Automatic Grant Tracking Saves DNA Labs Hours of Work
Written by Heather MacIntosh   


Grants may help keep a lab operating, but reporting to funding bodies takes time away from doing essential casework. Labs often require criminalists to enter all of their activities into a spreadsheet to capture data for multiple funding bodies. If an error is discovered in the spreadsheet, an analyst could take hours or even days away from processing cases to fix it. In addition, the grant manager may spend hours calculating statistics to complete regular grant reporting, such as is required twice annually for the National Institute of Justice.

STACS DNA recently introduced grant tracking as part of its sample processing software for forensic casework DNA laboratories. STACS-CW Enterprise completely automates grant tracking as part of its regular, extensive audit trail.

Grant tracking saves criminologists and grant managers time by automatically tracking grant-related statistics and making funding-body reporting quicker and easier. Labs can capture grant-funded processing statistics for NIJ and other funding organizations and for lab management.

“Since STACS already captures everything an analyst does in the lab, as well as the consumables used, our clients asked us to add grant tracking to make it easier for them to report to the NIJ,” said Jocelyn Tremblay, STACS DNA’s President and COO. “Grant tracking will save our clients considerable time and exasperation, so that they can focus on working cases instead of spreadsheets.”

Labs can automatically track and allocate the following to specific grants or other funding sources or contracts:

  • purchased consumables
  • staff employee hours
  • contract employee hours
  • overtime hours
  • performance statistics such as the number of samples processed, profiles developed and profiles entered into CODIS

The grant manager saves time as all grant-related data is automatically captured. Grant reports are fully customizable, making it quick and easy to generate exactly the reports required by lab management and the oversight board. Analysts can focus on working cases instead of spreadsheets, since the details of their work are automatically tracked and assigned to the appropriate funding source.

Report shows all consumables associated with the grant for a specific date range.

How it works

A grant tracking ‘switch’ is automatically set to ‘On’ for grant-funded users, and it can be turned on manually for any other user. These users’ activities are automatically recorded against the selected grant. No other actions are required. There is no limit to the number of grants that can be tracked.

The grant tracking switch is set ‘on’ to track work performed by a specific user for a specific grant.

STACS-CW Enterprise notifies a grant-funded user if their assigned grant is nearing its end date and they are prompted to assign a new grant. The user can specify the desired number of days’ notice, and the grant’s end date can be changed if the grant is extended.

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