Research Councils UK have announced that they will be upgrading their on-line submission system for RCUK submissions in 2017. This will mean the end for Je-S and the beginning of a new, more user friendly, grants submission service. This work is based on extensive user research to ensure that when the changes come into effect it will better meet the needs of all of all users.
So what sort of improvements can you expect?
As an applicant, peer reviewer or research office administrator, you will no longer use the Je-S system to apply for grants, submit reviews or manage your research organisations grants activities. There will be an entirely new external portal. In future the whole grant application form will be digitised, which means in the majority of cases no more uploading of attachments. And there are other improvements such as in-built formatting for font size and word count, improved dashboards to help you manage your grant activities as well as guidance relevant to a particular funding opportunity close at hand, all on the one screen, while you are applying. This is just some of the functionality being developed and iterated through user testing and feedback.
When will the new system go live?
The ambition is to start to run a small number of funding opportunities through the new system by March 2017 to test that everything is working as it should be. After March 2017, there will be parallel running of the new awards service and Je-S, which will be gradually phased out throughout 2017. RCUK expect the full transition from Je-S to the new awards service to be completed by May 2018.
Who have we spoken to?
RCUK have conducted user research with a wide range of applicants, peer reviewers, panel members, and RO staff from both big and small institutions. This has helped us to find out what parts of the current process create the most challenges for users. There is still a lot to work out, and research with users is certainly not complete. For example, they still need to better understand how the new service should interface with ROs’ systems to allow the exchange of data, and they will be doing a lot more user testing to make sure they have a system that works.
How you can keep up to date with what’s happening?
This is an important programme of work and RCUK are keen to keep you informed of progress. You can receive regular updates about this project by subscribing to their mailing list: Mailing list