We (Andy, Amber, Balviar, David, James) are happy to announce that we are about to issue a new Grant-Funded Call for rapid innovation projects within the Information Environment on 6 March 2009. You’ll be able to read all the text about what money is available and the conditions for using it in more detail in the Grant but to give an overview of what we are looking for:
- Innovative projects that create a ‘something’ related to a user need from a named community. That something could be a new interface, a service that brings together existing services or a tool of some sort;
- The scope is quite simply something that is within the Information Environment (see: http://www.jisc.ac.uk/whatwedo/themes/informationenvironment.aspx for definition). We are not being overly prescriptive;
- The projects should be up to six months in length and between £15,000 and £40,000;
- The documentation for everything in the Call is going to be kept lightweight so we can keep the focus on solutions to user needs rather than filling out forms. We’re just looking for five pages in the bid and the project documentation is going to be kept to blogs or wikis so we know what you’re aiming to do and how you are getting on with achieving it but you don’t spend hours telling us about it;
- The approaches should be agile or open. We’d like to see early engagement with users and for that engagement to be kept up so what is produced responds to their needs and is user-led rather than technology-led.
The drivers for this grant have come from a number of different directions:
- dev8D (http://dev8d.jiscinvolve.org/) proved to be very successful in getting users and developers together to create innovative solutions to user needs. We felt we should be doing more of this in the Information Environment;
- Whilst we recognise that certain big central services such as the UK federation could and should be provided by JISC, we also recognise that there needs to be funding for smaller, lighter tools, services and interfaces that help users achieve their goals;
- Whilst there is a place for bigger projects that involve senior managers, we feel that there is equally a place for projects where the bulk of the money goes to developers;
- The last few years have seen an increase in the development of lightweight solutions that respond rapidly to user needs across both the academic and commercial sectors.
We’re looking forward to seeing what bids come back. This forms the perfect opportunity for:
- Those who have bid for funding before and would like funding to try out new areas where we may not want to fund via a big project;
- Those new to JISC who would like to dip their toe in the water and try a smaller JISC project before going for something bigger;
- Developers who have good ideas that they might not have quite enough time to fully develop within their normal schedule;
- Technical managers who may want to have funding to ‘try out’ new members for their team on a student placement basis, for example.
The tag for discussion on this rapid innovation Call is jiscri. Please use this if you’re commenting on the Call via Twitter or posting on other blogs and social media about it so we can easily gather all those comments together and learn and respond as we go along. Subscribe to the JISC-ANNOUNCE list at www.jiscmail.ac.uk to get notified about this or other funding opportunities from JISC or go along to http://www.jisc.ac.uk/fundingopportunities.aspx on 6 March to get the call.