June 2014

Organisation Design

Discussions with the College and University Services representatives about the organisation design are continuing.  These discussions are focussed on defining new research management support roles and structures across the University and involve detailed consideration of current and potential future activity in order to deliver the University's vision.

Further information will be available once current discussions are concluded.

System Implementation

A number of Principal Investigators (PIs) attended demo sessions on the Agresso online tool, which enables users to create new projects and capture key information about their research activities. Feedback has been obtained from each session and the requested changes are currently being prioritised for inclusion within the tool. Further sessions have been scheduled for July for those who were unable to attend. The opportunity to test the tool has been postponed until August in order to accommodate PIs’ availability. 

Work continues on the data migration activities, which involve mapping the data fields from the current Research System to the new Agresso Research module. A review of the reporting requirements has also been completed to ensure that the data fields required to report across the data sets will be migrated. This will be reviewed throughout the remainder of the project as and when new reporting requirements are identified. A proposal of the number of years’ data to be migrated from the Research System will be presented at the August Project Board Meeting. Key stakeholders will be consulted on this during July.

We have now received a specification from Core (the supplier of the HR/Payroll system) for a new interface, which will automate the creation of pre-approved vacancies from awarded projects. This will remove the requirement for a secondary financial approval of the vacancy within Core, and will therefore reduce the time taken to advertise a vacancy. Core has advised that we will receive the interface by the end of September, which will coincide with our testing period. The specification of a second interface with Core to automate the set-up of recoups (staff costs for employees that are directly allocated to awarded research projects) continues. This will allow the data to be maintained in Core and enable the forecasting of salary recoups, thereby delivering improved financial reporting and decommissioning the existing spreadsheet solution.

We have been working with colleagues from the Student Life Cycle Support and Development team on an interface from MyCampus to Agresso, which will post financial commitments for PGR students’ fees and stipends. This will offer improved project financial planning and monitoring, as the full PGR commitment for the life of a project will now be included in PIs’ monthly reports. The specification for this interface will be finalised during July.

The project team have reviewed the previously collated high-level research report requirements. An owner will be identified for each report to allow us to work with that particular individual on the detailed specification for the report. Where appropriate, this process will be completed in conjunction with the key users of that report. This stage is critical in allowing us to validate the data fields required for the system build, and work on this will continue throughout July and August.

To ensure that Agresso has the capacity to facilitate the additional users and data associated with the research pre-award and award processes, we have received approval to upgrade the Agresso database servers. It is proposed that the live move to the new servers will be completed in early October 2014; the exact date will be confirmed during July.