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Supply and demand

Memorial Researcher Portal gets upgrade as more users access service

Research | Frameworks in Action

By Jeff Green

The Memorial Researcher Portal is getting a face lift which will enhance its usability for its growing number of users.

The portal will be unavailable to users from 12 a.m.-6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 25.

A video and manual outlining the recent upgrades is available online on the Memorial Researcher Portal Tools and Resources website.

Dr. Ginny Fugarino, business application trainer with Research Grant and Contract Services, works with The Memorial Researcher Portal.
Dr. Ginny Fugarino works with the Memorial Researcher Portal.
Photo: Chris Hammond

The software, which launched last December, is currently aimed at researchers requiring ethics certifications. Phase two of the software launch is planned for early 2017 and will allow researchers to apply for various types of research funding.

Big growth

Since its launch, the number of people using the portal has increased dramatically; active portal accounts have soared from about 450 in March to more than 1,000.

“The research community throughout the province has embraced the portal in a big way,” said David Miller, director of Research Grant and Contract Services, the unit within the Office of the Vice-President (Research) leading the development and implementation of the portal.

“We’re proud to offer this service to researchers on each of Memorial’s campuses, and to those from the wider provincial community. As part of our commitment, process improvements such as this update are required. When users log into the portal, they will notice the look and feel will be slightly different but, for the most part, the functionality remains the same.”

Further enhancements to come

Currently, researchers can submit applications online through the portal to the three human research ethics boards: the university’s Interdisciplinary Committee on Ethics in Human Research, Grenfell Campus’s Research Ethics Board and the provincial Health Research Ethics Board; and submit Animal Use Protocol Forms to the Institutional Animal Care Committee.

In addition to the number of accounts increasing, the number of ethics applications submitted through the site has also gone up fivefold over the past year.

“We’ve seen the number of ethics applications go from just over 100 in March to more than 525 submitted to the portal as of this month and we anticipate that number to only rise,” noted Mr. Miller.

Further enhancements to the portal are coming next year.

When fully deployed, the Memorial Researcher Portal will route researcher applications for funding to faculty and department heads, as well as various review committees for approval and sign-off. Signing authorities, such as deans, department heads and research ethics board chairs, can submit commentary on the application and will be able to route it back to the researcher for revisions.

“We’re proud to offer this service to researchers on each of Memorial’s campuses, and to those from the wider provincial community.” — David Miller

As the application progresses through various stages, the principal investigator and research team will be kept apprised of approvals and changes via email and within the Memorial Researcher Portal’s workflow log. Investigators will also have the ability to see all previously submitted applications in which they were a principal investigator or a project team member.

Post-approval activities, such as annual renewals and amendments, can also be entered into the Memorial Researcher Portal. All post-approval activities are then electronically linked to the original application.

Enhancing research support

The portal is one of the outcomes of Memorial’s Strategic Research Intensity Plan, which aims to improve the services and supports to researchers while increasing their research activities.

The Memorial Researcher Portal support team is available to provide business training to current and future users.


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