Successful acquisition, execution and accountability of research at Universities
Universities are strongly focused on research. ProjectSoft PM is developed from the point of view of the researcher and the research organization, with the researcher at the center. In this creative process the researcher is maximally supported in the preparation and realization of the research initiatives. But this also requires a well-developed management structure. ProjectSoft PM provides the possibilities to further optimize the research organization.
ProjectSoft PM also supports the ‘open science’ principle, because the researcher is able to consult all kinds of external sources (publications and research data, including PURE, Scopus, Google Scholar, etc.) through ProjectSoft PM and use them in their own research (principle of One-stop-shopping).
Diversity in Research
As indicated in the policy vision, the needs of alpha sciences are different from those of the beta sciences, both in terms of the presentation of the trajectories and the results. It is possible for faculties that differ from one another in terms of research and results to give a ‘personal’ structure that is fully geared towards the needs of the research for that faculty, without violating the ‘general insight’ across the faculties. Each domain therefore has the right tools to initiate, facilitate and correctly assess the results.
Growth opportunities and talents
Not all researchers have the same levels of knowledge and experience when it comes to preparing research proposals. For less experienced researchers, ProjectSoft PM has developed a functionality in the pre-award phase, taking the researcher ‘step by step’ through the process of preparing a research proposal, using templates, feedback sessions with the research leader and ‘meetings’ (a kind of chat version) for rapid exchange of knowledge and experience.
More experienced researchers can skip the step-by-step approach and view and select the various components of a project proposal (project structure with turnaround times, deadlines and deliverables and the associated financing). ProjectSoft PM also determines the ‘own contribution’ or ‘own funds’ at the time of the financing application, because a project must be financed for 100%. Within ProjectSoft PM you can switch directly to the specific subsidy provider and you can also (immediately after a review) make and follow the financing request.
ProjectSoft PM functionality offers the researcher and the research organization insight into:
- The chance of success in certain subsidies with specific subsidy providers from the second flow of funds and the third flow of funds in a certain period (month, quarter, year)
- How successful specific researchers are in obtaining funding
- Which amounts per subsidy provider per researcher per period have been awarded or rejected
In applied and innovative research, products or results are expected to be realized that are patentable, or for which a patent can be requested. These patents represent monetary value.
In ProjectSoft PM it is possible to register patents for the research project, which are the result of research. This makes it possible to see to which researchers and/or research projects and/or domains add the most value and therefore contribute the most.
This insight can be used to promote how the research and valorization policy can enhance the participation of researchers at the university in European and other networks.
In ProjectSoft PM, the university can define research portfolios based on the scientific areas. Each portfolio can contain one or more programs and each program can contain one or more research projects.
Within portfolios the following can be recorded:
- The importance of a specific portfolio compared to the whole
- The classification
Using the portfolio structure, it is possible to define how many research projects are or have been active per scientific area.
Support with acquisition of external resources
Generally it can be said that high-level research requires the necessary financial resources and can not be done without intensive project recruitment. ProjectSoft PM supports intensive project recruitment with an Acquisition Module, which supports all steps of the recruitment process, from Application, RFI/RFP, Project proposal, through Review to all steps and follow-up measures, from submission to Contract proposal to Signed Contract/Assignment.
It is possible to make all kinds of cross-sections per account manager/project type.
In the project proposal a project structure can be set up, with turnaround times, deadlines, pre-calculation/budget (both Top Down and Bottom Up), budget over the years (spending plan) and the most appropriate financing (subsidy program) to look for, as well as how much own funding are required.
ProjectSoft PM provides support for the less experienced researchers in the pre-award phase for drafting the project proposal, finding suitable funding and submitting it to the subsidy provider.
With ProjectSoft PM, the university has a tool in its hands through which it can manage the fund orientation, project preparation, submission and follow-up.
ProjectSoft PM leads to:
- Quick and complete set-up, through iterative construction, of research projects
- Accelerated choice of possibilities of relevant funding, via the subsidy module, for researchers
- Insight into the status and progress of the research project at any time
- Inspection of the required training & protocols by the researcher
- More than 30% savings on costs in the pre-award phase
- Improved support the subsidy application process and accountability
- Improved insight into the deployment of researchers through the Resource module
- Dashboards for insight from different perspectives
- • Support valorization and portfolio management
- Compliance with the Full Cost Model EU and the National Subsidy Conditions
Advantages ProjectSoft PM for the user groups within a University
- 2Project leaders and research leaders
- 4External and internal auditor
- 5Subsidy advisor
Researchers can use project templates, examples of existing projects and projects in MS-Project in the design of their research project. This saves a lot of work, because you can fully adapt your own project to the specific requirements and wishes of the research, without having to start from scratch. A version of all changes is made so that you can always go back to an earlier version.
The development of research proposals by the researchers can be viewed and adjusted at an early stage, by the project leader and/or research manager, which also quickly clarifies the financial requirements (subsidy and investment), thereby increasing chances of success when it comes to the research proposal.
During the implementation phase of a research proposal, all aspects of the project can be viewed at any time, in particular the progress can be checked and adjusted if necessary (e.g. comparison of planned versus realized figures, whether milestones/research results are achieved in time, talk of delays etc.).
In the implementation phase, changes can only be implemented by an authorized employee via change management. This means that the controller can follow the entire course of the planned and realized costs, because it will be immediately clear who was responsible for the approval of the changes during the execution of the research project and what the impact on the results and costs was.
For the projects that require an auditor’s report, the external or internal auditor can follow the entire process from start to finish, because all actions or activities of each employee are logged at every stage of the project (initial and execution). In time, a Certificate of Methodology can be requested and once that has been awarded, it will no longer be necessary to submit an audit certificate for EU and government-related projects. As a result, a considerable reduction in the costs of a research project can be realized.
Through the subsidy module in ProjectSoft PM, the subsidy advisor (but also the project leader for its own projects) can view the status of all applications (submitted, modified, resubmitted, awarded and rejected) at any time. It also clarifies which subsidy programs carry the best chances of success and which research institutions are most successful in acquiring external funding.
The Board of an institution can view both the substantive and the financial progress of all research and other projects at any given time. This is particularly important for the assessment of ‘personal contribution’ applications for new research projects, but also for examining whether there are problems with the projects in terms of progress. One is no longer dependent on third parties for this information, at any time view all aspects of (research) projects and possibly the underlying data can be accessed.