The Nuts 'n Bolts of an Internal Funding Program

  • June 28, 2023
The Arts & Humanities Initiative (AHI Program) at the University of Iowa offers grant funding for humanities scholarship and work in the creative, visual, and performing arts. There are two cycles per year (fall and spring), with 15-25 applications submitted each cycle. In a  Peer Spotlight webinar, Cheryl Ridgeway (Research Support Coordinator) and Britt Ryan (Research Development Coordinator) shared how InfoReady has influenced the facilitation of this internal funding program over time. As Cheryl notes: “The Arts and Humanities process was first run in the mid-90s. At that time, there was no electronic application was all done by email, which is not ideal.”

The current set up in InfoReady offers a centralized system for administrators, applicants, and reviewers:

  •  View draft applications and activity: Makes it easy to remind applicants prior to the deadline.
  • Take individual, private application notes: Helps track internal information for review and award processes.
  • Replicate easily each cycle: “For the administrators, all previous competitions are in one place, and this makes it easy to copy and update each new competition -- no reinventing the wheel!”

  • Access materials in one place: Britt and Cheryl include program guidelines, budget forms, and past budget examples as reference documents.
  • Submit simply, even with a variety of file uploads: Standard short answer questions, combined with required and optional uploads, keep the process standardized yet flexible.
  • Receive feedback with final decision: “Notifications and comments are sent to all applicants. These are the review comments or critiques that are formally written out and they are all sent, but the reviewer names are removed. Those remain anonymous.”
  •  Receive automatic notifications: New and pending assignments are sent directly to their inbox, allowing them to take immediate action.
  • Access everything they need: Custom instructions, rubrics, application materials, and the review form are all visible in the same interface.
  • Provide feedback to complement in-person meetings: “Scores and comments are due in InfoReady 48 hours in advance of that meeting. This allows time for the administrator to capture the scores, enter them into a spreadsheet, and figure out averages.”

In the future, the University of Iowa plans to add another component to how the AHI Program is managed. Britt and Cheryl are looking to use the Progress Reports feature in InfoReady to standardize the process of collecting information about outcomes from the individuals who are awarded funds.

We want to thank Britt and Cheryl for sharing their expertise in managing the AHI internal funding program. Their attention to detail throughout the competition creates simple applicant and reviewer experiences that utilize the breadth of their InfoReady system.



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