Today I added a new page to the Research Office blog which displays a Google Calendar showing a range of funding opportunity deadlines:
At the moment, it shows all funding opportunities for UK Research Councils, the European Commission (including FP7 calls), and charities and trusts. The data is drawn from a number of searches I carried out on ResearchProfessional. Their website includes a tool to export deadlines to an iCal file which I then imported into a Google Calendar I created specifically for this purpose. I ensured that the Google Calendar was set to be publicly accessible and tweaked the HTML display so that it didn’t break the CWD template which I use for this blog.
Here’s the result:
The idea behind this is partially just to demonstrate that it can be done (you can put this in Outlook too and do it for your own tailored searches), and partly to provide academic staff and researchers with a tool to track deadlines and plan their research bids.
It isn’t perfect, of course: the main problem is that although ResearchProfessional gives the option to export a calendar file as a dynamic iCal file (i.e. one that automatically updates items as funding deadlines expire or are released), I’ve only been able to import the static file into Google Calendar. This means I’ll have to remember to update the searches every month or so to make sure the information in the calendar stays up to date.
There’s also the fact that there are an awful lot of deadlines to trawl through. Perhaps in future I’ll do searches on ResearchProfessional which highlight specific important deadlines, but for this pilot I decided to just take the “kitchen sink” approach.
Another minor issue is that the data output from ResearchProfessional converts all deadlines into all-day events, whereas some actually have specific times of day attached to them. This isn’t a massive problem but it means anybody interested in a specific deadline needs to click through for further information.
I’d be interested to know what you think. Is it useful? Will you use it? Can any more technically-oriented people tell me how to do this more effectively?