Challenges and opportunities in timely and efficient delivery of IT for eResearch projects
presentationposted on 10.03.2020 by David Eyers, Lahiru Ariyasinghe
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There are many instances of “big” eResearch projects that have been very well supported by initiatives both within the University of Otago, and across New Zealand overall. Often at the other end of the spectrum of project scale, initiatives such as The Carpentries have supported widespread capability lift in terms of researchers adopting computing technology. However there are many eResearch projects that face tricky computational and data processing problems, while likely leading to great opportunities, but in which it is difficult to assess and prioritise the potential impact that that project might have, relative to others.
From the perspective of the eResearch Advisory Group at the University of Otago, and from collaborations across the University, we have seen many eResearch projects face types of barriers to their completion that would have been difficult to predict ahead of time. Some of the types of challenges encountered have included:
• access to funding—e.g., where a potential cost emerges within a project, that did not fit into the scope of research grants;
• types of funding—capital expenditure versus operating expenditure in terms of research computing, e.g., DIY clusters versus use of the cloud;
• sustainability—e.g., considering how to support projects after their headline grant funding has finished;
• tracking issues that need resolution across multiple different teams—e.g., across departmental and central IT, researchers, NRENs, etc.;
• prioritisation and opportunity costs—e.g. the mechanisms that can support escalation of issues in an efficient manner; • management of the expectations of researchers and professional staff involved in research projects;