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Publication - Minutes

Research Data Scotland (RDS) Transition Board minutes: September 2020

Published: 7 Dec 2020
Directorate:
Digital Directorate
Part of:
Public sector
Date of meeting: 29 Sep 2020
Date of next meeting: 17 Nov 2020

Minutes of the Research Data Scotland (RDS) Transition Board held on 29 November 2020.

Published:
7 Dec 2020
Research Data Scotland (RDS) Transition Board minutes: September 2020

Attendees and apologies

Attendees:

  • Roger Halliday - Chair
  • Nicola Kerr
  • Carole Morris
  • Mark Parsons 
  • Jill Pell
  • Alan Ferrier
  • Alessia Morris
  • Angela Daly
  • Carol Sinclair
  • Albert King
  • Neil Rawlins – minute taker  
  • Chris Dibben
  • Corri Black
  • Phil Couser

Items and actions

Actions

  • Transition Board meeting notes and actions to be published on the RDS website - NR
  • Production of an updated Delivery Plan/Route Map for the next meeting - NK
  • Questions raised over future RDS future finances to be further investigated and reported on - MM/PW
  • OBC to be submitted to Ministers for approval - AM/PW
  • Work with partners turn consideration of the Discovery Report into a prioritised Service Delivery Plan, to include who, how, and how it is to be governed - LA
  • A representative from the University of Dundee be sought to join the Board - AM/NK
  • All Task and Finish groups to have ToR and published memberships - AM/NK
  • Further sources of funding to be sought and conversations to be held with ministers- RH
  • Needs of the RSH and NSH and their relationship with RDS to be further investigated - NK

Welcome and introductions

The chair led the welcome and introductions.

Action one:

  • transition Board meeting minutes and actions to be published on RDS website

Progress report

  • highlights report – paper A
  • key risks and issues – paper B
  • updated Integrated Delivery Plan – paper C

A brief summary account of the three papers and then floor opened the discussion and comment. A paper had been presented to the UoE Policy and Resources Committee regarding UoE membership of RDS which had been approved. This paves the way for approval by the University Court in November. A question was asked about the Delivery Plan, as it would give a sense of what is happening – there is a lot to do and the Board need to know how to get to that point. It was noted that the route map should include demonstration projects and these could be added as part of the Communications strategy.

Action two:

  • production of an update delivery plan/route plan for the programme

It was noted that a meeting was to be held regarding the position of PHS membership and the legal footing for its participation within RDS.

RDS financial work for OBC – paper D 1-3

There was a brief update on the financial situation and funding bids including the three financial papers circulated previously and comments invited. It was noted that there was a risk incoming partners would have concerns about RDS not being a sustainable organisation long term. It is important to assess whether this position would be a challenge for potential partners. It was noted that the FBC needed to develop the benefits of RDS and put costs into context. It was noted that the altruistic theme needs to run strongly through the FBC. A question was asked about efficiencies and if the modelling had been done on historic costs of projects and would efficiencies offset that. Additionally it was asked if the modelling showed a £400,000 SILC deficit, and who was paying for that now. It was noted that the figures are historically based on numbers of project eDRIS achieved, but are increased over the next five years based on changes on demand and that includes an increase in projects. There may be the potential for efficiencies and increased fees. With regard to the SILC deficit, SILC currently breaks even, however the £400,000 deficit will happen as historic funding falls away. 

It was noted that the challenge for funding under SILC was because of the many different  funding routes that had to be followed and lack of clear accountability. With regard to RDS costs, a range of funding routes were available. However, the group noted that there remains the challenge of identifying a funder of last resort. It was also asked how many of the costs were essential and really needed, for example, the Comms budget lines. It was also important to consider if staff need to be in an office or homeworking/flexible working is an option. With regard to the Comms costs, it was observed the RDS website and outward focus would need a Comms resource to manage it.

Action three:

  • answers to be provided to the funding questions raised

It was asked what the optimal model for eDRIS was – nothing in eDRIS is core funded and therefore it is an important opportunity to consider the core funding for eDRIS and the role of the various founding partners. There was a brief update on the eDRIS position. It was noted that the government would get a lot back for its investment. It was noted that the ToM model would dictate staffing levels. The Chair then made the proposition that the Board should approve the OBC subject to addressing the caveat and issues identified and that it should then be put to Ministers. The proposition was approved by the Board.

Action four:

  • OBC to be put to Ministers for approval

Discovery report – papers E – F

As Lesley Allen was unable to make the meeting and discuss the Service Design with the Board, the chair led the discussion. It was noted that RDS Service Design was about making the system better, more trusted and less bureaucratic. The questions include what are the priorities for development, and, within the appendices this is to have a better system, including the ambition that 80% of requests are met within four weeks. The chair noted that a Service Development route map was required, but asked the Board its thoughts as to what is missing from the report, if there were any priorities or it had any questions.

From the eDRIS prospective, what are the next steps and how to progress from here and how to break down the journey: there is the progress of projects and mini projects underneath this. There is a need to examine data management, metadata etc. and explore and tie up with the ADR work. It was noted that RDS is needing to lead on what is not in play, for example the metadata catalogue. The challenge will be how to manage users better to get better value for public money. The chair noted an example of this and where RDS would add efficiencies and value would be when five researchers asked a similar question.  

Action five:

  • Lesley Allen to work with partners to turn these discussions into a prioritised Service Delivery Plan, to include who, how and how it is to be governed

Joint working and planning across other programmes – paper G

The chair noted that a number of Task and Finish groups were already working and reporting directly into the Board in some guise and that the Board should make sure it has representation by the RSH. It was also noted that a NSH strategy and development was needed. This should include infrastructure, for example virtual machines and capabilities within the safe havens. It was noted that it was not all about funding, as resources/people assets are required to direct and check that user needs are being delivered. This is also linked into how to interact with the RSH.

Action six:

  • a representative from the University of Dundee be sought to join the Board

Action seven:

  • all Task and Finish groups to have ToR and published memberships

Action eight:

  • further sources of funding to be sought and conversations to be held with Ministers

A discussion into the analytical environment offering across the NSH and RSHs was held and it was noted that ways are needed to understand user need and that a person or organisation was needed to lead this work and bring it all together. It was noted that this was closely linked to the analytical workbench project, but user groups need to be identified and we should be mindful of the complexity of this as it increases costs. It was noted that it also adds to security issues. The chair asked if Gyda Carmichael from SG could scope this out.

Action nine:

  • needs of the RSH and NSH and their relationship with RDS to be further investigated

AOB

There was none.

Date of next meeting and close 

17 November 14.00 – 15.30