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.
View Projects: Allows the user to view research grant application records. All users can view those projects on which they are named. To view projects on which they are not named, the user must also have either Access Department Projects, Access All Projects or have been provided access to a specific project by a user with Create and Edit Projects.
Create Standalone: Allows the user to create a minimised, separate record to generate a cost and price. This cannot be used as a full research grant application record and can only be accessed by the creator by default. The creator can choose to provide access to individual records to specific users.
Access Department Projects: Access research grant application records within the department in question. Those records will be read-only unless the user also has Create and Edit Projects access.
Budget Exports: Allows user access to export budget reports. Department managers who wish to have this access can contact Worktribe Admin.
Cost Existing Staff: Enables access to staff records within Worktribe to allow them to be costed to the record. Without this access, users can cost unnamed staff, selecting specific grades and spine points. If the user only has access to create and edit standalone budgets, this applies to those records only and the user still will not be able to create or edit full records. This access is provided by default for RS / JRO and department super users and is provided on request for academic users, department approvers and standard department users. Those requesting access should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Create and Edit Projects: Allows creation of a full research grant application record.
Advanced Budgeter: Enables access to additional costing options that allow the user to override certain default values. This provides greater flexibility for expert users though increases the risk of issues being introduced.
Access All Projects: Allows the user to access all research grant application records in the College.
Edit During Submission: Provides the ability to edit proposal records even after they have been submitted for approval.
Process for Granting User Access
College stakeholders agreed that the number of staff members who can create proposal records in Worktribe be restricted to a small number of administrative pre-award experts (“Worktribe super users”) who are responsible for creating, completing and checking all proposals in Worktribe.
Access for new users is managed by the Research Office on the following basis:
1) Access requested by an authorised Department representative or Research Services
Access for a new staff member must be requested by the relevant senior manager in their department, e.g. Department Manager, Department Operations Manager (DA/DOM), Research Services Manager (RSM). The DA/DOM or RSM should email email@example.com and provide the name and job title of the staff member; confirm which cost centre(s) should be accessed; and confirm that the staff member is replacing a previous user. Please note that superuser access is not automatically transferable between departments.
2) Access request reviewed by the Research Office
The Research Office will review the request and either agree user access or contact the DA/DOM for further justification for access or any extenuating circumstances.
3) Pre-Award Knowledge Test
Access to Worktribe is managed by users passing a Pre-Award Knowledge Test to ensure that they are knowledgeable on all aspects of pre-award research management. The Test will also help to identify a staff member’s training needs.
4) Training via e-learning videos and guidance documents
Once the staff member has passed the Pre-Award Knowledge Test, the Research Office will grant system access and provide information about e-learning videos and guidance documents.