Research Management Business Transformation Project update - 2017

9 Jan 2017

2016 marked the beginning of a business transformation project designed to deliver a first-rate digital support system for researchers at UQ. The first phase of the project has been undertaken by eight teams encompassing nearly 100 volunteers who have systematically identified and implemented new processes in a number of research support areas. These groups have also articulated a number of the design principles that will need to be embedded in future systems and workflows. Pilot rollout of systems and processes have been championed by the business owners of each area with the support of members of oDVCR.

An overview of the work of each of the groups is available at

Some highlights include:

  • beta testing and roll-out of the new NHMRC streamlined human ethics approval process (HREA) 
  • implementation of a new Faculty-based process for low and negligible risk human research ethics review that is currently being piloted across BEL and will be rolled out University-wide this year
  • guidelines for researchers working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research participants
  • a new online Animal Ethics application form is undergoing design before user testing is undertaken, and the project team is identifying options to enhance competency training for animal researchers
  • work is well underway on a new candidature management system to better support our HDR students manage key aspects of their candidature online, with the initial release scheduled for January 2017
  • projects are underway to evolve current research data management practices to assist researchers manage data throughout its life cycle in accordance with policy and best practice. An electronic data management plan is currently undergoing user testing and will be supported by seamless allocation of storage for research projects as well as the efficient archiving and management of project data at the conclusion of the research project

Examples of some of the design principles identified to date are:

  • Easy to use and efficient for researchers
  • Supports research data strategy
  • Collect data once but use it lots of times
  • Separates academic and administrative tasks
  • Default should be electronic or automated activities
  • End to end support of the research lifecycle
  • Maximise reporting capabilities
  • Integrate with other systems, both internally and externally
  • Maximise the visibility of researchers profile

In 2017, we will move to the next phase of this large project. This will involve detailed planning and documentation of the design requirements for an integrated research management system. Our goal is to complete this task by 1 July 2017. Contemporaneously we will continue training and process improvements so that UQ can extract maximum value from a new research management system.

This year you will be presented with multiple opportunities to pilot new systems and processes. Transforming the research support systems at UQ will be greatly facilitated if local champions take a leadership role in their organisational units. I now ask your support in volunteering for these leadership opportunities and for championing the uptake of new systems and processes. Given the scale of change, it will be very difficult to implement UQ wide changes in the absence of a receptive and pro-active audience. I acknowledge that the changes we are embarking upon may initially reduce efficiency and require some adaption to a new way of working. Ultimately however all universities need systems that support research activities from idea conception through to promotion of the outcome, and this will only be achieved at UQ if researchers and research administrators work together. Finally I want to thank the 100 researchers and administrators who have already been involved in the first phase of this project.


Professor Robyn Ward
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research)
The University of Queensland
Brisbane QLD 4122
T: +61 7 336 59044