The last formal session of the day, and I’m attending one on Sustainability and JISC. The problems of sustaining work or a service after the end of the project funding is always a problem. As project director of EThOSNet it is of particular interest, as the whole project is (to some extent) about building a sustainable service around e-theses, building on the work of the original EThOS project.
I guess perhaps the first question is what are we trying to sustain?
Richard McKenna introducing the session and highlighting JISC’s strategic aim 1:
“innovative and systainable ICT infrastructure services and pratice that support institutions in meeting their mission”
Richard saying sustainability is about ensuring the investment made in JISC activity results in longterm beneficial impact for HE community.
JISC sees 5 outcomes from its activity:
- enhanced capacity, knowledge and skills
- guidance to the sector on ‘best practice’
- strategic leadership to the sector
- knowledge and experience
- new of enhanced services, infrastructure, standards or applications
What is JISC doing? It is piloting sustainability process, doing a business skills study and carrying our a JISC Service portfolio review.
Now Simone (Spencer?) from JISC outlining the pilot Sustainability Process they are working on:
Looking to help projects know what they are looking for in terms of sustainability, and also JISC committees etc understand what is being looked for across all JISC areas. This in the form of:
- Guidance documentation and templates – handbook; examples and case studies; sustainability routes and business models
Projects then developed business cases looking at
- strategic maturity
- operational maturity
- options (sustainability routes and business models – costs, risk, benefit etc.)
Projects need to look at many options – subscription service, 3rd party involvement etc. not necessarily simply look for JISC to fund ongoing service or work.
Richard making the point that this process is really only for certain projects, where their outcomes fall into the last bullet point above (enhanced services, infrastructure etc.)
Feedback on the process from 6 projects who have tried it general found it positive and helpful, but also areas for improvement identified. They expect to revise and roll-out by q4 2008.
Richard going through a number of different sustainability models adopted by JISC projects.
OK – drifted off there as Richard went through different projects, their types of outcome and how they had tackled sustainability – now asking for audience participation with following prompts:
- Should JISC be sustaining a project or its outputs and outcomes?
- How are you planning to sustain the impact of your project(s) for the institution or consortium?
- How are you or JISC planning to sustain the impact of your project(s) for the wider community?
- What could JISC do to better support projects in planning and effecting sustainability
OK – just broke into groups for discussion – very interesting (although room not useful for this!), but hard to get through much in such a short time!
Some points from my discussion group (I’ll post to the blog…):
- Need to build communities around projects – so not just project team in a ‘bubble’
- Do we need to build sustainability element into project bids?
- How do we get funding for sustainability – esp. for digitisation – when we are giving away outputs for free? Here a point about the fact you can make ‘data’ available for free, but still charge for service on top of ‘data’
- Need for more effective engagement with commercial partners?
- Is ‘sustainability’ a way to bridge the divide between ‘research’ and ‘services’?
- Sustainability increasingly important as economic situation gets more difficult
- Build JISC/community expertise of building business models – and fund feasibility studies alongside projects?