E-PPMS is a web-based system that encompasses the complete life-cycle of funding of R&D projects, beginning with online submission of project proposals for funds, to monitoring and management of funded projects. E-PPMS is intended towards making the entire process of funding R&D projects paperless and bring in the much-needed transparency in the system. Efforts are towards providing easy access to information and statistical analysis/results on all the projects funded by the various departments of organization. The project aims at providing service to the citizen in terms of ease in applying for research. Through in-built communication models and easy tracking of the proposal status, the project will provide researchers timely updates on their application and will reduce undue time delays. Also, the project will help to keep the intellectual property rights of the citizens secured by allowing only authorized people to view the proposal details. It also increases the outreach and recognition of the organizations.
Main uses and domain
Before this initiative, all the research funding through the government agencies was done manually. It had severe drawbacks that hampered the quality and quantity of research going on in the country, a few listed below:
- Inconsistency of Research Data: Manual system was prone to human error, which could lead to inconsistency in the data recorded.
- Transparency in Funding: Research funding should be a transparent process. Favouritism and duplicate funding were a few of the reasons that the manual system was compromised. There was no way to monitor the complete process of funding as there were individual decisions at various steps that were unaccounted.
- Data Loss and Natural Hazards: Offline system was prone to natural disasters which could lead to server loss of important data. There was way to recover the lost data.
- Security and Integrity of Research: Offline system could not safeguard the integrity of the research being proposed or carried out. It was prone to plagiarism and the data was vulnerable to all sorts of theft.
- Paper based system: The file submitted for research, on an average, consisted of over 50-60 pages per proposal. This was one of the major reasons to move to an online system as it accounted to the loss of huge amount of natural resources.
- Lack of Consolidated Reports: Due to offline mechanism, there was no way to obtain understandable and accurate reports from the data that was captured. As it was humanly impossible to analyse terabytes of data to obtain relevant information.
In SERB, CDAC implemented e-PPMS as a pilot project for their one Major Scheme only (Extra mural Research Funding Scheme). The System was launched by Hon’ble Minister on 31st January, 2014.
Features and Technical Specifications
- Responsive GUI
SERB Online system is developed by following the approach of responsive web design. Responsive GUI is an approach to web design aimed at allowing desktop webpages to be viewed in response to the size of the device one is viewing with. The Graphical user interface of this system using the Groundwork’s & Bootstrap Framework which make it compatible with almost all handheld devices like Mobile, tablets and laptops.
SERB Online is a scalable system. It can be deployed in high availability environment where multiple Application Servers are connected in a load balanced environment using load balancer and more application server can be added to improve the performance in case of increased load.
- Interactive dashboards
The dashboards developed in the system for each stakeholder is a collection of widgets that give the user an overview of the reports and metrics they care about most. Dashboards let them monitor many metrics at once, so they can quickly check the status of or see correlations between different reports.
- Free Text Search
System has been incorporated with a full-text search mechanism, which is used, for searching any research proposal by any text (simple or fuzzy). This search is used for detecting plagiarism and avoiding duplicate funding of similar or same research at the same time.
- Grievance module
We have a problem reporting module, where the user can report any problem they face while interacting with the system. Being a single step process it hardly take seconds for a user to report any problem. The screenshot of the error is automatically captured along with the request. This request is then given a ticket number. Administrator responds for the ticket after the issue has been resolved. We also have a helpline number and a support email address for the user to send their issues.
- Google Analytics
We have used Google analytics APIs for data analytics & reporting. Reports can be segmented and filtered. Real-time views help us know the current status of the system, how much traffic is currently on the application, number of current active devices; their types, and regions from all over the country where the system is being accessed.
We have developed this module especially for this system which is useful to send any news/message/alerts/ notification about the current/upcoming events of the organization to any group of registered users via email.
- Feedback Management System
e-PPMS is equipped with a Feedback module, where the user is allowed to provide feedback for the process they register for in the system. For example, an Investigator can submit a feedback on the proposal submission process, where they can rate each sub-process on various pre-defined parameters on a scale of 1-5.
- Communication system
A full-fledged Communication module is developed and integrated for communication between Member Secretary and Principal Investigator. This helps both the stakeholders to seek any information from other side. Every such communication is recorded as part of proposals.
- Integration with Social Media
We have integrated this system with social media sites viz. Facebook and Twitter, for promoting the web application. We already have over 500 shares on Facebook. This is helping us reach a wider segment of target population.
- User manuals
Interactive and sophisticated user manuals for all stakeholders are prepared using advanced tools to give assistance to users on ‘how to use a product’ who use SERB online system.
- Integration with MobileSeva
This system is coupled with automated alerts and notifications, it uses MobileSeva based SMS framework to send automatic SMS notifications to the registered users at various stages of the life cycle of the project. It also provides the feature of having a Pull message service, where the researcher can anytime request the status of their proposal instantly. System has provision for automatic reminders and notifications for the internal members as well in the form of Email / SMS, which ensures that the action(s) on the proposal are taken on time.
- Automatic alerts and reminders
An automatic alert and reminder module has been developed in this system to send alerts to the concerned stakeholders at a defined event. This helps in keeping the stakeholders up-to-date about the progress.
- MIS reports
This system has richer group of MIS Reports to perform Statistical analysis on the proposal data and helps in streamlining the project monitoring process. The system is capable of generating dynamic reports, for in-depth analysis and insights on the data, in the form of pictorial or graphical representation. Various permutations are available to represent data in the form of these reports.
Platform required(if any)
We have used Spring based MVC architecture on Java Platform. For databases we have used the open source, yet powerful, PostgreSQL. We have coupled it with Hibernate to provide Object Relational Mapping and to avoid fuzzy code. For the front end, we have relied on groundworks and bootstrap based responsive frameworks and incorporated HTML5 and CSS3 along with them.
Contact Details for Techno Commercial Information
Sh. P.N Barwal
Group Coordinator (e-Governance)