1. Overview

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) plays a vital role in India's space exploration endeavors. To foster research collaboration with academia, ISRO established the I-GRASP (ISRO Grant-in-Aid for Space Research Programmes) initiative. However, the initial paper-based proposal submission process was cumbersome and inefficient.

This case study explores how a custom Drupal solution transformed the I-GRASP portal, creating a streamlined and user-friendly system for managing academic research grant proposals.

Link: https://igrasp.isro.gov.in/


2. Why Drupal Was Chosen

Several factors contributed to selecting Drupal for the I-GRASP portal:

  • Open-source platform: Drupal's open-source nature offered cost-effectiveness and flexibility for customization.
  • Scalability: Drupal's robust architecture can handle an increasing number of proposals submitted through the portal.
  • Content Management System (CMS): A user-friendly CMS empowers ISRO to maintain and update information on funding opportunities and research areas.
  • Security: Drupal prioritizes data security, ensuring the confidentiality of sensitive research proposals and reviewer evaluations.
  • Customizable workflows: Drupal's modularity allows for the development of custom workflows to manage the complex proposal review process.


3. Challenges

The paper-based system posed several challenges for ISRO and researchers:

  • Slow processing times: Manual proposal handling led to delays in proposal evaluation and funding decisions.
  • Limited transparency: Researchers lacked a clear view of the proposal review process.
  • Inefficient communication: Communication between researchers, reviewers, and administrators was slow and prone to errors.
  • Data management: Storing and tracking paper proposals was cumbersome and vulnerable to loss or damage.
  • Scalability: The existing system couldn't handle a potential increase in proposal submissions.


4. Solutions

The Drupal-based I-GRASP portal addressed these challenges by offering the following functionalities:

  • Online Proposal Submission: A user-friendly interface allows researchers to submit proposals electronically, streamlining the process.
  • Automated Workflows: A multi-stage approval workflow with defined roles and access controls guides proposals through the review process.
  • Reviewer Portal: Reviewers have a dedicated portal to access assigned proposals, collaborate online, and submit feedback electronically.
  • Proposal Management: ISRO administrators can efficiently manage proposals, track progress, and assign reviewers based on expertise.
  • Reporting & Analytics: Comprehensive reports provide insights into proposal trends, research areas, and reviewer performance.
  • Secure User Management: Secure logins and roles ensure controlled access for researchers, reviewers, and administrators.

isro igrasp


5. Results

The I-GRASP portal has significantly improved the academic grant management process for ISRO:

  • Increased Efficiency: Online submissions and automated workflows have dramatically reduced processing times.
  • Improved Transparency: Researchers have real-time access to the proposal review status, enhancing transparency.
  • Enhanced Collaboration: Online tools facilitate collaboration between reviewers, leading to higher-quality feedback.
  • Data-driven Decision Making: Reports and analytics empower ISRO to make informed funding decisions based on reviewer recommendations.
  • Reduced Paperwork: The online system eliminates the need for paper-based proposals, saving time, resources, and ensuring data security.

By leveraging Drupal's capabilities, ISRO has created a modern and efficient system for managing academic research grant proposals. This has fostered a stronger collaboration between ISRO and academia, ultimately accelerating India's space research endeavors.