Canadian government's science funding website bugs fixed
New system supposed to streamline funding applications
The federal government says it has fixed the latest technical glitch with a new website designed to streamline Canadian applications for science funding.
The website, called the Research Portal, repeatedly broke down just days before the deadline for Insight Development Grants — a $7,000 to $75,000 grant available from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.
Each year, hundreds of academics from across Canada apply for the Insight Development Grant. In 2011, 246 grants were awarded.
University researchers from Nova Scotia report the Research Portal would not accept PDF uploads, changes to application text boxes and certain information was wiped.
In response to inquiries by CBC News, a vice-president of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council issued a statement.
"Over the weekend, researchers filling out SSHRC grant applications on the Research Portal experienced issues with attaching documents and CCVs. However, applicants could still access the portal, enter information and work on their applications," Brent Herbert-Copley said in a statement.
He said the system was fully restored Monday afternoon.
"SSHRC sincerely regrets any inconvenience this has caused applicants and their institutions," he said.
Researchers in Halifax contacted by CBC News said the latest problems began on Jan. 17 and were fixed temporarily but then returned. The situation resulted in an internal Dalhousie University deadline for applications being missed.
On Monday night, after complaints from researchers, the federal government extended the deadline for submitting Insight Grant applications to Feb. 6.
Researchers say there have been technical problems with the Research Portal since it was introduced in the fall of 2013.
The website is supposed to harmonize applications for funding to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the Canadian Institutes for Health Research.
Herbert-Copley acknowledged difficulties.
"We are in a period of transition as SSHRC moves to the new Research Portal and there have been some technical issues," he wrote.
"SSHRC is doing its best to resolve them, as quickly as possible, and to keep the research community informed."