How to Generate Leadership Buy-In for a Research Evaluation System

Ashley Toy
February 19th, 2019

The business case for a research evaluation system may seem clear to you. The reduced administrative burden, improved data accuracy and integrity, and ability to proactively plan and make data-informed decisions facilitated by a research evaluation technology solution all offer significant efficiency gains for a research administration department. But the benefits may not seem as clear to your organizational leadership, who can often be key decision makers when it comes to bringing a research evaluation system to your institution. How can you get leadership on board and justify the investment in a research evaluation system? Consider the following points when presenting a solution to your leadership team.

Opportunity Cost of Manual, Labor-Intensive Methods

Without automation, compiling data on grants, publications, investigators and more is time consuming and resource intensive. Research administrative staff are forced to spend time on manual processes and data entry to find and collect this data. The effort required to make meaningful connections with this data is also burdensome and prohibits staff from spending their time on more valuable tasks. With a research evaluation system, leadership can be ensured that their staff time is being used in the most effective way possible.

At the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, Manager of Research Administrative Operations Julie DeJager Glavic said a member of her team previously spent 75% of their time working to track and prepare publication data for grant submissions. By using research evaluation technology, the maintenance of preparing publication data has decreased to just 10% of the staff member’s total work. “That result alone has justified our investment,” Glavic said.

Greater Confidence in Research Administration Data

With a research evaluation system, your team can be more certain of the accuracy of data going into the system, and therefore more confident in data being reported out of the system. This is important when applying for grants, as well as reporting to leadership. Additionally, the amount of time required to answer questions from leadership and retrieve information can be cut down through use of a technology solution.

For the University of Florida Health Cancer Center, CCSG Coordinator and Research Administration Manager Natalie Roman sees the data coming from their research evaluation system as more reliable. “Now, leadership is confident in the data, they know the process and see how they can connect it all. They are more confident in what research administration is providing to them,” Roman said.

Using Data to Plan for the Future

While your team may see the need for a research evaluation system for the day to day benefits, your leadership team may recognize the value of technology for the big picture impacts. For example, when making decisions about staffing, leadership can look to the contributions of individual investigators. Easily referencing grant funding and publication data can help make more data driven decisions related to compensation or membership consideration. When making decisions about membership, a research evaluation system makes it easy to see how different scenarios would impact the composition of your organization’s programs. When applying for the CCSG, leadership can use technology to proactively craft your cancer center’s story throughout the five-year renewal cycle instead of struggling to make meaningful connections with data in competitive renewal years.

The University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center has used their research evaluation solution to inform important CCSG-related decisions, beyond just submitting the application. “We use it more holistically throughout the five-year cycle as a way to look at the CCSG in general and making decisions around various parts of the core grant, leadership, membership and more,” said Meredith Luschen, Assistant Director of Finance and Strategic Planning.

While the bulk of the hands-on use of the system will fall to the research administration department, the impacts are far-reaching. Benefits to organizational leadership are numerous, and the investment made in the system will pay dividends, both in future grant funding, and effective use of current staff. Distinguish your organization as a center of excellence using a research evaluation system, like Forte’s EVAL.