The most visible activity in March has been the submission and discussion of ideas in the Spring Challenge. 26 ideas were shared and these were viewed nearly 4,000 times. 233 people interacted with them, for example by adding comments and suggestions. The ideas are now being reviewed and a selection will be invited to submit and present a project proposal which will then be considered for funding by the IT Innovation Panel. The outcome of the Spring Challenge should be known some time in June.
At the same time as the Spring Challenge has been running, the Innovation staff have been busy preparing for the start of the projects funded in the previous round (list of funded projects). The award letters, detailing the conditions for the funding, have been sent out to be signed and then returned. In some cases, start dates need to be adjusted or budgets revised and sometimes new project names are selected. Once all the details are settled, the financial accounts can be set up for each project and the responsibility for managing the project admin is moved to the units where they are based.
Student projects are slightly different as these are administered and supported by IT Services. Innovation staff have been meeting with the project managers for the new student projects to offer some advice and guidance related to running an IT Innovation student project. We talk about the processes for purchasing, employment contracts, contracting external developers, and more. It is great to work with the new projects and meet the committed, enthusiastic, and capable project members, even if it at time surprises us how many new issues seem to pop up in each round. There is no such thing as a ‘standard student project’, that’s for sure. But then, it wouldn’t be truly innovative if all projects were the same.
We hope to publish more information about all individual projects, staff and students, as they get underway. A first presentation is offered by the OAR student project (Oxford Artistic and Practice Based Research Platform), run by students at the Ruskin School of Art (Read about OAR).