Innovation Projects. Project Selection Process & Assessment Factors. For Release. 25 September Version 1.1

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1 Innovation Projects Project Selection Process & Assessment Factors 25 September 2009 Version 1.1 For Release

2 Document Identifier Document Author Chris Mendes Version No. 1.1 Version Date 25/09/2009 Document Name and File Location smb://shared/administration/boards & Committees/Innovation Committee/Selection Process/Innovation Projects Selection Process and Factors RELEASE.doc Revision History Version No. Revision Date Summary of Changes Revised By /09/2009 Initial version for review. CMM /09/2009 Preparation for release. CMM /09/2009 Fixed minor wording issues. CMM Approvals This document requires the following approvals. Signed approval forms are filed in the Quality directory. Name Signature Title Date of Issue Version Purpose This document defines the process and selection factors for Intersect s Innovation Projects. Page 2 of 19

3 Table of Contents 1 Introduction General Desiderata for Innovation Project Selection Process Innovation Project Selection Process Overview Step 1 - Determine NSW eresearch Strategic Needs Step 2 - Review - Devise Candidate Projects fitting Strategic Needs Step 3 - Define Candidate Projects Step 4 - Assessment Step 5 - Review and Select Projects Step 6 - Quarterly Review Innovation Project Selection Factors Terms of Reference - Attachment A Research profile Commitment Project characteristics Strategic alignment Communications Process Selection Appendix 1: Innovation Project Selection Factors...16 Page 3 of 19

4 1 Introduction Intersect undertakes Innovation Projects as a part of the services provided to our member institutions. The Innovation Committee is appointed by the board to oversee and govern the process of devising, selecting and executing projects for the Innovation program. The Innovation committee: Bases the selection process on a strategic view of the eresearch needs of NSW and Australia. This will draw on: o NSW & National research priorities; o Needs of researchers at member institutions; o The value and quality of the supported research. Devises projects that meet the needs of researchers across institutions and even across disciplines. Selects projects to provide benefits fairly across our member institutions. The Board and the Innovation Committee determine appropriate resourcing for innovation projects. The aim is to provide 3 to 5 projects per annum. A part of the strategy is to complete projects serially in order to realise benefits for the research community in a timely and measurable manner. Considerations when selecting projects include : The quality of the proposed research The level of research concentration in NSW The extent to which the project may assist in broadening research activity. The extent to which the project can enable a high profile NSW research group to improve collaboration scope and hence attract additional national or international funding. The extent to which the project supports an emerging area of strength within NSW could be significantly aided by the project, and The extent to which the project would enable a NSW research group to build on its strength through connections and linkages with other disciplines. This document sets out the process, criteria and selection factors to be used for creation, assessment, selection and prioritisation of Innovation projects. 1.1 General Desiderata for Innovation Project Selection Process Transparent Process and Criteria: The process, criteria, factors and timetable used for project selection will be published publicly and made as transparent as possible. Details of the candidate projects being considered will be transparent unless the principal investigators require confidentiality. Aligned with NSW eresearch Priorities: Candidate projects will be proposed based on a sound understanding of the strategic directions of eresearch in NSW. Page 4 of 19

5 Fair Opportunity for Consideration: When identifying candidate projects, the needs of all Intersect s members will be fairly considered. Inclusive and Collaborative: When formulating and scoping a project, Intersect s projects team will seek to identify and include all members and other interested parties who may potentially benefit from it or be able to contribute to its success. Full Engagement with Researchers: The principal investigators of each candidate project will have the opportunity to review, revise and sign off on all details of the project proposal before it is put forward to Intersect s Innovation Committee to consider for selection. Objective Assessment: The candidate projects will be assessed and ranked as objectively as possible on their merits without bias towards any particular member, discipline or group. Open Communication: The principal investigators will be kept informed of the status of their project proposal as it progresses through the major stages of the selection process. All members will be informed of the successful candidates. Page 5 of 19

6 2 Innovation Project Selection Process 2.1 Overview The selection process is intended to run on an annual cycle, supported by quarterly reviews. The first stage in the annual selection process involves determining the current eresearch needs across the state of NSW in general, in consultation with the relevant stakeholders. In the second stage, engagement with each member institution identifies research groups and their eresearch needs for both development and services. The service requirements information feeds into Intersect s Services arm, whilst development information is used to formulate potential projects. A review of the state s strategic needs produces a list of suitable candidate projects. In the third stage, the candidate projects are investigated further. One page summaries are compiled, and those judged to have adequate merit are scoped in depth. In the fourth stage, the candidates are assessed according to the selection criteria set out in this document, and recommendations are made based on the assessment. In the final stage, recommendations and supporting material are put before the Innovation Committee to review and select projects for the upcoming calendar year. In quarterly reviews, the Innovation Committee has the opportunity to review the progress of each project over the quarter, address any issues and re-prioritise across the project portfolio as appropriate. Page 6 of 19

7 2.2 Step 1 - Determine NSW eresearch Strategic Needs The first step in the selection process is to determine the current eresearch needs across the state of NSW in general. This will generally be conducted around September. Key internal stakeholders are consulted, including Intersect s Executive Team (currently the CEO, Director of Services and Director of Engineering), Intersect s Board of Directors and members of the Innovation Committee, and are asked to identify what they see as key needs, goals and areas of importance for Research and eresearch in NSW for the coming year. Key external stakeholders are then similarly consulted. These include the Deputy Vice Chancellors of Research in each member institution, NSW s Chief Scientist and key representatives of the NSW State Government. Based on the input collected, an eresearch Strategic Needs Report for NSW is prepared, based on a template. This report is reviewed by the Intersect Executive Team and circulated to the Innovation Committee. Task Owner: Task Conducted By: Other participants: Timing: Templates to Use: Deliverables: Director of Engineering Projects Team and eresearch Analysts Interviews and input collection from key internal and external stakeholders, including Executive Team, Board of Directors, Innovation Committee, DVCRs, NSW Chief Scientist s Office and NSW State Government. Around mid-august, allow approximately one month. NSW eresearch Strategic Needs Report Template 1.A NSW eresearch Strategic Needs Report Page 7 of 19

8 2.3 Step 2 - Review - Devise Candidate Projects fitting Strategic Needs Once NSW s eresearch strategic needs are known, the Projects team and eresearch analysts engage with each member institution, identifying research groups and engaging with them to determine their eresearch needs in general. Needs best met by services are channelled to Intersect s Services Arm, whilst needs for development provide input for formulating potential projects. Guided by the state s strategic needs as captured in the report produced by Stage 1 (Deliverable 1.A), the strategic fit of the various research efforts and needs is assessed. Taking into account common needs identified across institutions, suitable candidate projects are identified and formulated. These are reviewed by the Director of Engineering and once finalised, a list of candidate projects is produced. Task Owner: Task Conducted By: Other Participants: Timing: Templates to Use: Input: Deliverables: Director of Engineering Projects Team, eresearch Analysts, Director of Engineering (2.5) eresearch co-ordinators and research groups at member institutions Commence mid-september, allow approx. four weeks. None. 1.A NSW eresearch Strategic Needs Report 2.A List of research groups and researchers to interview regarding needs. 2.B Details of needs for development and services for each research group interviewed. 2.C List of candidate projects Page 8 of 19

9 2.4 Step 3 - Define Candidate Projects The preliminary list of candidate projects is investigated more thoroughly in this stage. Intersect s Project Team works closely with researchers at the relevant member institutions to produce a high level summary of each candidate project. As part of this process, the Project Teams also seek to identify synergies across institutions and disciplines and possible funding sources. A one page summary of each candidate project is produced, based on a template. The candidate projects are then reviewed by Intersect s Executive Team (CEO, Director of Services and Director of Engineering). The next step identifies a list of candidate projects judged to be worth looking at in more depth. Those projects then undergo a scoping exercise which produces a preliminary scoping document, based on a template. Principal investigators are given the opportunity to provide input to, review, revise and sign off on the scoping documents produced. It is expected that around ten projects would be scoped in detail at this stage. Task Owner: Task Conducted By: Other Participants: Timing: Templates to Use: Deliverables: Director of Engineering Projects Team, eresearch Analysts, Executive Team Candidate Research Groups at each member institution Commence October, allow approx. 6 weeks. 1 Page Project Summary Template Project Scoping Document template 3.A 1 Page Project Summary per candidate project. 3.B List of Projects to be scoped. 3.C Project Scoping Document per candidate project. Page 9 of 19

10 2.5 Step 4 - Assessment At this stage, the scoped candidate projects undergo assessment and review. Intersect s Project Team assigns scores to each project according to the selection criteria identified in this document. An internal template is used to input the scores and generate indicative rankings. Following this, the assessment is given a preliminary review by the Director of Engineering. With his input, the next step takes into account all relevant criteria to determine which projects to recommend for selection, in priority order. The recommendations and rationale are written up for the Innovation Committee and reviewed and approved by Intersect s Executive Team before proceeding to the next stage. Task Owner: Task Conducted By: Other Participants: Timing: Templates to Use: Deliverables: Director of Engineering Projects Team, Executive Team None Commence mid-november, allow approx. 2 weeks. Assessment tables 4.A Assessment tables (internal use only) 4.B Prioritised recommendations for Innovation Project selections and rationale for those recommendations Page 10 of 19

11 2.6 Step 5 - Review and Select Projects At this stage, the recommendations and supporting material are reviewed by the Innovation Committee. After review, the Innovation Committee meet to discuss and make their selection of Innovation Projects for the upcoming calendar year. The selections are then communicated by the Executive team to the relevant stakeholders. It is expected that around four projects of approximately 12 man months each would be approved per calendar year. Task Owner: Task Conducted By: Other Participants: Timing: Templates to Use: Input: Deliverables: Innovation Committee Projects Team, Executive Team None Commence December, allow approx. 2 weeks. None 1.A NSW eresearch Strategic Needs Report 3.A 1 Page Project Summary per candidate project. 3.C Project Scoping Document per candidate project. 4.B Prioritised recommendations for Innovation Project selections and rationale for those recommendations 5.A List of selected projects 5.B Communication to stakeholders notifying selected projects Page 11 of 19

12 2.7 Step 6 - Quarterly Review On a quarterly basis, the projects team prepare a status and progress report covering the full portfolio of Innovation Projects for the Innovation Committee to review. The Innovation Committee review the status and progress of each project, address any issues as appropriate and re-prioritise the projects if necessary. Any re-prioritisations to take place are then communicated to the relevant stakeholders. Task Owner: Task Conducted By: Other Participants: Timing: Templates to Use: Deliverables: Innovation Committee Projects Team, Executive Team None Held around the end of each quarter. Allow one week for review of papers by the Innovation Committee prior to the meeting. None 6.A Quarterly status and progress report 6.B List of project prioritisations including any adjustments necessary 6.C Communication to stakeholders notifying of project prioritisation changes Page 12 of 19

13 3 Innovation Project Selection Factors 3.1 Terms of Reference - Attachment A Below are the factors used for Project Selection as laid out by Attachment A of the Innovation Committee s Terms of Reference. A more detailed breakdown of factors can be found in Appendix 1: Innovation Project Selection Factors below. 1. Research profile The proposed Innovation Project will support a research activity that is already funded and under way, rather than being a new development. The research activity to be supported is already or has strong potential to be a collaboration involving two or more Intersect members, and is associated with a defined community of interest. Research peers in Australia and internationally regard the research activity and its previous and/or expected results as valuable, high profile and of high quality. 2. Commitment The collaborating research groups or institutes are prepared to contribute and maintain resources and to work diligently with Intersect to attain the agreed Innovation Project objectives, and will make a quantitative commitment of resources which, together with other available resources, satisfy Criterion 3.1. The research groups demonstrate an understanding of how the Innovation Project can assist their work, and are committed to helping expand its benefits to other Intersect members, the community of interest and the overall research community. There is understanding and enthusiasm for the Innovation Project and its outcomes, both at the management and leadership level, and at researcher level. The Innovation Project has identified a lead researcher who is committed to leading the project to deliver its proposed research value, and is a highly motivated, respected and accomplished individual with regard to both research and leadership abilities. Page 13 of 19

14 3. Project characteristics The Innovation Project has well-defined objectives and deliverables, including assessable interim milestones, and has a high probability of success in achieving those objectives and deliverables within the timeframe and resourcing proposed by the project. The output of the Innovation Project will be high-quality, sustainable tools and/or services, which will be of ongoing value to the research groups and the community of interest. The sustainability of the service or tool resulting from the Innovation Project is demonstrated through a long-term commitment from a collaborating institution, or where necessary, can be reasonably supported in the long term by Intersect. 4. Strategic alignment The Innovation Project s objectives and deliverables align with national and NSW research priorities and eresearch strategy. The Innovation Project s objectives and deliverables align with Intersect s current strategic objectives, for instance, capability areas of strategic focus. The Innovation Project will extend beyond its specific domain to contribute to broader sharing or re-use of collaboration and research technologies, thereby building the Australian pool of eresearch resources. The Innovation Project will provide an exemplar case in outreach to other research communities nationally and internationally. Page 14 of 19

15 4 Communications The following communications relating to the Innovation Project selection process are to be published publicly: 4.1 Process 1. Project Selection process as laid out in this document 2. Project Selection criteria as laid out in this document 3. Templates for a. NSW eresearch Strategic Needs Report b. Project Summary c. Preliminary Project Scoping 4.2 Selection 4. List of Innovation Committee members and their affiliations 5. NSW eresearch Strategic Needs Report (Deliverable 1.A) 6. Details (project summaries and preliminary scoping documents) of candidate projects submitted to the Innovation Committee to consider for selection, except where the Principal Investigators have requested confidentiality due to commercial sensitivity, ethical or intellectual property considerations. 7. Annual announcement of successful candidates 8. Quarterly reprioritisation of projects Page 15 of 19

16 5 Appendix 1: Innovation Project Selection Factors The factors below correspond to the four areas laid out in the Innovation Committee s Terms of Reference - Appendix A. 1. Research profile: Description of Factors 1.1 Stable, Funded Research Initiative The research initiative is already funded and underway, and has adequate funding and stability to continue for the foreseeable future 1.2 External Funding The research initiative has a significant amount of external funding available to support it, or a strong expectation of acquiring such funding 1.3 Actual or Potential Collaboration Between Intersect Members The research activity to be supported is already or has strong potential to be a collaboration involving two or more Intersect members. 1.4 Strong Community of Interest The research activity to be supported is associated with a large, defined community of interest who are receptive and stand to benefit significantly. 1.5 High Profile, Quality Research The research initiative has a high profile both nationally and internationally, and is regarded by peers as high quality research. 1.6 Community Value of Research The research initiative is targeting outcomes that are of high value to the community (e.g. curing cancer, addressing climate change) 1.7 High Profile Enabling Collaboration The research initiative is enabling a high profile group to improve collaboration. 1.8 Emerging Area of Strength The research initiative represents an emerging area of strength in NSW. 1.9 Located In NSW The bulk of the research activity is being conducted within NSW Page 16 of 19

17 2. Commitment: Description of Factors 2.1 Lead Researchers Committed, Co-operative and Enthusiastic The lead researchers of the proposed project show strong commitment and enthusiasm for achieving the goals and deliverables scoped for the project, and have been highly co-operative with Intersect staff and actual or potential collaborators. 2.2 Respected and Accomplished Lead Researcher(s) The lead researcher(s) to lead the activity is highly motivated, respected and accomplished with regard to both research and leadership ability. 2.3 Management Committed, Understanding and Enthusiastic The management of the institution(s) / research group involved show understanding of the proposed activity, and commitment and enthusiasm for it. 2.4 Contribution of In-kind Resources The research group proposing the activity has indicated commitment to providing significant in-kind resources to work on the proposed activity with Intersect staff. 2.5 Researchers Committed to Collaboration and Expanding Value The researchers involved are enthusiastic about collaborating and are committed to helping expand the benefits of the proposed activity to other Intersect members, the community of interest and the overall research community. Page 17 of 19

18 3. Project Characteristics: Description of Factors 3.1 Well Defined Objectives and Deliverables The proposed activity has well-defined objectives and deliverables. 3.2 High Probability of Success within Proposed Timeframe and Resourcing The probability of successfully achieving the scoped goals and deliverables with the proposed timeframe and resourcing is high. 3.3 Low Potential Obstacles (Risks and Dependencies) The potential obstacles (risks and dependencies) that might impede the proposed activity are low. 3.4 High Impact The proposed activity will have high impact in furthering the Research Initiative and assisting it to achieve its research and community value goals. 3.5 Quick Wins The activity has significant opportunity for Intersect to produce significant value for members quickly. 3.6 Low Overheads The proposed goals and deliverables can be achieved with minimal effort from Intersect. 3.7 Ongoing Value and Sustainability The activity will produce high-quality, sustainable tools and/or services of ongoing value to the research group and community of interest. Sustainability is demonstrated by long-term commitment of the proposing member(s) and/or reasonable expectation of long-term support by Intersect. 3.8 Opportunity to Reuse Available Existing Technology There is significant opportunity to reuse previously developed technology that is available to Intersect and/or the proposer. 3.9 Opportunity to Generate Reusable Technology There is significant opportunity to develop technology that will be reusable by other Intersect members and/or in other research domains of interest to Intersect s members Potential for Spinoff Products and Projects The research initiative has strong potential to generate new spinoff products and projects for Intersect and its members. Page 18 of 19

19 4. Strategic Alignment Description of Factors 4.1 Alignment with NSW Research Priorities The research initiative outcomes are strongly aligned with NSW research priorities. Assess with respect to each priority set e.g. photonics 4.2 Alignment with National Research Priorities The research initiative outcomes are strongly aligned with national research priorities 4.3 Alignment with NCRIS and NSW eresearch Strategy The research activity is strongly aligned with NCRIS and NSW strategies for eresearch. 4.4 Alignment with Intersect s Strategic Objectives and Capability Areas The Research activity is strongly aligned with Intersect s strategic objectives and capability areas Intersect wishes to build. 4.5 Contribution to the Australian Pool of eresearch Resources The Research activity will make a significant contribution the pool of eresearch resources available in Australia. 4.6 National Linkages The Research activity will develop national research and eresearch linkages. 4.7 International Linkages The Research activity will develop international research and eresearch linkages. 4.8 Potential to be an Exemplar Project The Research activity shows strong potential to provide an exemplar case in eresearch in outreach to other research communities both nationally and internationally. Page 19 of 19

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