A new tool will help research funders quickly identify whether or not the proposal sitting in front of them has been financed before.
The Dimensions for Funders application allows funders to see which researchers and institutions have already won money in a specific area, and to compare the areas of research they fund with those being supported by other grant awarding bodies.
Christian Herzog, chief executive of ÜberResearch, the company behind the tool, said that it represented the first time that information from such a range of funders has been made available in one place.
Dimensions for Funders consolidates grant information from 66 research funders worldwide, including the UK research councils, the National Institute for Health Research, and charities such as the Wellcome Trust and the British Heart Foundation. It currently holds information on grants in the UK worth £30 billion and growing, and includes publication records.
Dr Herzog said: “Science funding is important and decisions about large amounts of money have a lot of impact for us all. In our experience, the people making the decisions and distributing the research funds do not have the support tools which are technically possible.”
For example, he said, “there is no tool or dataset which allows you to look at whether a European-level funding proposal is exactly the same as what has been funded on a national level already”.
He added that he wanted to “close this gap” and permit users to pull together all the relevant information with one click, to make funding decisions quicker and fairer.
The application enables funders offering seed grants to track how a particular field of research has progressed and to determine whether the initial funding has led to a researcher pulling in larger grants. It also lets small funders flag up areas of “high risk, high reward” research that larger governmental funders may consider too risky to finance.
More than 20 funders, including the Wellcome Trust, have assisted ÜberResearch in the development of Dimensions for Funders over the past 12 months, the company says.