JISC Inf11-VRE start up meeting

JISCcolour23I’ve just returned from attending the JISC Information Environment and VRE start up meeting, held  at the  Uni of Leicster July 7/8th 2009.

In summary, it was a very positive meeting – primarily aimed at explaining the JISC parent programmes  and also providing some useful hints and tips for project managers.  The 1 and 1/2 day event was pretty well attended by JISC newbies and veterans with the first half day aimed at new project managers and the second day describing the programmes and then a number of workshops covering areas such as communication, sustainability, evaluation and user engagement.

The second day started off with a particularly challenging requirement to present a summary of the project in no more than 30 seconds. This is not easy, and particularly for a project as broad as ERIS. The presentations were all video recorded and will be made availabe on the JISC project pages as soon as they have been sorted.  The presentations were varied, powerpoint slides banned, and a few poetic souls came up with some very imaginative approaches, making us boring people feel very innadequate….

Personal highlights for me were a number of very interesting discussions around benefits realisation management, on evaluation in general and I particularly enjoyed the all too brief user engagement session presented by Neil Chue-Hong from omii-ac.uk

However, without question the most valuable actvity was the networking. We had ‘suggested’ people to talk to, orgainsed by the JISC programme managers.  This was done in order to identify areas of the projects that had potential overlaps, and to speak with people who may have already had experience in certain areas.

The most useful connection for me was with the Repository Support Network and the Welsh Repositories Network both of whom are effecivley working in the same space as ERIS, but in different territories. There are differences between primary objectives, but we have all agreed to get together and find out where there are areas of synergy, and see what we might be able to do to help each other.  The RSP was a particularly good fit to the IRIScotland repository managers group, which I see as a sort of Scottish branch of RSP, and I’ve agreed to strike up a regular conversation with RSP Project Manager Dominic Tate, who is now reponsible for the next 3 year funding tranche.

The WRN are embarking on a mission to “investigate the potential of a collaborative, centrally managed model for accelerating the development and uptake of repository services in HEIs in Wales and across the UK as a whole”

All in all, a very useful couple of days, in not only for the sheer entertainment of watching Hull’s Chris Awre delivering a perfect 30 second pitch for his project whilst juggling. I thought I’d seen everything…

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