Many research managers, particularly in smaller institutions, currently rely on a variety of different information sources such as spreadsheets and internal databases to access and report information on grant funding and awards. While it is possible to find out information on other institutions’ grant funding via services such as Grants on the Web, this can prove time-consuming for those working in already busy research offices.
In a recent post from the team at Brunel University, Alicen Nickson discussed the various issues facing research managers when it comes to managing their institution’s research portfolio and reporting this information to internal and external stakeholders:
Being able to identify with whom we should collaborate to maximise our chances of research funding success
G4HE allows you to see who you are already collaborating with, and how much funding each project was awarded. This information can help you identify which existing collaborations are generating the most funding and should be cultivated. In addition, you can see how much funding was awarded to your projects compared with other institutions across the same time period. Based on this report, you can identify who you should be building relationships with that you may not work with currently. You can also get recommendations for potential collaborations based on project, people and keyword searches to help you find collaborators in subject areas of interest to your institution.
Being able to report on our research funding activity to a range of internal and external audiences
G4HE allows you to generate reports that illustrate collaborations that your institution was involved in during a given time period, and the funding awarded to projects that started within that time. In addition to an at-a-glance view detailing top collaborations in both tabular and graph format, you can see detailed tables showing key information on that collaboration (collaborator, funding awarded, principal investigator etc.) The detailed reports are downloadable as .csv files which can be imported into Excel, allowing you to use the data for your own reporting.
Understanding our research funding performance in context; how are we doing compared to others?
G4HE’s benchmarking report allows you to select other institutions with whom to compare yourself, and report on the number of projects started by your own and your competitors institutions during a selected time period. You can also view the amount of funding awarded to projects started by your institution within a given time period in comparison to the amount awarded to other institutions. This may help with planning in terms of knowing which projects and subject areas are performing better and which are not generating as much funding, and also in terms of possible future collaborations.
The principal way in which the tools developed by the G4HE project could be beneficial to HEIs is by helping to save time and resource; providing access to the data held within GtR and presenting it in a way that is easy to view at-a-glance and that can be quickly interpreted and included in an institution’s internal reports.
GtR and G4HE
Over the course of the G4HE project, feedback from the community has shown that there is some confusion between G4HE and Gateway to Research. The two projects are distinct, although they are working together. RCUK’s GtR contains data on who, what and where the Councils fund, as well as details about the outcomes, outputs and impact held on ROS and ResearchFish. Data from additional funders, such as TSB, will also shortly be available on GtR. The current aim of GtR is to enable the public to access and understand this information, with a particular focus on innovation-centered SMEs.
The information held in GtR has a number of potential advantages to Research Managers, particularly when it comes to the issues raised in Alicen’s post around identifying current and potential collaborators and benchmarking research funding performance. However, it is not currently aimed at this audience. The purpose of the Jisc-funded G4HE project is to build tools that will take this information from GtR and make it available to research managers in a way that meets their specific needs. In addition, G4HE is working with RCUK to provide recommendations on how the data could be improved.
The G4HE tools are being developed in consultation with volunteers from ARMA and the research information community. If you would like to have a go with the tools and give us some feedback, please feel free to do so via the comments or by contacting bex at cottagelabs dot com.
Interested in finding out more about G4HE? Why not attend our Webinar on October 22nd – sign up via EventBrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/event/8548036407