustainable programs to address national concerns. It inspired the Department to come up with the DOST Project Management Information System (DPMIS), a web-based information system that tracks and monitors the performance of all programs and projects funded and implemented by the DOST Grants-In-Aid (GIA) Program. The system facilitates data collection, storage, analysis, and reporting for project proposals, funded programs, and researchers and enables online submission of proposals for research grants. The solution prioritized funding for relevant science and technology undertakings that contribute to productivity improvement, quality of life, and sustainable economic growth and development. DOST has set priority areas for research and development (R&D) funding for the year 2025, including Industry, Energy, Emerging Technology, Health Research and Development, Agriculture, and Basic Research, and encourages the early submission of quality research proposals through the DPMIS.
The main productivity challenge being addressed by the DPMIS is the need for a more efficient and accessible system for researchers and proponents to submit proposals and receive feedback on their proposals. In the past, DOST experienced bottlenecks in the evaluation process due to multiple layers of technical panel evaluators, insufficient time for researchers to revise proposals, and uncertainty on the status of proposals. There was an apparent need to come up with a solution that can increase the number of people receiving grants and promote the development of relevant science and technology (S&T) undertakings, contributing to the productivity improvement and quality of life of Filipinos.
To help solve bottlenecks and promote efficiency within the agency, DOST introduced DPMIS, which provides a fast and accessible online platform for proposal submission and to expedite the evaluation process. Additionally, efforts are being made to improve communication with researchers and encourage more submissions aligned with DOST thrusts.
The DPMIS addresses the productivity challenges in several ways. Firstly, it provides a user-friendly online submission platform that allows researchers to easily submit their proposals, which can be accessed anytime and anywhere. The system is also secured and encrypted to ensure that the research proposal is not disclosed to unauthorized users. This innovative feature ensures that the proposals are not copied or duplicated by others.
DPMIS also addresses the bottleneck in the evaluation process by providing a collaborative research proposal submission platform. The online system allows multiple evaluators to review proposals, which can reduce the time it takes to evaluate a proposal simultaneously. The system also includes an anti-hacking system and data analytics, which ensures that the system is secure and can analyze data to provide insights that can improve the system’s efficiency.
The development of a manual of operations provides users with a reference guide to help them navigate the system. This innovative feature ensures that users can easily understand and use the system. DPMIS also promotes collaborative research by enhancing the database through the collaborative research process. This feature encourages researchers to work together and align their research proposals with DOST’s thrusts, which can increase the number of people receiving grants.
Productivity Gains, Outcomes, and Impact
The DOST Project Management Information System (DPMIS) has resulted in significant productivity gains and positive outcomes for the DOST Grants-in-Aid Funding program and its beneficiaries. The user-friendly online submission of research proposals has expedited the evaluation process, reducing the time from proposal submission to approval. The system’s anti-hacking features and secure encryption have helped protect research proposals’ confidentiality, preventing copying and duplication. The web-based system has also improved accessibility, allowing users to access the platform anytime, anywhere, and submit proposals without visiting the DOST office physically.
According to the general feedback received during the March 2022 Call for Proposals, the DPMIS is responsive, informative, and user-friendly. Users praised the system for its convenience and ease of use, with most ratings ranging from satisfactory to outstanding. The overall rating for the system has improved since its implementation, with users noting the significant improvements.
In addition to the measurable productivity gains, the DPMIS has positively impacted the intended beneficiaries, primarily researchers and proponents. The online submission of proposals has made it easier for new researchers to submit proposals, increasing the number of people receiving grants. The collaborative research feature has also enhanced the database, encouraging more researchers to submit proposals aligned with DOST’s thrusts.
Lessons Learned and Challenges in Implementing the Intervention
The lessons learned from implementing the DPMIS are essential for improving the system and addressing the challenges encountered. One of the hurdles faced during the inclusion of the enhancements is the need for prior engagement and identification of cooperating agencies before submitting the proposal. This process needs to be streamlined to ensure a timely submission process.
Another lesson learned is the need for a major overhaul of the DPMIS before the proposed enhancements can be accomplished. This will significantly impact the system, not only for DOST CIA but also for the Councils. Therefore, enhancing the DPMIS should be linked to the Sectoral Councils’ Information System, which will take time.
To address these challenges, it is necessary to discuss the proposed enhancements with the Undersecretary for R&D, the Division Chief of SPD, process owners, and programmers for possible execution. This collaboration will help ensure that the proposed enhancements are aligned with the goals of the DOST CIA and the Sectoral Councils.
One potential area of improvement for the DPMIS is the system’s user-friendliness, particularly for non-IT experts. The system can be further improved by providing more detailed guidelines and instructions for the users, especially those new to the platform.
Nazario, D. (2023, January 27). Dost urges researchers, scientists to submit proposals for R&D funding in 2025. Manila Bulletin. Retrieved March 19, 2023, from https://mb.com.ph/2023/1/27/dost-urges-researchers-scientists-to-submit-proposals-for-rd-funding-in-2025