UMF Shared Services and the Cloud Programme
The £12.5 million UMF Shared Services and the Cloud Programme is part of a suite of activities under the University Modernisation Fund (UMF), a HEFCE fund that aims to help universities and colleges deliver better efficiency and value for money through the development of shared services.
This programme will invest up to £10 million to establish a shared infrastructure with suppliers brokered by JANET(UK) and support for research data management provided by DCC. The infrastructure will develop into a HE cloud and will support both research data management and enterprise application deployment. Up to a further £2.5 million will be used to develop shared services in administrative systems that support the delivery of learning, teaching, and research. Such shared services will allow universities and colleges to benefit from aggregated purchasing and reduced implementation and hosting costs, as well as through the streamlining of processes.
The HEFCE-funded UMF Shared Services and the Cloud Programme is managed by the JISC and will run from 1st February 2011 until 31st March 2012.
This £12.5million programme is comprised of two activity areas, as follows:
Strand A - Shared IT infrastructure
A broker will be established to aid institutions in the procurement of trusted shared virtual server and data centre capacity and capability. It will act both within the higher education (HE
) sector and between the HE
sector and commercial suppliers. This will be set up under the auspices of JANET(UK).
A core virtual server infrastructure (a ‘cloud’) will be set up to offer cost effective data management and storage services to HE
institutions. It will be deployed in data centres starting with a pilot at Eduserv
, which will work in collaboration with the Digital Curation Centre and application developers from strand Aiii below. Their progress can be seen here
Up to £3.5 million will be invested in this aspect of the shared IT infrastructure programme, including funding to develop a sustainable financial model for the brokerage beyond the life of the UMF.
will be developing data management tools, in particular its on-line data management planning tools which are designed to satisfy the demands of funders for clear data management plans in grant applications and during project implementation. It will support the requirements of funders in the UK and NSF
in the USA initially. The DCC
will further develop its training and support capability in particular its workshop programme. Up to £1.5m will be invested in this work.
Four application projects are funded under this thread. These applications are designed to be delivered as SaaS
from virtual servers within an institution or deployed on third party sites as is most cost effective and thus provide researchers with Cloud based tools to assist their work and help manage their data effectively. BRISSkit
developed by Leicester University is designed to provide support for joint NHS and University research teams working with tissue samples and anonymised patient data. ViDaaS
developed at Oxford is designed to provide Database as a Service to a wide range of Arts and Humanities researchers. Smart Research Framework (SRF)
developed at Southampton will provide electronic lab data management and collaborations tools. Dataflow
developed at Oxford provides an integrated set of tools to manage data within projects and then to store it for the longer term by simplifying the set up of Sword compliant data repositories and the submission of data to them. Each project will set up a website in the next few weeks and links will then be posted here.
Follow progress through the Programme Manager's Blog here.
Strand B - Shared Services for administration
Bi This project will establish a small, specialist team within JISC Advance to support institutions in procuring and implementing administrative applications, systems and services. Systems and Services Procurement Support (SSPS) will:
establish framework agreements for large IT systems and services
establish a consultancy services framework
aggregate demand and broker bespoke procurements, including managing the procurement for the RMAS project
provide expertise to procurement teams and purchasing consortia
guide institutions on interoperability solutions
establish and maintain a cloud-based 'open integration layer' developed in the STEP-F project
Bii The STEP-F project builds upon the successful FSD project STEP-C which demonstrated the concept of implementing an Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) within a University IT environment with connectors to several different types of applications being run either on campus or externally. Led by De Montfort University this project will place an ESB inside the cloud and demonstrate how a live application (HEDD – the Higher Education Degree Database) can be connected directly to the student record systems at most/all UK HEIs so that enquirers can verify the degree qualifications of graduates.
Biii The RMAS project will procure, develop and implement a shared research management and administration service (RMAS), which will embody the best processes for research management and administration, whilst maintaining the capability (through open systems architecture) to interface with a university's existing finance and administrative systems. Led by The University of Exeter with The Universities of Sunderland and Kent, RMAS will provide cloud-based modules to support the management and administration of a university's research programme from pre-award through to post award using the ESB developed by the STEP-F project.
Biv A service to support electronic resource management. Run by JISC Collections, this service will include support for the management of licensing information for libraries and the resources they provide.
Bv A service for the secure distribution of electronic documents. Led by Liverpool John Moores University, Project DARE (Digital Academic Records Exchange) will deliver a system for the secure on-line delivery of degree certificates, transcripts, Higher Education Achievement Reports and other student data and documents as a Shared Service. The proposed service will be suitable for deployment as Software as a Service on a hosted cloud platform.