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Helping Innovate UK to respond to the unique challenges of the COVID-19 crisis

In a recent blog post, we took a look at some of the unique challenges faced by Innovate UK as a result of the unprecedented volume of applications that they received in response to their COVID-19 funding competition.

After receiving almost “a year’s worth of applications in less than three weeks”, Applications and Assessment Team Leader at Innovate UK, James Danek said: “The COVID-19 Competition is the biggest challenge Innovate UK has ever faced in terms of competitions.”

Meeting the challenge

Despite the overwhelming scale of the challenge, Innovate UK were able to quickly and effectively respond to the task before them, due in part to the support of ‘Cobalt Grant Manager’.

Developed with scalability in mind, Cobalt Grant Manager is a data analytics solution that utilises a range of innovative analytics-based technologies including Machine Learning, Text Analytics and Natural Language Processing to perform several key tasks, specifically:

  • identifying duplicate applications
  • similarity matching
  • assessor assignment.

‘Cobalt Grant Manager’ is a cloud application built within Innovate UK’s existing AWS infrastructure. This approach has ensured compliance with Innovate UK’s internal security and information management processes and has enabled the solution to scale alongside the needs of the organisation.

Assigning Assessors

In addition to helping identify fraudulent and duplicate submissions, Cobalt Grant Manager also supports the Applications & Assessments team at Innovate UK by helping to assign applications to assessors. The solution has reduced the time taken to complete this process from four days to just a matter of minutes.

Utilising Natural Language Processing and Text Analytics, the solution assesses both the application and the CV of the assessor, identifying topic areas of the application against the skill and experience of assessors to ensure a good fit.

In response to the COVID-19 funding competition, ‘Cobalt Grant Manager’ helped Innovate UK complete more than 10,000 assessor allocations.

Looking ahead

Applications and Assessment Team Leader at Innovate UK, James Danek: “We’re going to run competitions at a higher rate and more urgently than ever before. We need to maintain standards and Cobalt Grant Manager helps us do that. We will not be able to meet our targets without that ongoing AI support contained within Cobalt Grant Manager.”

Find out more

To discover more about how Cobalt Grant Manager has transformed operations at Innovate UK, click the button below to view our white paper.


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by PJ Kirk

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