National Research Infrastructure - Funder or Partner?
Since 2009 the Australian National Data Services (ANDS) has evolved and matured as a national infrastructure project. This has involved a change in its engagement model; primarily moving from a compliance and milestone driven model, towards a partnering organisation. In 2013 ANDS streamlined its contract management and reporting process and initiated the Institutional Engagement program to assist partnering organisations achieve their research data ambitions. These, amongst other initiatives, helped ANDS move towards operating as a collaborator and partner, rather than solely as a funder.
Between 2013 and 2017 ANDS changed its engagement model during four of its funding programs by offering funding and expertise into projects. However, the uptake of expertise was not as successful in the earlier programs as anticipated. As a result, changes in how ANDS engaged, including working more closely with project partners at the project initiation stage, were introduced. These changes improved ANDS’ ability to become embedded as a trusted and invested partner in the project team. Feedback provided by project partners during surveys and interviews suggests the shift from funder to partner is slowly evolving and moving in the right direction. To continue this process, ANDS, RDS and Nectar have adopted a Partnership Strategy as part of delivering its aligned business plan in 2018.
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