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ORAU delivers cost savings and customer service with off-the-shelf software

Man participating in a peer review

ORAU’s Scientific Peer Review Program is no different than any other organization striving to do more with less in the current economy.

With smaller budgets and faster turnaround needed for proposal reviews, utilizing Web-based collaboration tools to share information is necessary.

Therefore, the ORAU team built a project tracking and management system with off-the-shelf products—an immediate cost and time-saver.

In a recent example involving the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, ORAU conducted an annual merit review—a complete and objective examination of DOE funded projects in progress by independent reviewers, based on predetermined criteria, who are knowledgeable in the project field—that included more than 500 review projects and 300 reviewers from around the world.

Once identified and scheduled, the reviewers were assigned to a project based on their areas of expertise, per the customer’s request, but project categories were very specific and finding reviewers that matched the specific categories proved challenging, at best, for ORAU.

To make the scheduling and matching of reviewers to project categories much easier, ORAU established a SharePoint, Web-based collaboration environment.

As a result, ORAU was able to not only customize the site to meet customer requirements but also provide customers with access to the site where they could gather more details on the reviewers, approve them and track the projects themselves.

SharePoint may not be revolutionary but, through customization, it can make customer service delivery, as in this EERE example, a win-win.

Today, thanks to SharePoint and this one project, more than 3,400 reviewer assignments have been successfully made and approved electronically from locations around the world.

More peer review success stories | Scientific peer review home