Jisc launches research funding initiative

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Teams across universities and others that support research in the UK are being offered the opportunity to submit their ideas to a collaborative funding initiative being launched by Jisc, the charity that offers digital services and solutions for UK education and research.

Called 'Research Data Spring', the project aims to engage all individuals and groups with an interest in research data and get them to work together to create new solutions to common research problems. This includes finding and developing new technical tools, software or services to streamline researchers’ workflows, and to improve the use and management of data.
The initiative is being run via Ideascale, an online platform that allows people to submit their ideas, vote and comment on others, and join up with teams on a shared idea.
Rachel Bruce, deputy chief innovation officer at Jisc, said: 'While the new Research Councils UK policies and the Horizon 2020 data pilot are laying the foundations for research data management to be part and parcel of what researchers do, there is still a need to make access and re-use of data as painless and as rewarding as possible.

'By inviting those working in the sector to contribute their ideas we hope to foster innovative partnerships. Our aim is that these will lead to the development of new solutions and protocols that will make it much easier for everyone to find, share and retrieve research data across different subject areas and disciplines.'
To be considered, solutions need to fit into one of five priority areas:
1.         Research data deposit and sharing tools; including the development of protocols that help support the streamlining of access, use and re-use of research data;
2.        Data creation and re-use by discipline; including ideas for experiments and proto-types that address the researchers experience and the research data workflow to improve the creation, management, curation and re-use of data. This should support open research practice and methods where appropriate and be transferrable across disciplines;
3.         Research data systems integration and interoperability; including developing solutions to improve interfaces and ease connections, and create seamless working between and across systems;
4.        Research data analytics; including the development and testing of ways to use big data analytical methods for the benefits of research, or to better analyse research data activity and test associated metrics; or
5.        Shared services for research; this aspect should be considered in all of the priority areas, and includes international, national and local shared services, that could be delivered by Jisc or other partners.
The deadline is 12 January 2015. Jisc will then invite up to 30 project ideas to a two-day workshop in February, where they will develop a plan and pitch to a panel of experts. The judges will award the best teams between £5,000 and £20,000 to develop their ideas. There will be two further rounds of funding, with individual projects able to receive up to £120,000 through the lifecycle of the initiative.