Research IT Board

Funding for research IT

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The Research IT Board meets six times a year (or twice a term) and considers requests for new research IT projects and, if approved, the consequent funding requests for these research IT projects. Funding comes from the IT Capital fund. All research IT projects need to be requested/sponsored by either a section of UAS, GLAM or IT Services.

The full project cycle shows how these stages fit into the overall life cycle of an IT project. Research IT Board approval is required for Gate 0, Gate 1 and Gate 2. The Board has the authority to approve funding requests of £150k or less, and refer to IT Committee (ITC) funding requests over £150k.

Please contact IT Services' Portfolio Management Office for questions about IT Services’ project life cycle.

The Research IT Board has been given a defined envelope from the IT Capital Plan for research IT projects on a three-year rolling basis. This is subject to annual review by ITC in the light of actual delivery and changing demands.
 

Priority area Priority Project/status
Research data and research IT infrastructure Advanced research computing No current project – ARC received IT capital investment in 2016-17
Virtual machines/cloud for research No current project
Novel/alternative architectures (pre-production/development platforms eg GPU, PHI, ARM, FPGA etc) JADE: service management resource for service set-up
Secure storage of live research data Research File Service
Digital humanities – making datasets sustainable and open The Humanities Digital Sustainability project is currently being scoped
Electronic lab notebooks – Digital Strategy flagship project Electronic lab notebooks (ELNs)
Digital humanities – infrastructure to protect and preserve digital humanities projects No current project
Facilitating the use and re-use of OUP data No current project
Funder compliance Research Excellence Framework Investment is included in the overall REF budget
Impact tracker The Symplectic Elements Impact Module went live in November 2017
Research outcomes reporting Oxford will make use of interoperability between Researchfish and Symplectic Elements in the 2018 Research Council collection
Research grant management Investment in costing and pricing tool(s) X5 interface to Oracle Financials
Electronic application system for internally managed funds IRAMS went live in summer 2017
Ability for administrators and PIs to monitor grant expenditure in real time – Digital Strategy flagship project Making administration of research simpler (MARS)
The open agenda Open access and open data Institutional repository upgrade (ORA4)
Oxford Research Finder – web portal to find what research is being undertaken at Oxford, searching for people, publications and projects Oxford Research Finder project is currently being scoped
Training Training coordination for digital humanities No current project

 

The Research IT Board work flow for individual requests describes the process for considering individual project and funding requests.

 

To summarise:

  • Project requests and funding requests can be considered at any meeting.
  • Project requests need to complete a project request form:

    These have to be considered by IT Services’ Project Sub-group (PSG) before submission to the Secretary by the deadline for papers of the relevant meeting.

  • Funding requests need to complete a Research IT Board funding request summary form:
  • This needs to be submitted to the Secretary by the deadline for papers of the relevant meeting together with the project brief or project initiation document and completed funding approval sheet. Please note both these documents should first be considered by PSG.
  • Each project request and funding request will be assessed against the following criteria:
    • alignment with research IT priorities, the research commitments in the University’s Strategic Plan, the research objective in the IT Capital Plan, together with the strategic aims in the Digital Strategy
    • clear academic need/ (in the case of enterprise systems) clear institutional need
    • size/nature of the user community is such that IT Capital Investment is justified – the IT Capital fund should be used to invest in projects that serve the University as a whole, one or more divisions, a cross-division community or a strategic community, eg the high performance computing user community
    • clear evidence of the degree of user support for/interest in the system
    • scale of effort (and investment) relative to the expected benefits, ie provides value for money (only required for funding requests)
    • clearly defined aims and justification for resources (justification for resources is only required for funding requests)
    • achievability, given complexity, timelines and resources
    • risks to the University if a project is not undertaken
    • statement re sustainability beyond the life of the project – where appropriate clear reference to relevant IT service with evidence of sustainability for the establishment of a new service, or replacement/enhancement of an existing service

 

The outcome of both project requests and funding requests will be reported by the Secretary to the project manager/sponsor and, IT Services Portfolio Management Office. In addition, the Project Finance Team, and the Secretary of ITC will be informed of the outcome of each funding request.

Project request outcomes are either:

  • approved
  • deferred for comments to be addressed – some minor issues need to be addressed, but the request does not need to be resubmitted. Approval is achieved by Chair’s action or reconsideration by the Board
  • rejected the Board has reservations about some aspects of the project but overall agrees that the work described needs to be done. The proposal is returned to the project requestor for further work, and must be resubmitted to the Board or the request has not been approved and cannot be resubmitted.

Funding request decisions are limited to:

  • approved – where the funding requested is £150k or less and the project may be set up on Oracle Financials
  • deferred for comments to be addressed – some minor issues need to be addressed, but the request does not need to be resubmitted. Approval is achieved either by Chair’s action or reconsideration by the Board
  • rejected – the Board has reservations about some aspect of the project but overall agrees that the work described needs to be done. The proposal is returned to the project manager for further work, and must be resubmitted to IT Services Senior Management Team and the Board or the request has not been approved and cannot be resubmitted.
  • referred to ITC for approval – the Board agrees that the project should go ahead but the funding requested exceeds £150k
     
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