All technical proposals submitted by Principal Investigators (PI) shall be evaluated by the Solicitation & Evaluation Department (SED). Internal evaluation will be followed by assessment by the external evaluators. The forwarding to the external evaluator will only be made if primary internal evaluation indicates the viability of the project. If project is found non-viable, it could be sent back to the PI for requisite changes to make it viable or it could be rejected altogether. In both cases PI has the option to appeal.
All disputes prior to the approval of a project proposal will be resolved under the Appeal Process outlined in section 5.3 of the Operations Manual. The relevant clauses are stated below for expediency:
5.3 APPEAL PROCEDURE
5.3.1 CEO will receive all appeals related to the proposal evaluation process belonging to any tier before they are escalated to PAC.
22.214.171.124 CEO will resolve the situation by communicating recommendations regarding differences related to internal or external evaluation to the applicant.
126.96.36.199 CEO may co-opt any employee of the National ICT R&D Fund or the external evaluator to get a fair opinion of all parties concerned.
188.8.131.52 The applicant in response may agree to implement some of the recommendations and may provide justification for not implementing other recommendations.
184.108.40.206 CEO will either accept applicant’s justification for not implementing the recommendations or escalate applicant’s response to the Head of PAC for further processing of the appeal.
220.127.116.11 Once the project is approved, CEO will send a report to PAC including possible suggestions for improvements in the evaluation process.
5.3.2 There will be no appeal against the decision of PAC or Board relating to the decision whether or not to approve a Project Proposal for grant. This implies that the rejection / realignment recommendation of Tier-III and Tier-IV projects at PAC or Board level cannot be challenged however appeals may be made against the evaluation made by SED or Finance Department (FD) for projects belonging to all tiers.
5.3.3 PAC may co-opt members from other committees to get a fair opinion of all parties concerned. It may also invite any member of the executive body during the appeal process. In appeals against CEO, PAC will ensure that CEO would be treated as a party to dispute.
5.3.4 Once the project is approved, the appeals against the flaws in monitoring process will also be heard by PAC. PAC may where appropriate co-opt members of the PMC or F&A C for deciding the appeal.
5.3.5 If the proposal is rejected /reviewed on technical grounds, PAC may seek advice from CEO and GM SED during reconsideration of proposal.
5.3.6 In case the proposal is rejected /reviewed on financial grounds, PAC will co-opt a member of the F&A C, and may also seek advice from CEO and CFO, during the reconsideration of proposal.
5.3.7 Principal investigator reserves the right to appeal to PAC in case realignment decisions made by R&D Fund Co in the project objectives and milestones (in accordance with the monitoring department recommendations) can be proved irrational on justifiable grounds. PAC will co-opt a member of the PMC, and may also seek advice from CEO and GM Monitoring, during the reconsideration of proposal.
5.3.8 If appeal process remains inconclusive, the matter will be resolved through mediation as described in R&D Fund Co. Rules and PFA.
5.3.9 In case of unsuccessful mediation, the parties may move to arbitration in accordance with R&D Fund rule and PFA.
Operations Manual and other policy documents of National ICT R&D Fund are available here.