Closure Report

Project Summary:


In Dec. 2015, the Centre for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health (CTLGH) was launched at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) Nairobi Campus in Kenya. CTLGH partners from The Roslin Institute, Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) and ILRI gathered to kick start the Centre’s research programmes funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF). These programmes will focus on the identification of optimal genotypes for dairy cattle and poultry production in Africa, establishing precision breeding technologies to improve livestock productivity and tolerance to tropical diseases and pests, and on creating open data and biological sample resources.

A second BMGF award to Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies (R(D)SVS) of £5.5M to support evidencebased interventions in livestock, further increased the collective commitment to address global challenges and establish international partnerships. It this second grant award that is in scope for the provision of University of Edinburgh (UoE) IT/IS consultation.

This project (under SEBI Programme 2) was initiated following the initial setup of the Tableau server, with the aim of entering into a more formal partnership with UoE Information Services to deliver a data analytics capability for SEBI, and to establish the long term sustainability of the platform.


This project will deliver the technical components to support the development of the SEBI Community Of Practice (COP). This initially includes the Single Sign On capability for Tableau server(s), and a database repository for the COP data sources. Subsequent deliverables include a web presence for SEBI partners, a process for transforming source data for ingest to the data repository, and an Operating Level Agreement (OLA) with the UoE.  Unless otherwise explicitly stated, all content is copyright © The University of Edinburgh  partners providing and supporting the technical components of the service. The scope does not include direct support to SEBI partners and users but is proposed as a fixed cost model to provide management and operational running of the platforms underpinning the SEBI service.

Objectives and Deliverables

No. Deliverable Success Criteria Priority Achieved
O1 Implement Tableau Platform      
D1 Ensure Tableau platform is fit for purpose for use throughout the duration of the grant

Single Sign On Authentication for SEBI  COP partners

Review of Tableau infrastructure, fault tolerance, and business continuity options

Must have

Should have

Yes: via Google Authentication

Yes: recommendation was to migrate Tableau on-premise to Tableau SaaS platform - work was completed Summer 2019.

O2 Implement Database Repository      
D2 Install a database repository server to be used to collate grant data.  This server will also be used to rpovide data to Tableau for analysis, reporting and visualisation.  It is proposed that a single, minimal spec MS SQL Server instance be deployed initially to provide the means for the Data Co-Ordinator and Data Analyst to store data, and to provide a primary data source for Tableau.  The infrastructure should be reviewed under Objective 3 to ensure 

Tableau platform connected to database repository.


Database utilised for grant information as well as data for analysis and presentation by Tableau.

Must have


Must have




Yes - although no longer required.

O3 Implement Data Transformation Processes      
D3 Develop transformation processes to ensure data is fit for use from source to ingest into database

At least one means of partners submitting source data to the repository.

Standardised data schema exists.

Must have

Should have



No: it became clear through the duration of the funding that a standardised schema would not be achievable.

O4 Implement an external facing web prescence      

Act as a public facing website, providing:

  1. Relevant and necessary grant award information
  2. Relevant organisation and contract information
  3. Public / open access information

Single point of reference for partnerhsip access facilitating:

  1. Data sharing
  • Secure upload
  • Secure download

2. Partner specific support and guidance


Interested parties can access necessary information on grants, organisational contact etc



Partners have means of secure upload and download of data.



Must have



Should have







No - data upload mediated by SEBI team.

O5 Provide support for technical components of SEBI service      
D5 Agreement on operational support model.  This is likely to be a model based on a one year fixed cost to IS to provide management and operational running of the platforms underpinning the SEBI service (reviewed annually).

SEBI Project Sponsor, IS USD and IS Apps Section Heads clear on roles and responsibilities.

Review ongoing arrangements (annually)

Agree arrangements for long term sustainability of service.

Must have


Must have


Should have






No - no longer required.




Success Criteria


Analysis of Resource Usage:

Staff Usage Estimate: 110 days

Staff Usage Actual: 78.8 days

Staff Usage Variance: -39.6%

SEBI effort not estimated or actual recorded.

Explanation for variance:

Initial expectations on the extent to which development effort would be required for data transformations and additional support on Tableau and SQL Server changed through the grant period as priorities changed between SEBI and BMGF. The PM ensured that resources were available as required to SEBI but other work was prioritised above the initial requirement and therefore less effort was required.



Key Learning Points:

  • The Project Team and Subject Matter Experts worked constructively and professionally with the local IS team at R(D)SVS to deliver a technical platform to fully support the various streams of activity of the SEBI programme, despite early challenges establishing some requirements with BMGF and partners.
  • The various individuals in the team were a positive business partner to work with over the funding period of SEBI.
  • IS Applications set up Single Sign On (SSO) authentication using Google Sign-In to allow secure partner access to Tableau data.
  • The IS Applications Head of Development Services was involved in early conversations with SEBI and the PM, and committed technical and development staff from Development Services to assist the SEBI team setting up a MSSQLServer database instance to ingest livestock data from SEBI partners for analysis and to produce Tableau visualisations. The initial proposal was for IS staff to assist implementation of data transformation rules based on requirements from BMGF and partners, but it became clear that the complexity of various data sets meant that it was prohibitive to invest significant effort into developing sophisticated ingestion solution without agreement on requirements with BMGF; this became less of a priority relative to other streams of work under SEBI and it was agreed to suspend data transformation work, and the project, for periods - pending clarity on longer term SEBI funding and sustainability. 
  • The Project Team regularly reviewed the need for technical work to support SEBI to ensure that if requirements were agreed with BMGF then technical expertise could be brought in quickly. 
  • The PM and Development Services facilitated the supplier in migration of the SEBI on-premise Tableau server to Tableau SaaS and were on hand to support the team to complete this work.

Outstanding issues:

  • On-Premise virtual infrastructure is to be decommissioned as this is no longer required by SEBI following the migration of Tableau to Tableau SaaS.
  • The MSSQLServer instance is no longer required and can be removed. SEBI have secured additional funding beyond 2020 to work with new business partners and will no longer be dependent on this DBMS or require a support agreement to be in place.

The project closure is not dependent on the actions and there are no outstanding dependencies on either IS Applications or on the local IS Support team.

Project Info

SEBI - Data Collection and Modelling
MVM Research (MVMRES)
Management Office
Project Manager
Colin Watt
Project Sponsor
Andrew Peters
Current Stage
Project Classification
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Planning Date
Delivery Date
Close Date
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