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Phasing out

SAGe, the new informatics administration system will abolish the use of paper processes at the Foundation

FAPESP has implemented the first phase of its Administration Support System (SAGe in the Portuguese acronym), which starts a new standard of quality in attending to researchers and in the administration of processes associated to research projects. Starting from the 3rd of January of this year, some 11,437 researchers registered themselves and between the 1st and the 25th of February some 272 proposals were successfully submitted to the Foundation via electronic means. Nevertheless, because of some stability problems with the IT system, the Foundation’s president, Carlos Vogt, decided at the end of February to send a communication explaining to the São Paulo researchers that temporarily they would have to live with the two systems of submitting proposals for grants and scholarships, the electronic and the traditional.

“So that there’s no harm done to the timetable and planning of the presentation of these proposals, FAPESP is communicating that starting from the 1st of March it will also place into operation its traditional system making use of the paper forms”, the communication informed. The two methods, it was added, “will go hand in hand until the stability problem is resolved once and for all”. This means that every researcher who finds difficulty in sending his/her proposal via electronic means can, for now, make use of the forms that are again available at the site and submit his/her proposal by the traditional method.

When the system is stable all of the researchers will no longer have to appear personally at the Foundation’s headquarters, armed with document folders, in order to apply for new or renewed support. By way of the site , they will be able to request t financial support, update personal information and curriculum data, annex documents, follow the path of processes and even get to know the evaluation of their assessors. The expectation is that by the end of the first semester the SAGe will be working at full capacity, giving total coverage to all of the procedures that are involved in the relationship between researchers and the Foundation. “The SAGe represents an important step in the modernization of FAPESP and a quality leap in the administration of projects and scientific and technological research”, says Carlos Vogt, FAPESP’s president. “It’s a fundamental mark in the dynamics of the program Change, Quality and Institutionalization, which has guided FAPESP’s new administration standards.”

The informatization of administration has as its objective the rationalization of procedures in the Foundation, with consequent cost reductions, and the standardization of terms and concepts involved. It will allow FAPESP to maintain its quality when attending to a growing demand: between 1994 and 2004, the requests for grants jumped from 4,100 to 17,000. As well as this, it will guarantee greater visibility throughout all of the procedures – preserving, clearly, the secrecy of the processes and projects -, and reiterating the institution’s public responsibility.

Friendly environment
The SAGe is made up of five main modules: presentation of a proposal; the analysis and judging of proposals; administration of contracts; physical accompaniment and evaluation and, finally, the administration of the programs. In a friendly environment within the internet, of easy navigation, the researchers have access to the forms for all of the development lines offered by the Foundation, which includes a field for the annexing of the documentation demanded in each one of the support modalities. In the case of a doubt, it is possible to seek the assistance of an efficient Help Service, which is easy to understand. Also, the completion of the forms does not offer difficulties. For example, when the support modality has been chosen, the site itself immediately presents to the interested party a list of forms to be completed. And the researcher is then alerted in the case of missing information or documents.

The site permits the updating of data as well as the researcher’s curriculum. A convention between FAPESP and the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) will permit priming the SAGe compendiums with a download from Curriculum Lattes. The assessors responsible for accompanying various projects will also be able to make use of the new system of sending opinions. And FAPESP will have more agility to accompany the contracts and to administer various programs. The SAGe guarantees total security in the trafficking of documents. Access to the site is carried out by way of a password that functions as a sort of signature for the researcher, consequently being unable to be transferred. The assessors’ opinions are also protected by a seal of absolute secrecy.

The projects already ongoing, remitted before the implantation of the SAGe system, will not be integrated into the system. The presentation of reports, the rendering of accounts etc. will go on obeying the old system. In 2009, when all of these processes will be completed, all of the procedures of financing and administration of a contract; accompaniment and programs’ evaluations and projects; will all be totally integrated into the new system. “The clear informatization of FAPESP’s procedures, which involve from similar activities, passing through development up until the administrative organization that gives them support, is the result of a combined effort by all of the auxiliary staff, administrators, managers, directors, technical people from the Data Processing Center of the Studies and Advanced System of Recife (Cesar), contracted to conceive and develop the system that now is being implanted”, says president Vogt.