Overview

Background

The interdisciplinary nature of many topics, together with the complexities of University’s academic structures (and consequently its website) mean that there is no easy way for a prospective PGR (Post Graduate Research) student to identify relevant PGR opportunities on the basis of their academic interests. This can lead to prospective students failing to pursue PGR opportunities at the University, and also the concentration of requests for supervision around a small number of better known academic staff.

This proposal would create a searchable online database that would bring together information about research areas, topics and expertise, resources (e.g. exclusive collections which only exist at the University) and funding opportunities on the basis of keywords associated with their research interests.

This project was originally initiated in August 2016 to deliver the project as originated in this proposal. A previous draft project brief was prepared, and during the course of those planning discussions it was realised that the project scope significantly overlapped with the Service Excellence Programme (SEP) work being defined in the Student Recruitment and Admissions (SRA) Programme. The project was then suspended until May 2017, at which time the work for the SEP SRA Programme was sufficiently defined for this project to be re-started.

The project is re-starting on the assumption that the PURE / Edinburgh Research Explorer (ERE) will be the basis for the PGR Opportunity Finder searchable online database. It is accepting that there will be limitations as to what can be developed because this application is built on the University's Current Research Information System (CRIS) provided by Elsevier PURE. This assumption has been driven by the over-arching objective from SRA that there be a consistent view of profiles for prospective applicants. PURE / ERE is used by all staff as the support for the UK REF reporting.  EdWeb staff profiles were considered but not pursued as a number of Schools do not use EdWeb and SRA do not wish a solution that would only work for some Schools.

As there has been a significant delay in starting the project, there is less funding available than was originally allocated, and scope will be prioritised and included accordingly. 

There is a timing dependency on Funnelback  planned work on how to take advantage of the PURE APIs, and how this potentially fits with the requirements of the project. 

Scope

This project aims to use the data in PURE such that it can be used as the basis for an online search, using Funnelback,  for students seeking PGR opportunities.

This will support the University's strategic aim to grow its PGR and international student populations. This project will help in providing a cohesive, inclusive and individualised approach to enhancing our student experience; an experience that begins with a prospective student's first contact with the University.

Out of scope

Changes to PURE and ERE functionality as this is provided by a third-party supplier.

 

Objectives & Deliverables

No. Description Priority (MoSCoW) Owner
O1
Enable PGR students to search for opportunities in PURE via EdWeb by keywords (without choosing a specific School first)
M
SRA
D1.1 Enable PGR students to search for opportunities in PURE via ERE by keywords (without choosing a specific School first) S SRA
D1.2

 

Defined requirements for the search functionality needed, with priority, and corresponding capability to deliver via PURE

(Note that it is not possible to amend the functionality directly, and so some mandatory requirements may not be able to be achieved in this project).

M Project Services
O2
Build a search capability using Funnelback to expose PURE data via API's to return, among others, the fields "Willingness to take Ph.D. students" and "Ph.D. research projects available".
M
Software Development
D2.1 Build Funnelback Results Page supporting search output.  M Software Development

D2.2

Provide guidance and policies on the use of PURE to enable those entering the data to enter better quality data. M SRA
D2.3 Test the use of PURE APIs to consume among others the "Willingness to take Ph.D. students" and "Ph.D. research projects available" fields as data input in Funnelback results page M UWP
D2.4 Test the search capability to manage return of terms in line with requirements in D1.1 (only those which can be supported on PURE / ERE). M UWP 
D2.5 Develop a widget/function based on Funnelback search capability, that can be embedded into other staff profiles such as EdWeb and School-specific profiles, to enable the same search functionality to be accessed from a variety of sources.  C Software Development

 

 

Benefits

This will support the University's aim of growing its PGR and international student populations, and to provide a cohesive, inclusive and individualised approach to enhancing our student experience; an experience that begins with a prospective student's first contact with the University.

Success Criteria

There are limitations on what can be developed due to the provision of ERE/PURE as a third-party product. This project will be considered successful if:

  • PURE can be used to enable searches for prospective PhD supervisors using keywords on research interests.
  • Policies and guidance are in place for data entry into PURE to enable better quality searching and results.

Project Milestones

Datesort descending Previous Date Title Stage Complete
11-May-2018 23-Mar-2018 End of Planning (re-plan following suspension) Plan Yes
25-May-2018 No date available System Design - Research PURE API Design No
19-Jun-2018 No date available Build Complete Build No
03-Jul-2018 No date available Integration Complete Integrate No
18-Jul-2018 No date available Acceptance Complete Accept No
31-Jul-2018 No date available Deployment Deliver No
22-Aug-2018 No date available Project Closure Close No
21-Dec-2018 21-Dec-2017 External Milestone: Guidance policy for use of "Willingness to take Ph.D. students" and "Ph.D. research projects available" Deliver No
21-Dec-2018 11-May-2017 External Milestone: Guidance policy for use and tagging of keywords to support PGR search Deliver No

 

 

 

 

Project Info

Project
PGR Opportunity Finder
Code
STU253
Programme
Student Services (STU)
Management Office
ISG PMO
Project Manager
Geoff Cropley
Project Sponsor
Jane Johnston
Current Stage
Close
Status
Closed
Project Classification
Grow
Start Date
23-Jun-2016
Planning Date
11-May-2018
Delivery Date
08-Feb-2019
Close Date
28-Feb-2019
Programme Priority
3
Overall Priority
Normal
Category
Discretionary

Documentation

Plan