The Expert Council of the Presidential Grants Foundation announces provisional results of the second tender of 2017
The final results of the second tender for presidential grant applications will be announced on 24 November.
The deadline for submitting grant applications was 29 September 2017. Ilya Chukalin, General Director of the Presidential Grants Foundation, reported that in total 9,543 bids were submitted by 8010 NGOs spread across the country. All the bids were evaluated by the judging panel and 8611 were accepted. The united expert panel was made up of 693 experts from 66 different regions of the Russian Federation. (The Presidential Grants Foundation invited 820 experts to join the panel but for various reasons not all were able to accept the position.)
The application evaluation process lasted 31 days. Over that time 18,455 projects were assessed. As with the first tender, every application was assessed by at least two experts. Where the experts disagreed on the merits of the bid, additional experts were invited to comment. Some of the larger projects were evaluated by up to 4 experts and the assessors were required to justify their evaluations. The Presidential Grants Foundation believes this approach should simplify its future cooperation with NGOs that have been unsuccessful in their applications.
As with the first tender for presidential grants in 2017, the final score in determining the winning organisations is dependent on the amount of money the NGO is seeking. After examining the outcome of the first tender the organisers decided to create a separate category for bids over 10 million roubles. Chukalin explained that these bids needed to fulfil stricter requirements and a more complicated points system was used to evaluate them. The General Director of the Presidential Grants Foundation justified this more stringent requirement on the basis that there were fewer organisations applying for these large amounts and the projects were designed to be implemented on a federal scale.
There were three other tiers for the bids: applications for projects under 500,000 roubles, applications between 500,000 roubles and 3 million roubles, and applications between 3 million and 10 million roubles. A provisional list of the winning organisations and the final scores awarded to them by the expert panel will be produced once the united expert council convenes. The coordinating council for the tender will determine the number of points needed to win a grant for each of the three tiers. The council is next due to meet on 22 November. Mr Chukalin explained the process for choosing the winning organisations. “Each project will be given an overall rating, then the points will be calculated and any organisation with points above a certain number will be awarded a grant.”
The organisers decided not to prevent organisations with ties to members of the expert council from submitting a bid. To avoid any conflict of interest it was agreed that an expert “does not have the right to review an application if he or she or any of their close relatives are an employee or a board member of the bidding organisation, or if there are grounds to assume that the expert would benefit personally, either directly or indirectly, from the application process.”
This issue was discussed by the coordinating committee and it was subsequently agreed that a possible conflict of interest should not prevent an organisation from applying for a grant. As Chukalin said, if this restriction had been in place, there simply would not have been any experts involved. All the strong experts, regardless of their involvement in the work of the council, are able to put together strong bids without needing any administrative support or advice. Furthermore, the number of bids where there was a conflict of interest was negligible, less than one percent of the total number of applications and probably less than one percent of the successful applications.
This year saw the highest number of applications and project proposals since the Presidential Grant Scheme for the voluntary sector was launched. The second tender of 2017 attracted 2,920 more applications than the first tender, which also broke previous records. For the first tender there were 6,581 bids in total, virtually double the average for the first tender in 2015-2016.
970 grants were awarded across 9 regions in the first tender, and 2.2 billion roubles were distributed across the various NGOs. The total amount awarded in the second tender was over 4.5 billion roubles.