Multiple Research Schools at the University operate independent technical workshops. The workshop technicians collaborate with researchers on the conceptualisation, design and build of research equipment, which is not available commercially, to support cutting edge and experimental research. This is often an iterative process that is reliant on the knowledge and expertise of the technicians. The technical workshops also undertake maintenance on research and teaching laboratory equipment. A key concern of the current model is the future sustainability of the technical workshops and the ability of some Research Schools to continue providing support for them.
What are we trying to achieve?
The University has commenced this Project with the aim to implement a unified technical workshop model, which is focused on improving processes and service delivery to support researchers and research outcomes, irrespective of College or Research School.
We will capture opportunities to improve service delivery through better understanding what services and support is provided to researchers and the University community and how much effort these services require.
The current distributed workshop model limits the ability of the workshops to provide a regular suite of services at a consistent level of service to researchers in different Research Schools, which is especially limiting for those without a local workshop.
The Project aims to address these limitations through the following objectives:
- implement a single work management system that will by used by technical workshops to initiate, manage, track and invoice workshop services
- produce a thorough catalogue of what services are and are not available from all the technical workshops
- develop a funding and cost recovery model that is equitable and accessible for all users of the technical workshop services
- have a unified technical workforce with the right skills and capacity to deliver workshops services, and ensure there is an appropriate career path and skills development in place that includes an apprenticeship scheme.
How will it improve our services?
The project aims to deliver these key benefits:
- a unified technical workshop model that will provide a standardised suite of services
- equitable access to workshop services for all ANU researchers and students
- improved data collection and reporting that supports a more strategic service delivery model that matches the needs of the researchers and the University and that will provide the University with a better understanding of the true cost to support research
- increased depth and breadth in the skills and capabilities of technical staff achieved through appropriate skills development and defined career paths
- optimised footprint and equipment needs.
The project will be undertaken in three stages, with each subsequent stage relying on data collected and analysed from the preceding stage.
The three stages are:
Stage 1 – Work Management System
Stage 2 – Services Catalogue & Standardised Operating and Funding Model
Stage 3 – Workforce Unification & Physical Consolidation
Stage 1 of the project will include the following activities:
- work with the technical workshop staff to understand and document how workshop staff manage their day-to-day tasks and the problems and pain points of the existing systems
- co-design a streamlined process for managing projects, tasks and workflows in the workshops
- understand and define the future business and user requirements for a suitable work management system and document these as functional requirements
- source, configure and implement the new system for all the workshops to use.