6. Meeting Strategic Objectives I: Research

One of the stated objectives in the mission statement of OUCS, and echoed in the Corporate Plan (§VI(d)), is to:

‘foster and support excellence, innovation, best practice, and value for money in the use of IT in teaching, learning, and research across the University ’

OUCS has a dedicated support unit – the Research Technologies Service (RTS) 5 (http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/rts/) which, through funding from external bodies, develops cutting edge applications to support research, and provides advisory services for the University and beyond. The activities of the RTS complement the infrastructure and other support services provided by OUCS. To assist with this and the development of OUCS’s own research strategy, we appointed in 2007 a full-time Research Facilitator to take forward these activities.

As described in the Corporate Plan the RTS is a centre of expertise supporting the development of research e-infrastructure ( §102). The RTS is working with other University departments to establish the ICT requirements of their research communities (Ib, and Ig). In connection with this, the RTS particularly collaborates with the Oxford e-Research Centre (OeRC6) and other relevant University units to investigate the development of tools to support the administration and auditing of research activity – especially relevant with the proposed forthcoming changes to the RAE (Id). This activity includes an emphasis on assisting with project management and the sharing of research information and outputs, especially across disciplinary boundaries. One example of current activity is its contribution to the Oxford Research Archive initiative.

Specifically therefore, over the next five years OUCS plans to:

  • Present a unified list of services OUCS can offer to assist research projects. Target date: Trinity Term 2008;
  • Establish key services (notably parts of NSMS and the HFS) as Small Research Facilities. Trinity Term 2008;
  • Continue to support the teaching of modelling on MBA, Biology, Economics and Social Science degrees and Postdoc programmes.
  • Through OSS Watch inform and advise the UK HE and FE community about open source software and open standards through briefing materials, events, advisory service and partnerships. Target date: Ongoing. (Funded via the JISC OSS Watch advisory service 7 );
  • Collaborate with the OeRC on projects and activities which support research across subject areas through the use of advanced ICT. OUCS is represented on the OeRC Directorate and has established an OUCS-OeRC liaison post to identify and develop collaborative projects (notably in the humanities);
  • Proactively support the establishment of institutional repository services through the ORA initiative. Also working on similar technologies via our BID project ( http://www.jisc.ac.uk/whatwedo/programmes/programme_rep_pres/repositories_sue/bid.aspx ).Target date: Ongoing;
  • Continue to co-ordinate, on behalf of OUCS, a range of awareness-raising and training activities relating to services and technologies to support e-research. Target date: Ongoing. Funded through existing initiatives;
  • Develop a Research Strategy for OUCS and proactively seek sponsorship for projects through the Development Office and local Knowledge Transfer Project. Target date: December 2008.

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Specifically mentioned in §102.