Discover and share good practice for smarter working universities

Making better use of spare lab capacity

An online tool that has been described as Airbnb for laboratories is enabling researchers for private sector firms in the USA to buy time in university laboratories with spare capacity, the Economist reports.

Productive efficiencies in higher education – three case studies

These case studies were selected from the report ‘Making the best better – efficiency and effectiveness in higher education’, produced by Sarah Jackson of the N8 Research Partnership on secondment to BIS.
Bottles in a lab

Raising the return – how do we do it?

In the final blogpost in our series on asset sharing, Sarah Jackson and Luke Georghiou say that despite the progress in this area, more work must be done to deliver full benefits.
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Jisc’s shared data centre boosts research efficiency

Jisc has developed a shared data centre for the UK’s academic research when others have tried unsuccessfully before. In this blog post, Jisc's Phil Richards explains the secret behind the project's success and shows how it is already boosting research efficiency for the founding members.
Peter Simpson, director of N8

Peter Simpson of N8: ‘deep collaboration is now the norm’

The N8 group of northern universities has a new director, Dr Peter Simpson. We caught up with the former AstraZeneca department head who nurtured collaborative projects at the pharmaceutical giant to find out his plans to encourage collaboration in higher education.
Scientist using electron microscopy equipment

The future for sharing

Professor Sir Ian Diamond’s report on efficiency in higher education highlighted universities’ achievements in asset sharing and called on them to build on this work. Rosie Niven rounds up the views of leading thinkers in the sector around the future of sharing and collaboration in research.

Deal improves access to cloud and high performance computing for scientists

Researchers are beginning to rely on cloud computing to drive breakthrough science at breakneck speeds. An agreement between Jisc and Amazon Web Services in the UK makes it possible for all scientists to have their very own supercomputers in the cloud.
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What are the real efficiencies from sharing equipment?

If sharing is largely collaborating then are we collaborating as much as we can? Or are we focussed on the need to collaborate more when actually such activity is fully optimised? Therefore is the question we should really be asking ourselves: “How can we become more efficient?” We have always needed partnering for knowledge or resource reasons, and we will continue to have these needs, possibly procured in more efficient processes. However, the business processes and support for our research equipment is where there is a real potential for more efficient and effective practice. Read more of this article in the July equipment.data e-newsletter.

Equipment sharing: how to make an impact (and evidence it)

Dr Hamish McAlpine from the University Bath and Dr Steve Trowell from the University of Exeter talk about the simple steps we can take to become more efficient in how we support equipment through its life. These steps are also very amenable to measurement, offering the opportunity to benchmark and improve over time.
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Northern 8 Universities (N8) equipment sharing toolkit launched

The N8 Equipment Sharing Toolkit (EST) was launched in February 2014 at the University of Manchester. Sarah Fulton from the University of Sheffield explains the open and collaborative process behind the project's success.