In the third quarter of 2021, Stem Cell Network opened their first programs on ProposalCentral (PC) and saw a 60% increase in LOIs. “A lot of applicants were already familiar with ProposalCentral through other funding competitions run by other organizations,” said Rebecca. “Transitioning to PC we were afraid people would say ‘What is this new system?’ When in fact they were already quite comfortable with it.”
“It really showed that the demand is out there,” said Jon. “In fact, we are oversubscribed substantially for the funding we have to offer.” Attracting a broad and diverse set of applicants is especially important given the collaborative and complex nature of regenerative medicine research. SCN has a “unique collaborative model that has really prospered in Canada. The network model allows us to maximize the funding impact by working together, and it allows for bigger things to be achieved. Regenerative medicine requires people to come together to solve problems that would not be able to be solved by individuals on their own. It requires bioengineers, clinicians, and stem cell researchers to work together,” said Jon.
When reflecting on the application process, the team remarked that ProposalCentral “provides a uniform process for all applicants that ensures applications are completed in a consistent manner. PC gives every applicant the same experience, with the same amount of space available for application responses”. This ensures consistent peer review.
SCN launched 7 programs concurrently, an impossible task with the prior system. “PC has enabled a very small team to manage a significant award program,” Rebecca said. “ProposalCentral allows much greater access to the data and takes a lot of the burden off the team. It’s freed us up to take care of other tasks that are equally as important,” remarked Jon. “We would not have been able to manage [the launch of 7 programs] without PC,” said Rebecca.