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New Zealand Research Information System Update – Issue #1

Welcome to our first newsletter for the New Zealand Research Information System (NZRIS) programme. We’ll be sending this out regularly as we work towards releasing the first version of NZRIS in September and beyond.

In this issue we introduce the team, tell you about our new name and new look, outline the timeline for NZRIS and share what’s coming up.

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NZRIS team - March 2019

Members of the NZRIS team, from left: Kat Begg, Chris Dangerfield, Rio Yonson, Amber Flynn, Amily Kim, Melissa Fordyce and Ian Baker. Team members Frank van der Zwaag, Peter Diamond, Fiona Astwood, Mark Garish and Cassandra Rivers are absent.

We’ve got a dedicated team based at MBIE that’s responsible for making NZRIS happen. They’re working closely with the sector to ensure that we’re on track and on schedule to deliver the system.

Amber Flynn is the new programme manager for NZRIS. Amber joined MBIE recently from the Tertiary Education Commission where she ran a similar programme of work.

Working with Amber is a team of people you may already be familiar with: Rio Yonson who is the NZRIS engagement lead and your first port of call for any questions; Chris Dangerfield and Amily Kim who are the product owners for the NZRIS user interfaces and data quality respectively; Dr Mark Garish who will be leading our engagement with universities; and Cassandra Rivers who provides communications support across the team.

Kat Begg is our new IT project manager. Kat’s role is to deliver the information technology components of NZRIS so that come September we have a searchable, usable online hub of information in place and ready to go. Kat’s also got a great team of people working with her, many of whom you may have met already: Melissa Fordyce, Frank van der Zwaag and Peter Diamond our business analysts, Ian Baker our solution architect, and Fiona Astwood our testing lead.

A new name and look

By now many of you will have noticed we’ve got a new name – New Zealand  Research Information System rather than National Research Information System – and a new look.

Using “New Zealand” instead of “National” in our name helps people know where we’re from, especially as many other countries have similar research information systems.

And our new logo also gives us a snappy and easily recognisable new look.

The three twists represent key points that are common to many research projects: resources, activity and outputs. The strands represent the range of activity that takes place in the sector, and the continuous loops represent the nature of the sector – each stage informs the next and it’s a never-ending cycle of growth and knowledge.

We’re starting to incorporate our new look into a range of material, including two new brochures – one that provides an introduction to NZRIS and the other which has more detail about how it works. Take a look at these brochures for a quick re-cap on NZRIS and what it’s all about.

We hope you love the new logo as much as we do.

Timeframes and phasing

NZRIS will be delivered in phases over a number of years. It will be an iterative process as we test and refine the system, and as more organisations come on board.

We have categorised the programme broadly into the following three high level phases:

Phase One – now until September 2019. This phase involves designing, developing and building the information technology solution for NZRIS, a first version of which will be launched in September 2019.

This version will contain data supplied by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the Ministry for Primary Industries, the Royal Society Te Apārangi and the Health Research Council.

During this phase we have a number of smaller milestones which will involve developing dedicated support and training that can be used by organisations as they become part of NZRIS in future.

Phase Two – September 2019 until June 2020. This phase will see the Tertiary Education Commission and Callaghan Innovation join NZRIS.

Phase Three – June until December 2021. This phase will involve research organisations (as opposed to funders or asset pool managers) including universities and CRIs joining NZRIS. We will also work with any other organisations that want to participate in NZRIS, including research funders.

Where we’re at now

We’ve got two main workstreams for NZRIS: firstly, the work required to build the NZRIS system for release in September; and secondly, the work we need to do to create a strong foundation for NZRIS as it moves into the future and as more organisations join.

For the system build, we are working closely with our four early data providers – the Ministry for Primary Industries, MBIE, the Royal Society Te Apārangi and the Health Research Council – to ensure they have the support they need to be part of NZRIS. We have a series of milestones between now and September, including deadlines for data submission, ingestion and production, which we’ll work with our four data providers on. We’ll also keep the wider sector informed as we progress.

For the wider programme of work, we have a number of activities under way. We have two work programmes focusing on building the involvement of research organisations: a pilot programme with AgResearch which will allow us to refine how research data is submitted into NZRIS; and the establishment of a universities working group to ensure there is strong alignment between NZRIS and universities’ requirements. More updates about these will be provided in future newsletters.

We are also working on the establishment of a new group, the NZRIS Stewardship and Oversight Group, which will be a cross-sector reference group that provides guidance and direction for how data in NZRIS is managed in future. We are looking forward to sharing more information about this with you in coming months.

What’s coming up

Data Specification document V2 release

In mid-April we will release Version 2 of the NZRIS Data Specification document. This is an important document as it sets out the specifications for data to be provided to NZRIS.

This document is for any organisation that will be providing data to NZRIS, and we’ll be emailing it out directly to the sector and making it available on our website.

Even though it will be most useful right now for our first four data providers, other organisations can use it now to review their current data collections and consider whether any redevelopment of operational processes and tools may be required in future.