HEFCE-Funded Award Management Project Underway

The University of Exeter have recently announced that the HEFCE/JISC-funded RMAS (Research Management and Administration System) project is now underway.

This is important because although some institutions already use off-the-shelf  systems like this, often they are not fully inter-operable with other university systems. Significant savings could be made in administrative and academic staff time as well as money if the project team are able to deliver what they’ve promised in the specification. I will be keeping a close eye on the development of this system as it progresses:

Following a HEFCE funded project to scope and produce a business case for the development of a pre-award through to post-award research management and administration system for HEIs the University of Exeter was awarded funding to act as the lead institution for the Research Management and Administration System (RMAS) project.

The overall aim is to develop a modular Research Management and Administration System (RMAS) that comprises elements that are independent but interoperable.  The shared service modules will all be CERIF compliant and communicate using an Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) that means that institutions can choose individual modules to achieve their required functionality whilst still retaining the benefits of an integrated system – in effect it will be “plug-and-play”.

The three institutions taking part in RMAS as pathfinders are the universities of Kent, Sunderland and Exeter.

The project aims to deliver efficiency savings by allowing institutions to use existing systems with shared service modules hosted off site. Demonstrator systems at the three pathfinder institutions will be up and running by the end of March 2012.  The demonstrators will facilitate the formation of a RMAS procurement framework from which other institutions will then be able to use to source various modules to meet their own needs.

It has been estimated that savings/efficiencies of between 10% and 20% of associated staff time could be achieved by streamlining processes and by removing inefficiencies, duplicate data keying and multiple data sets. In addition, an effective system would free up research active staff by providing an efficient tool to develop, monitor and progress awards.

A statement of User Requirements is currently being finalised by the Pathfinders. This will be used to inform the specifications and tender documents.

For further news and updates on the RMAS project visit www.exeter.ac.uk/research/rmas.