Historically, the College has had a broad user base in its pre-award management system which has resulted in:
- Low data quality of the application records, including the accuracy and completeness of the costing. The impact of this is often either a reduced recovery for the College if crucial elements are omitted or a rejection of the application by the funder if items or the budget requested are not permitted for the specific call. This negatively impacts on Imperial’s success rates and can affect reputation.
- A lack of accountability and coordination of individual grant applications, in some cases resulting in important regulatory or other critical terms being missed in the preparation.
Aside from this, in recent years in the HE sector, there has been a substantial increase in the amount of research-related administration required of academic staff as PIs and with their research grants. Examples include open access deposits, enhanced research data management requirements, Researchfish returns and increased due diligence of partners to name but a few. To help minimise this growing burden, an objective of the current overall College strategy is to support academic staff as much as possible in their endeavours to apply for and win research funding.
In support, the number of staff members that create grant applications in Worktribe is restricted to a smaller number of administrative pre-award experts (“super users”). They are responsible for creating, completing and checking all grant applications in Worktribe. This minimises the amount of administration required from academic staff, allowing them to focus more on teaching and research. Academic staff do not create grant application records. Academic staff can view all grant application records on which they are named. It was noted that a small number of academic staff wish to engage with creating their own records and would be negatively impacted by their access being revoked entirely. Therefore, academic staff can create a “Standalone Budget”. This uses the same costing methodology as full grant applications so will allow academic staff to perform a “quick costing” if they wish. It is not a mandatory step. Their pre-award super-user can then create a full costing covering the same base items, with any required amendments.
Academic staff have the ability to create standalone budgets by default, which allows them to cost non-staff items and unnamed staff (e.g. a “to-be-appointed” researcher on a specified spine point). To cost specific named staff, an additional responsibility in the system is required. Academics wishing to do so should contact Worktribe Admin to request this.
Super users were specified by each Faculty as part of the implementation plan. Super users were contacted by their Department Manager in advance.