A change is on the horizon for members of Memorial’s research community.
On Dec. 12, those submitting research funding proposals to Research Grant and Contract Services (RGCS) and the Marine Institute’s Office of Research and Development will notice a difference.
Dec. 12 is launch day for the phase two implementation of the Memorial Researcher Portal.
Although the portal is not new — researchers have been using it for their ethics submissions for a nearly two years — researchers will now also be able to submit their research funding applications and supporting documents online, consolidating everything in a single electronic file.
Once submitted, the application will pass through the principal investigator’s departmental and faculty approvers. The researcher will be able to view the status of the file anytime.
The portal software product, used for funding and ethics submissions, has been successfully implemented in 25-30 institutions across Canada.
Electronic approvals, improved visibility, less paper
“The electronic approval functionality is convenient for both researchers and approvers and creates greater transparency for everyone involved,” said Terry Malone, systems officer with RGCS, the group tasked with the project. “This alone should make the submission and approval process easier, especially when approvers may not always be accessible.”
Dr. Reza Tabrizchi, associate dean, research and graduate studies, Faculty of Medicine, agrees.
“The advantage of the portal is that it allows any researcher and their collaborators to access, edit and submit ethics and funding files from anywhere. The fact that the portal consolidates all documentation and related communications in one electronic file is convenient for all users,” he said.
“All members of the research team, as long as they are logged in, will be able to get an update on the status of their application and an overview of where they are in the lifecycle of the project.”
Up to 2,000 funding applications pass through the RGCS and Marine Institute’s Office of Research and Development each year, creating a significant amount of paperwork. The portal will help reduce paper as well as allow the offices to operate more efficiently while better serving researchers.
The portal will also send emails to remind researchers about important project milestones, such as ethics approvals and renewals, which they can also submit online along with post-application activities, such as amendments.
“To facilitate a smooth transition, researchers who are not currently using the Memorial Researcher Portal are encouraged to sign up for their portal accounts before the Dec. 12 launch,” said Mr. Malone, adding that roughly 1,600 researchers currently use the portal for their ethics certifications. “That applies not only to principal investigators, but to their research teams, as well.”
Those researchers who are in the midst of a funding project and have mostly submitted in paper form or those who require more time to transition, will have two months — until Feb. 14, 2018 — to begin using the Memorial Researcher Portal.
Information on upcoming researcher training sessions, to be offered later this fall, will be available online on the Memorial Researcher Portal support site in early November.