Unique vs Overlapping Categorisations

Comparing the differences between unique and overlapping funding categorisations

The aggregate of all funding categorisations in a given funding round will have categorisations that are either unique or overlapping in the proposal focus areas that can be submitted.

Unique categorisations - Unique categorisations are where certain proposal focus areas can only be submitted in one categorisation. This makes the category unique as no other categories also accept proposals with the same focus areas.

Overlapping categorisations - Overlapping categorisations occur when a given proposal focus area can be submitted in multiple categories. The most simple overlapping categorisation scenario is when one category has an overlapping proposal focus areas with one other category. The maximum form of overlapping categorisations would be where one proposal focus area overlaps with every category meaning it can be submitted into any of the categories!

Factors to consider

  • Budget weighting complexity - What complexity is there for deciding budgets that should be applied to each of the funding categorisations? How difficult is it or how long will it take to produce a well informed outcome?

  • Directing funding - How effective is the categorisation for directing funding to certain focus areas?

  • Proposer effort - How much effort is required by the proposer who will submit proposals into the categorisations that are used?

  • Voter effort - How much effort is required by the voter to understand the categorisation and vote on how they are used?

  • Proposal assessor effort - How much effort is required by the proposal assessors who will assess the categorisations?

  • Category team effort - How much effort is required by the category teams who suggest the categorisations?

  • Categorisation justification - How complex is it to provide justify why the categorisation should exist and why it should be selected for a given funding round? How much effort is required?

  • Governance complexity - How much complexity is there to govern this approach for funding categorisation?

Unique categorisations


  • Lower budget weighting complexity - Complexity of budget weighting is reduced for those that set the budget as they can focus on exactly what they believe is needed for the focus areas listed in the categorisation. They would not need to consider other categorisations and the impact of their budget weightings as the focus areas do not overlap.

  • Easy to direct funding - The community are more effectively able to direct funding to different focus areas with more precision as they can focus on which grouping of focus areas is more important without needing to consider the impact on the budgets for other categorisations.

  • Lower proposer effort - The proposer would not need to spend much or any time working out which categorisations to submit their proposals and would instead have a single categorisation to submit into.

  • Lower voter effort - Voters would not need to spend time looking at how every categorisation overlaps and can instead just focus on deciding what funding is required for the focus areas listed knowing that they aren’t mentioned in other categorisations.

  • Lower proposer assessor effort - Proposal assessors and veteran proposal assessors would not need to look at other categorisations to understand the differences in groupings if categorisations were made to be unique. This would save time on assessments where assessors would need to compare them to be well informed.

  • Low categorisation justification - There would be less effort to justify categorisations if focus areas are grouped into unique categorisations as they would not need to be compared with other categorisations to make budget weighting decisions. Any unique categorisation is easily justified as by definition it would cover focus areas that are not already covered in other categorisations.

  • Low governance complexity - Governance for voters is easy when categorisations are unique as they don’t need to compare all of the focus areas and different ways they have been grouped together. Instead the voter would just need to decide whether a unique categorisation is useful or not and the budget weighting to apply whilst considering the other unique categorisations.


  • Increased category team effort - Category teams would need to spend more time ensuring that the categorisations suggested are unique and they do not overlap.

Overlapping categorisations


  • Lower category proposer effort - Category proposers would not need to collaborate to prevent overlapping categorisations. However they would need to spend more time justifying why there categorisation is better than other similar categorisations to convince the voters.


  • Higher budget weighting complexity - It will be more difficult to determine how to apply a sensible budget weighting to a categorisation when considerations also have to be made to other overlapping categorisations that would also influence the funding available for certain focus areas. Without these considerations there could easily be focus areas with far too little or too much funding.

  • Difficult to direct funding - Overlapping categorisations will make it more difficult too easily see how funding is being directed as proposals with different focus areas could be submitted in multiple places. Overlapping categorisations makes it more difficult to accurate allocate funding to certain focus areas.

  • Higher proposer effort - Proposers have to read more categorisations and understand which focus areas can be submitted into which categorisations before they can submit a proposal.

  • Higher voter effort - Voters must understand how the categorisations overlap before they can choose which categorisations to vote for, what budget categorisations are sensible and the implications of the budget weightings for each focus area across multiple categorisations.

  • Higher proposal assessor effort - Proposal assessors must spend more time understanding the differences between the other categorisations to give well informed assessment.

  • Higher categorisation justification - Any categorisation added or removed from a funding round must have more justification on whether that has a positive impact on the funding available for certain focus areas. Adding or removing categorisations now must consider the impacts of that action against the other existing categorisations to justify the decision being made.

  • Higher governance complexity - Both proposal assessors and voters must have access to a larger amount of information on the justifications of the categorisations to make well informed assessments and voting decisions.


  • Overlapping categorisations increase complexity for the majority of the community involved in the funding process without any significant advantages. It is far more expensive to push this complexity to the assessors and voters than it is for the category teams to ensure that the categorisations are unique.

  • Unique categorisations require collaboration from category teams making them to agree on which focus areas go in each categorisation. Unique categorisations have the large advantage of reducing complexities around budget weighting, governance decisions and reducing the effort required for the remainder of the different roles involved in the funding process. Unique categorisations make the funding process more efficient, scalable and easier to use.

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