Progress on the Kit-Catalogue Project

14 Apr

I’m excited to report that the JISC Kit-Catalogue Project is gathering a great deal of momentum within Loughborough University at the moment.  It’s only a 9 month project, so to have this amount of interest at the start is a huge bonus for me as the Project Manager.  I get the feeling, that once the updated software is released into the Open Source community in June /July time, we’re going to be pleasantly surprised by the interest from other institutions too.

The project has a great deal of support from Professor Rachel Thomson, the Director of the Materials Research School here at Loughborough University.  She was the proposer of the original engCETL project back in 2007 and has really driven the cataloguing of some 800 items of kit so far.  In my experience, when these IT projects can be seen as solutions to real academic problems rather than just another IT tool, the chances of success greatly increase.  The main outcome of this project is not in fact the software but hopefully a change in attitudes to sharing and maximising the use of current laboratory or workshop equipment to enable a more sustainable campus.

Inevitably, when the outcome requires a change in attitude by individuals or change in culture a great deal of effort is required in *selling* the idea to potential adopters and the most effective and efficient way of doing this is starting at the top.  Prof Thomson has been fantastic at promoting our project to the other Directors of the Research Schools and the Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research.  It has also been mentioned to the EPSRC in meetings and with colleagues outside the University.  This has resulted in the funding for additional summer placement students to add even more effort in developing the catalogue of equipment.  Our project had budgeted for just one student, however, with this additional support from more Research Schools it is looking like we can fund another 4.  This is fantastic for the project!

Our project is also incredibly luckily in having Dr Anne Mumford chairing the Steering Committee.  Anne is the University’s Director of Change Projects and is involved in the University’s major Environmental Sustainability project, where Anne is working with many colleagues on campus to make a step change in our approach and to ensure the University works strategically across research, enterprise, the curriculum and operations.

If you are from another institution and think you may be interested in the Kit-Catalogue system please drop us a line!

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