Frequently asked questions

 

  1. TRM Outline
    1.1 What does TRM aim to achieve?
    1.2 What are the main themes of the project?
    1.3 What stage is the project at?
    1.4 Who has been involved with the project work streams?
    1.5 What are the key goals and benefits of the changes being introduced by TRM?

  2. New TRM roles and structures
    2.1 What is the focus of the new college based roles and structures?
    2.2 What will the Central Research Support Office deliver in the future model?
    2.3 Will existing roles be impacted by these changes?
    2.4 Will some roles close due to the proposed changes?
    2.5 Could there be redundancies if current positions are closing?
    2.6 How many roles are at risk of closing as a result of the TRM proposals?
    2.7 How many staff will be made redundant as a result of these changes?
    2.8 How many new posts are being created and at what grades?
    2.9 What is the generic job description for the Senior Project Coordinator roles?
    2.10 What is the proposed structure of the future RSO?
    2.11 What are the anticipated structures for the college teams?

  3. Implementation approach
    3.1 What is the proposed implementation approach?
    3.2 What will Phase 1 cover?
    3.3 How will the new Project Coordinator roles be filled?
    3.4 Will there be any additional roles introduced in Phase 1?
    3.5 What are potential impacts of this approach?
    3.6 What would Phase 2 then cover?
    3.7 When will the final impact be know?
    3.8 If I am appointed during Phase 1 recruitment when will I start in the new role?

  4. Communication
    4.1 How have managers been engaged in the plans to date?
    4.2 Has there been dialogue with the Trade Unions?
    4.3 What will be the approach to communication?
    4.4 What support is available to me through this transition period?
    4.5 When are the Key Milestones?
    4.6 What consultation process is taking place within the Trade Unions?
    4.7 Was the University Court consulted on the potential impact of TRM?

 


 

1. TRM outline

1.1 Question: What does TRM aim to achieve?
Answer: The Transforming Research Management Project aims to revolutionise Research Management support by developing a new University wide service fit to operate within a dynamic and challenging funding environment whilst delivering dedicated PI support and efficient financial administration.

1.2 Question: What are the main themes of the project?
Answer: TRM has two  key work streams, based on the redesign of research management support operational processes (from “cradle to grave”):
1. Development of an Agresso based system to facilitate the process
2. Introduction of a new organisation design (roles and structures) to support the new processes and PIs across the University.

1.3 Question: What stage is the project at?
Answer: The TRM project has reached a key point in its development.  New generic job roles dedicated to research management support have been developed and proposed structures created by each college and the Central Research Support team.

The proposed changes were presented to Court in December 2014 and wider communication to staff took place in January 2015.

Phase 1 recruitment was completed in July 2015 and training of the new Project Coordinators and Research Administrators took place in August 2015.  Following on from the training, further system development work is taking place and and it is anticipated that Phase 1 will go live at the end of March 2016.   

1.4 Question: Who has been involved with the project work streams?
Answer: The new process and system have been developed with input from a range of stakeholders across the University including a PI Steering Group and a User Group representing staff from the Central Research Support Office teams and each of the colleges.

Organisation design aspects (roles and structures) have been addressed by college and central Research Support teams.  In considering the potential scale of the future college and central teams they have utilised both the data gathered from the research management support survey of existing activity alongside analysis of the scale and scope of applications and awards by volume, value and complexity.

The project board is chaired by Robert Fraser with senior representatives from each of the Colleges and relevant University Services departments.

1.5 Question: What are the key goals and benefits of the changes being introduced by TRM?
Answer: The changes introduced by TRM will:

    • Provide a dedicated service to PIs - "cradle to grave" support
    • Improve management of projects
    • Increase consistency of processes
    • Quicker "go live" - accelerate the set-up of newly funded projects
    • Better reporting (for funders and PIs)
    • Reduce funding returned
    • Provide a clearer research management support career path for staff
    • Support Glasgow 2020: A global Vision in delivering excellent research
    • Better support multi-disciplinary activity
    • Support the University's ambition to increase the overall research portfolio and application success rate

 

 

2. New TRM roles and Structures

2.1 Question: What is the focus of the new college based roles and structures?
Answer:
The Organisation Design element will introduce dedicated Research Support Teams in each college with new roles centred on that of Project Coordinator.

Project Coordinators will be the main point of contact and support for a number of Principal Investigators for pre- and post-award research management support from application and costing activity through setting up awards once secured to post award project tracking and reporting.

There will also be administration roles organised to support the activities of the Project Coordinators and potentially wider aspects of the research activity across the college.

2.2 Question: What will the Central Research Support Office deliver in the future model?
Answer:
The Central Research Support Office will provide specialist pre- and post-award advice, guidance and support to college teams in addition to post award financial administration, the management of funder audits and provision of information and training.   

They will continue to provide legal support and advice and specialist support for EU grants will remain within a centralised model.

2.3 Question: Will existing roles be impacted by these changes?
Answer:
Yes.   Given the current fragmented nature of the research support model and the different approaches which exist across the Schools and Research Institutes, it is clear that the new procedures and support model will impact on a number of roles to varying degrees.   

Some roles will be significantly impacted whilst others will only see minor changes to existing activities.

The detail of this continues to be considered and assessed by the Project team and College and Research Support management teams to ensure that the transition to the new model is as smooth as possible and staff are engaged and supported accordingly.  It is essential that whilst introducing a more standard and improved approach to supporting our PIs we do not lose the knowledge and expertise that already exists.   

2.4 Question: Will some roles close due to the proposed changes?
Answer:
Yes.  It is anticipated that a small number of existing roles will close once the new structures are fully implemented.    Individuals in this position will be closely supported through the transition to ensure that all options available to them are explored.    The project will create many new opportunities for staff and we are keen to retain existing skills, experience and knowledge.

2.5 Question: Could there be redundancies if current positions are closing?
Answer:
The project is very much focussed on investing in the support provided for our Research Activities.   We will work hard with impacted individuals and the Trade Unions to minimise any potential risk of individual redundancies arising from closure of existing positions.

2.6 Question: How many roles are at risk of closing as a result of the TRM Proposals?
Answer: The creation of the new structures to support our PIs within the four colleges will impact on a significant number of existing roles.  For many this impact is relatively modest and the role will continue with minor changes.   
However a number of roles have been identified as potentially closing as a result of the changes.   The project leads within the colleges and University Services initially identified c.20-25 such roles and it is on this basis that we shared information with the Trade Unions for consultation and entered into individual discussions with a number of staff.   
Such individual conversations also took place for a small number of roles where there is expected to be a significant impact on the role though it may not ultimately close.

2.7 Question: How many staff will be made redundant as a result of these changes?
Answer: As indicated in Q 2.5 above, we are working to minimise the potential for actual redundancies and aim to support all staff to seek suitable alternative roles within the University.

2.8 Question: How many new posts are being created and at what grades?
Answer: During Phase 1 we are filling four College Research Support Manager positions (Grade 8 in Arts and Social Sciences and Grade 9 in MVLS and Science and Engineering).  Additionally, 12 Project Coordinator positions (G7) will be filled to support the Phase 1 colleges and schools/RIs.  A small number of administration roles (G5) have been created to support the Phase 1 structures.   These were filled following the initial recruitment of Project Coordinators.

The number of roles for Phase 2 is not yet finalised.   
A number of new roles are being proposed for the Central Research Support Office and there will be additional Project Coordinator roles for MVLS and Science and Engineering.  We also expect to hire a small number of Senior Project Coordinators (G8) at that stage.  This is likely to be in the region of 3-4 posts.
There may be other roles in the final structures but these are the core ones currently anticipated.

2.9 Question: What is the generic job description for the Senior Project Coordinator roles?
Answer: It is anticipated that this role will have a mix of team leader/management responsibilities alongside those of project coordination. The generic descriptions are attached. Job description for MVLS Senior Project Coordinator and job description for S&E Senior Project Coordinator. Please note that these may be refined prior to recruitment based on any lessons learned during the initial Phase 1 implementation. 

2.10 Question: What is the proposed structure of the future RSO?
Answer: The attached RSO organisational diagram shows the anticipated structure upon which we have entered the consultation process.  Discussions on how these roles will be filled are taking place with the unions as part of our collective consultation process.  A timetable for recruitment will then be established.

2.11 Question: What are the anticipated structures for the college teams?
Answer: The draft organisation charts for the four college teams are attached.  The exact numbers and final shape of these for MVLS and Science and Engineering will not be finalised until closer to Phase 2 implementation.




3. Implementation approach

3.1 Question: What is the proposed implementation approach?
Answer: The TRM Project Board have proposed that the new processes, organisation design and IT system be introduced in a two phase programme. This will enable the University to manage the transition for staff, system and processes in a measured way and review requirements and impacts based on initial experience.

3.2 Question: What will Phase 1 cover?
Answer: Phase 1 will consist of a centrally recruited cohort of Project Coordinators (c.10-12) aligned to a selection of colleges/schools and Research institutes.  

Specifically Phase 1 will cover the Colleges of Arts and Social Sciences, the School of Physics and Astronomy (in Science and Engineering) and two Research Institutes in MVLS (Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine plus Infection Immunity and Inflammation)

3.3 Question: How will the new Project Coordinator roles be filled?
Answer: There was an open recruitment process with a mix of internal and external applicants. Adverts appeared during January 2015 with selection beginning in February.  A structured induction and training programme commenced late July 2015.

3.4 Question: Will there be any additional roles introduced in Phase 1?
Answer: In parallel with recruiting the first Project Coordinators, each college will appoint a College Research Support Manager.  These roles will be critical in the implementation of the new ways of working and the introduction of the new teams within the four colleges. Again it is anticipated that there will be a mix of internal and external applicants.

3.5 Question: What are the potential impacts of this approach?
Answer: This represents a significant change in the way the University supports its research management support activities. There are many potential benefits and opportunities for staff arising from it. However, clearly any change can be unsettling and some roles will be particularly impacted as new structures and ways of working are introduced over the next 12 months.  Staff will be supported and kept fully informed during the transition.

3.6 Question: What would Phase 2 then cover?
Answer: Phase 2 will cover all remaining schools and Research Institutes and is likely to commence in the second quarter of 2016. Phase 2 go-live on the new system will likely be in mid-2016.

3.7 When will the final impact of TRM activity be known by staff whose roles are potentially at risk of closing?
Answer: Consultation with individuals and the Unions is ongoing. The final impact to some affected staff may not be known until the end of Phase 2 (the key milestones are outlined in Q4.5).  

3.8 If I am appointed during Phase 1 recruitment when will I start in the new role?
Answer: This will depend on the role but in some cases we may consider delaying actual appointments until Phase 2 to assist in the supporting of transitional arrangements.    The potential for this would be discussed with individuals prior to any final decision being taken.

 

4. Communication

4.1 Question: How have managers been engaged in the plans to date?
Answer: Members of the TRM project team have updated SMG and met with each college management group (CMGs) and University Services management.  There also have been meetings with the Heads of Administration and Head of Research Support who are close to the current support model.  

The proposal for change was presented to Court in December 2014 and wider communication to staff took place in January 2015.
    
Union representatives from UCU and Unison have also been updated and consultation will continue throughout the transition.

4.2 Question: Has there been dialogue with the Trade Unions?
Answer: Yes. There have been initial consultation meetings with Union representatives from UCU and Unison and consultation will continue throughout the transition.

4.3 Question: What will be the approach to communication?
Answer: Managers and the members of the project team are keen to ensure there is wide discussion and transparency around the project and the change/transition process.

Team and some individual briefings took place in early January this year.    

Regular updates will be issued as we progress towards the start of Phase 1.    Members of the Project will also continue to engage with key stakeholders.

These FAQs will also be developed and maintained.

4.4 Question: What support is available to me through this transition period?
Answer: Staff in roles which may close as a result of the changes are having individual meetings with local managers.   Following an initial meeting to share project information, further individual meetings will be planned with staff who are potentially at risk of redundancy. They will have access to the Job Seekers Register and should contact their local Head of HR if they require support in relation to their CV.  Any additional questions can be directed to their manager or alternatively emailed to the TRM project team at transforming-research-management@glasgow.ac.uk.

There will also be wider communication, briefings and training where applicable for a range of staff who will see changes as a result of the new ways of working as the project progresses.

The independent staff counselling service is also available to all staff.  This is provided by Optum who can be contacted on 0800 282 193.  More information on this service can be found at http://www.gla.ac.uk/services/health/staffcounselling/

4.5 Question: When are the Key Milestones?
Answer:

Phase 1    
Jan 2015   Communication update to staff
Late Jan 2015   Advertising of Phase 1 roles
Feb/Mar 2015   Selection activity
Jul/Aug 2015   Induction and training
Feb 2016   Final System UAT (User Acceptance Testing)
March 2016   "Go-live"
     
Phase 2   (Dates TBC)
Sep 2015    Finalise structure requirements
January 2016    Advertise for Phase 2 roles
Jan/Feb 2016    Selection activity
Mar/April 2016    Induction and training
mid-2016    "Go-live"

 
4.6 What consultation process is taking place with the Trade Unions?
Answer: Where there is potential for redundancies we have a duty to consult collectively with our recognised Trade Unions.  This consultation is ongoing and aims to ensure the representatives are clear on the proposals and able to ensure management do all they can to avoid potential compulsory redundancies.
Initial information was shared with them prior to the announcements to staff in January and we expect the dialogue to continue throughout the transition period.

4.7 Was the University Court consulted on the potential impact of TRM?
Answer: Yes.   A paper was presented to the Court Procedural Review Group (CPRG) and they subsequently made a recommendation to Court.   They recommended that the project remain within the management sphere but also that the CPRG should be updated prior to any final decision to implement compulsory redundancies being taken.


We actively encourage feedback and questions and therefore want to hear from you.  You can contact any member of the project team or send us an email using the contact us form.