The aim of this research strategy is to set out the priorities for OUCS in terms of research and development, but also to stimulate debate. The need for a research strategy has been recognised within OUCS, both to concentrate bidding in specific research areas and to streamline research work within an agreed priority list across the whole of OUCS. A strategy is proposed building on OUCS’s five year plan, the University’s ICT Strategic Plan 2005-06 to 2009-10 and the policies of appropriate funding organisations. The proposed strategy is based on six key considerations:
- It should recognise factors and priorities emphasised in the OUCS mission statement.
- It should support the OUCS overall strategic five-year plan.
- It should not duplicate or compete with research strengths in other parts of the University.
- It should take account of what research funding is or will be available.
- It should help co-ordinate and develop service provision for research projects.
- It should seek to make the best use of a vibrant and motivated body of staff.
This paper will examine how these contextual factors inform the development of the research strategy. Research at OUCS is mainly in computing related areas, although advice and practical help on using Information Technology in research is covered across the University. The research undertaken by OUCS is largely centred on computer science but reflects the strengths and priorities of OUCS and of the University as a whole in this field.
Research in the context of OUCS is concerned with investigative work linked to the provision and development of new and existing services, user requirements, and evaluation. Research also investigates new technologies, new hardware and software developments, as well as piloting/ evaluating new ways of offering service elements that could benefit the University and enhance the OUCS provision. Research is needed not only to provide information on requirements, take-up of new services, and their evaluation, but also to keep OUCS staff up-to-date with new technologies and developments, to remain competitive, and to provide a cost effective and efficient service. The strategy analyses these key considerations, outlines key themes and activities and gives recommendations on future research. Research priorities should be set for a period of 3 years with annual reviews in line with the five-year plan (Recommendation 1).