5 Sep 2016

"Research administration and leadership are like playing chess blindfolded; trying to make the right moves at the right time all without being able to see the board or the moves of the other player." (quote by The Research Universities Futures Consortium)

Research has grown over the years together with advancement in technology. In Australia alone, the 2014 growth rate was reported at 3.71 % increase from 2010. This record placed Australia 10th in the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development).

Although this is a good sign of a thriving industry, various problems come with it. In this article, we will discuss top hurdles that research administrators and managers are facing and how they can manage it.

 

Hyper-competitive research environment

Even though the number of research instituti­ons grows, the sources of grants and funding do not seem to keep up with pace. Decision makers are then forced to deal with the scarcity of resources, causing a hyper-competitive zero-sum research environment amongst institutions in acquiring grant funding to secure their monetary supply for operation. Competition is not just prevalent between institutions, but also within internal departments.

Another reason for the hyper-competitive environment in research management is attributed to globalisation. As such, research institutions have turned their attention towards a global stage, with focus centred on an international level, investing resources and brands overseas. Global recognition is now considered a significant benchmark of a research institution's success, making competition more intense.

 

Compliance with changes in regulations

Regulatory requirements are continually reviewed, often forcing research administrators to react by planning and implementing changes. Over time, established processes and procedures evolve in complexity, while shifts in an area of operations may affect other sections. Furthermore, the decline in funding results in a surge of proposal submission. Researchers submit numerous proposals for higher chances of grant approval. More submission means more work for the managers and administrators.

The concept of research management has evidently transformed, career-wise. In addition to ensuring compliance and maintaining integrity, research managers are expected to deliver on limited or reduced funding and resources. With increased governance, inconsistent reporting directives and pressure to deliver, the workload deflects and distracts from the primary function--research.

 

Collaboration and change management with the support of technology

Collaboration and change management have been identified as a strategy for research management. Effective collaboration helps institutions to make the best use of research funding. By sharing resources together, the collaborators can write a stronger proposal and allocate budget practically. Therefore, getting a higher chance of grant approval. Effective change management, on the other hand, ensures that institutions stay current with regulatory requirements and flexibly adapt to future changes. With the fact that funding regulations are getting stricter and more mandated, it is crucial to stay ahead of changes. 

 

What can be done?

Technology can help streamline these efforts. With technology, institutions can have a platform for collaboration with the rest in mind that regulations are adhered to. The right system can assist research administrators and managers to deal with all administrative issues, and free researchers from all complexities of rules and regulations to do breakthrough research for society needs.     

 

Manage research processes in a single software solution

The key is finding the right technology that can help in implementing the strategies identified above. OmniResearch is a smart solution for managers and administrators in managing all aspects of research.

OmniResearch promotes collaboration with SaaS architecture (Software as a Service). Anyone who has a computer (or tablet) and an internet connection can access the system. It also allows more than one person to "take turns" updating a single application form which one researcher "owns" and all other collaborators may access and contribute on. Offline capabilities are also available!

OmniResearch is highly adaptive to changes. The system uses SmartForm to create an intelligent and personalised application process. It asks only the necessary fields relevant to a specific applicant. Regulatory requirements or any other changes can be added easily to the SmartForm. Furthermore, the 500 features in OmniResearch can be turned on and off depending on organisations' need. Institutions can also use OmniResearch workflow engine to define and customise business process.

OminiResearch is a complete solution for all aspects of research management including application, ethics compliance and grants. It is the first research management system to integrate fully with NHMRC's Human Research Ethics Application (HREA). It auto-populates data and documents across other forms to minimise duplication of data entry, a real time-saver.

The software provides complete transparency and accountability with the entire research project life-cycle, from application through to evaluation. It also generates a tamper-proof audit log, which makes compliance and auditing straightforward.

OmniResearch has helped a lot of companies reach their goals by managing thousands of applications and users each year. We've made it possible for these organisations to achieve over $11 billion dollars’ worth of funding for massive projects. Imagine what it can do for you.

But don't just take our word for it, experience OmniResearch yourself. Talk to us today to discuss how we can help you.

 

Gus Boman

+61 2 6245 7999

Gus@f1solutions.com.au