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Independent Evaluation Process in 2015 Financial Support Programs is now complete. 20 April 2015

Trakya Development Agency completed its independent evaluation process, which is the first round of the project evaluation process concerning 2015 Financial Support Programs. Following the project deliveries that ended on 20 March 2015, it was now time to evaluate the projects of applicants who submitted their completed documents. Independent evaluators from outside the region reviewed the projects against the criteria described in the application guidelines.

309 applications were reviewed for resources put to the use of the TR21 Trakya Region through the Trakya Development Agency 2015 Financial Support Programs. Projects were first reviewed by the Agency personnel in administrative terms to see if documents were missing or not. Following the controls, feedback was given to the project authors of certain projects to complete their missing documents and papers. Projects with shortfalls which serve as a just cause for rejecting them were already eliminated before the scoring round was started.

Agency Officers only carry out document control for the projects

TRAKYA DA (abbreviation for Trakya Development Agency) employees and independent evaluators continued their control over the delivered projects to see if there are any missing documents. It was reminded that the Agency officers had no role in this evaluation of contents for the projects as each project was individually scored by the independent evaluators. Mr. Mahmut Sahin, the General Secretary of the Agency, stated that the evaluation process was planned to last until the first week of June, he wished that the outcome would be beneficial to the region. Mr. Sahin said the following in his statement:

“The independent evaluation process, which is the most critical round for the projects of the applicants who seek a donation from our Agency, was completed as of this week. In our role as the sponsor/ financial provider, we fully exclude our personnel from the content evaluation as necessitated by the principle of objectivity. During this first step of the evaluation process, we fully worked with experts who were from outside the Agency and the region. Scores assigned by these experts, who are rightly called, independent evaluators, are very critical because scores assigned to projects at this round impact their ranking in the final evaluation list. We paid a huge attention to ensure that independent evaluators appointed by us at this point were all experts in their respective fields. For this reason, we have full trust in their expertise and decisions, which will help us to allocate the resources to our stakeholders in the most efficient way. Feedback we receive from the evaluators at this point indicates that this year’s projects are more significant and of higher quality. They stated that for this reason, it was a challenge to them to select the projects”

How are independent evaluators chosen?

Independent evaluators are appointed by the Agency to evaluate the projects in financial, administrative and technical aspects against the rules in the application guidelines. An independent evaluator should be a high school graduate as a minimum, with a minimum five years experience in his respective field, and is and will not be involved in the preparation and execution stages of the projects. The Agency announces the qualifications that an independent evaluator should meet through adverts, and accepts the applications. Applications are evaluated by a committee consisting of a minimum of three experts without any hierarchical relation between them and they are appointed by the General Secretary. Expertise and experience of an independent evaluator is verified from a review on his resume, and if necessary, a one-to-one interview or a telephone call.

How does an Independent Evaluator work?

A project is separately evaluated by two independent evaluators and the average of the scores assigned by both evaluators over 100 is taken into consideration. If the difference from the scores assigned by both evaluators for the project is larger than 15 points, the project is assigned to a third evaluator. When the score assigned by the third independent evaluator is closer to either of the scores set by the previous evaluators, the average of that closer score and the third evaluator score is taken and the overall project score is calculated. An independent evaluator may evaluate a maximum of twenty-five projects in total during a project proposal period, which means that he can go over a maximum of three projects a day. An independent evaluator’s identity and details of the projects handled by him are kept confidential, and a work environment isolated from external factors is provided to them.

What are other rounds in the Project Evaluation Process?

According to the Agency’s project evaluation system, projects are submitted to the evaluation committee after the independent evaluator stage. Scores assigned by this committee demonstrate the success rank of the project. This committee consists of officers from various bodies and institutions and university representatives from the region. The list compiled via this method undergoes a risk review by the General Secretary and it is now time for the approval of the Agency’s Board of Directors. At this point, Board members check such aspects of the projects that complement each other, and take into consideration the priorities of the region. Board members may disqualify projects irrespective of its score if they think it is not eligible for the support. Instead of the disqualified projects, projects on the runner-up list are admitted to the list, starting from the first one on the list. This way the Board selects the projects eligible for donation.