About IRIOS-2

In the IRIOS project (February-September 2011) we utilised an existing platform for collaborative engagement with the local business community, the Universities for the North East Information System (UNIS). IRIOS produced a proof-of-concept demonstrator, which supported the import and export of RC data in CERIF format, and the linking of research grant information and publications together. Filtering allows subsets of the data to be selected and exported in CERIF for use by third party applications such as Pure. IRIOS uses as a base the UNIS system, which is a bespoke collaboration environment, developed over 15 years to meet the needs of the Higher Education Institution (HEI) partners. The Universities of Durham, Newcastle, Northumbria, Teesside and Sunderland work together in this partnership with the Open University in the North. In IRIOS the UNIS platform was successfully adapted and extended to include basic research grant information taken directly from the Research Council (RC) dataset (Shared Service Centre).

The aims of the IRIOS-2 project are:

1. Extend the IRIOS proof of concept demonstrator to better handle non-standard research outputs and multiple authors and roles

2. Enable HEIs to better collaborate by developing a CERIF B2B platform

3. Enable RCs and HEIs to reconcile grant status and finance information

4. Produce an Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) connected cloud enabled version of IRIOS-2 such that it is RMAS compliant, encouraging better take-up

5. Run a series of practical CERIF technical and business process workshops

So IRIOS-2 will:

1. Extend IRIOS such that the scope of the platform encompasses all relevant output types including non-text based outputs such as sculptures, designs, medical technologies etc.  It will be extended to handle more complex relationships e.g. editor and reviewer, and where multi-author papers are linked to grants, and mutli-partner projects.  The detail of this complex relationship structure will be described, and used to extend IRIOS-2 to fully handle outputs and grants linking.  The structure already exists within CERIF to cope with the exchange of data in these complex relationships, and these structures will form the basis of the extended IRIOS-2 platform.

2. Be a CERIF B2B platform enabling HEIs to identify partners for joint activities and to effectively share research information on projects and publications.  Currently, there is little real sharing of research information – even that which is in the public domain.  Improving the visibility of research activity will encourage research partnership formation, and improve the drawdown of resources from funding streams such as the EU Framework programmes.  This will also provide a transparency of non-confidential research information, providing a unique resource of linked research project and publication information in one place. Inter-HEI collaboration will be validated by the three core HEI partners (Sunderland, Glasgow and St Andrews), and extended to include the partner HEIs in Universities for the North East which can readily be included.  The IRIOS platform is an extension of UNIS, and account permissions can be widened to offer the new functionality to the other HEIs.

3. Support the reconciliation of grant status and finance information between research councils and universities, to reduce as far as possible the time currently spent on correcting disparities in financial records between the RCs and the HEIs by making basic information on payments available in the IRIOS-2 platform.  Depending on the user requirements developed during the initial phase of the project, this could allow RCs to see HEI project finance data, or HEIs to see RC project finance data, or both.  Currently, much time is wasted reconciling differences between records of grant payments held at the HEIs with those at the RCs.  The inability of the RCs to exchange data on payment records with the HEIs results in long hours of wasted resource tracking down and correcting errors.  If grant payment records at HEIs were linked with those at the RCs, this problem could be substantially eliminated.  Hence the use of IRIOS-2 will save a considerable amount of time, making the process much more efficient and better value for money for both RCs and HEIs.

4. Be RMAS compliant.  This means that a cloud enabled instance of the IRIOS-2 platform will made available for the project partners and extended user group.  In order to be fully RMAS ready the project will also develop an ESB connector such that the CERIF data in IRIOS-2 can be shared with other RMAS compliant modules in a bidirectional manner.  This means that the 29 HEIs that have been involved in the RMAS user requirements will be able to take advantage of the IRIOS-2 system as soon as they start their RMAS procurements; hence providing an inherent critical mass of users for IRIOS-2.  This part of IRIOS-2 will be facilitated by the fact that Sunderland is one of the three RMAS pathfinder institutions.

5. Run CERIF technical workshops to share the expertise and experience of the consortium in using CERIF and developing CERIF compliant systems.  Thus IRIOS-2 can be a model for the implementation of CERIF systems as well as being a service for those not wishing to embark on their own development.  There will be a technical workshop near the start of the project to gather user input from the wider user community whilst providing them with CERIF tutorials from euroCRIS experts.  Towards the end of the project the workshops will focus more on the practicalities of having developed the IRIOS-2 platform with CERIF data as well as more general dissemination of the benefits from the project.

In summary what is needed, for the RCs to be able to collaboratively maintain grant records at the HEIs, and for HEIs to collaborate at a finer-grained level in research funding applications, is a business-to-business platform supporting the maintenance and exchange of grant and output information.  The IRIOS proof-of-concept demonstrator fundamentally provides most of this functionality.  Some adaptation to better support a wider range of output types and author roles, and status tracking of grant information and finances, would complete its provision as a platform for the identified functionalities.  Currently the IRIOS platform imports a basic set of approximately 70 fields from the 1,000+ available to RCs in their Shared Services Centre (SSC).  IRIOS-2 will lever the experience and expertise of the IRIOS project partners to increase the coverage of SSC data in IRIOS-2.

IRIOS-2 will also work closely with the CERIF In Action (CIA) project (led by St Andrews) to ensure consistency of approach and to remove duplication of effort across the sector.

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  1. November 14, 2011 at 9:46 am
  2. November 18, 2011 at 8:17 pm

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