Research & Innovation Services

New electronic research environment starts to realise benefits

It has been 18 months since Research and Innovation Services (RIS), working closely with Computing Services, rolled out the first phase of the new electronic “Proposal to Award” management system, affectionately known as PAM. PAM has replaced our previous paper based processes and out of date costing tool, with an automated system including electronic sign offs, integrated ethics approvals and new embedded costings.

PAM Benefits

As of beginning of February 2018, 2156 projects have been initiated on PAM and 1137 applications taken all the way through to electronic approval. In parallel, 785 electronic ethics forms have also been completed.

We have recently completed a benefit analysis of phase one which estimates that the new system is generating efficiency savings worth in the region of £100K annually. These mainly result from significant time savings from reduced duplication and manual input of data, removal of manual ethics reporting and more efficient electronic sign off and reduction in paper. We have not as yet found a work around for the data protection issue with multiple applicants, but discussions continue.

PAM Phase 2

The second Phase of PAM will be rolled out in August 2018 and will involve automation of the Pre-Award application to Post Award awarded processes, removal of the RS2 form for most awards, integration with PURE and improved research management reporting functionality.

For academic users there will be a number of further enhancements, including:

  • removal of the RS2
  • development of electronic forms for studentship and equipment requests
  • introduction of automated professional service notifications (e.g. notifying estates of space requirements for equipment)

We expect that Phase 2 will bring further significant benefits and associated savings relating to:

  • a reduction in paper-based forms, allowing faster and easier information sharing
  • greater administrative capacity and throughput
  • improved systems interfacing and significant reduction in manual processing between systems PAM, Project Costing and Billing (PCB) and PURE
  • improved data quality
  • enhanced research management reporting functionality
  • improved functionality to monitor and manage budgets

In short, easier, quicker, cheaper and with better data thrown in.

Professor David Galbreath, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences said: “Time poor academics have previously been put off applying for funding because of perceived barriers to action, such as difficulties with pFACT costings, excessive duplication of paper based forms and manual approval processes. These have been significantly reduced by bringing everything together into a single automated and integrated environment that is accessible on-line. This means that is it easier and quicker to set up applications and will encourage more academics to become actively engaged in growing our research portfolio."

Jon Hunt, Director of Research and Innovation Services (RIS) said: “The number of research applications being submitted across the University has increased by 15% over the past two years. The efficiencies realised through the roll out of the first phase of PAM means that RIS staff can both absorb this growth, as well as dedicate more time to working with academics to add real value to their proposals. Phase 2 will bring further benefits relating in particular to post-award management and integration with PURE.”

We need your help

We are aware that many users have views on the new system! We can only get it right if we have constructive input at the design stage. Please volunteer to be part of our academic user group to help us to get the best possible system in place. You can contact us to get involved via the email addresses below.

Alison Evans, Project Manager. Email: Ext. 3350.

Chris Cooper, Project Co-ordinator. EMail: Ext. 6363.

General information about PAM including detailed user guidance is available from the RIS web pages.

If you would like any further information or if you have any questions please do get in touch with us.