New dashboard adds to ASU’s research toolbox
Based on the principle that “more information can make us stronger competitors,” ASU’s Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Affairs has launched a new and improved version of its research dashboard.
The new research dashboard, which launched Feb. 14, is an improved version of an executive information system that can assist ASU deans, chairs and other administrators in tracking externally sponsored projects activity within their units and across all of ASU. The new research dashboard builds on its predecessor that provided graphical display of proposal, award and expenditure activities. The new research dashboard also provides 12- and 36-month trending information.
“We now have a tool to make our research activities more visible to faculty and administrators,” says R.F. “Rick” Shangraw, the university’s vice president for research and economic affairs. “This visibility will improve researcher’s collaboration across disciplines, provide us with an ability to track our research growth and help us understand trends in our research portfolio.
“Administrators will have rapid access to information about research proposals, awards and expenditures. They can use this information to benchmark their current performance against the past.
“Faculty will be able to review overall performances of their departments, schools or colleges in terms of research efforts. Faculty also will be able to find research activity for different sponsoring organizations and for specific ASU research centers.”
Data represented on the new research dashboard comes from ASU accounting efforts, says Steve Beguin, management research analyst senior in the PRIDE (Promoting Research Identification, Development and Execution) group. PRIDE worked with the University Technology Office on the new dashboard. For the first time, data from Research and Sponsored Projects, the Technology and Research Initiative Fund (TRIF) and ASU Foundation funded research are integrated into one reporting system.
“This will be the single source of truth” for ASU-sponsored research data, Beguin says.
The new dashboard can provide the research data from various levels. It provides the user with overall university performance in research proposals, research awards and research expenditures. From there, a user can drill down into colleges, departments, centers and individual investigators.
The new research dashboard provides additional performance metrics that allow a more comprehensive understanding of ASU’s externally funded research. It provides the dollar value of research activities, the average size, total number and number of participating investigators for each stage in the ASU’s research pipeline.
It also provides data on a monthly, fiscal year-to-date and a rolling 12-month basis. This new presentation of ASU’s research activities provides relatively high-frequency measures of performance that smooth the high volatility of the monthly data and addresses seasonal variations in research productivity, Beguin says.
He adds that this results in performance measures that provide significantly improved means of measuring and monitoring trends in the growth ASU’s research portfolio.
The dashboard is current to the latest month of data. When launched, research dashboard had January 2008 data in its system.
In addition to the 12-month rolling total, the new dashboard provides 36-month trending data in graph form, which shows rolling sums and average research activities. Shangraw says this feature allows people to see where their goals are, and how they are doing in reaching those goals.
“We now have the means to get very detailed snapshot of our research activities at any point throughout the year,” Shangraw says. “This will help us calibrate against our goals and help us identify areas where we may need to provide some assistance.”
Beyond the numbers
Shangraw says the new research dashboard will provide more than just performance numbers for research. He says it will help foster collaborations among ASU researchers competing for research dollars held by funding agencies.
“For mission federal agencies and some industrial sponsors, it is often helpful to know who at ASU has proposed or been awarded a grant or contract,” Shangraw says. “Previous bidders or current award holders can provide invaluable insight about how a sponsoring organization works.”
While this new version of research dashboard will provide more utility to ASU faculty and staff, it is not the last version. Beguin says another phase of research dashboard is being planned and should be available later this semester.
In the meantime, he is asking faculty and staff members across ASU to check into research dashboard and see if it works for them. He is asking anyone who comes across any discrepancies in data or has additional recommendations to report them to PRIDE@asu.edu.
To get to the research dashboard, visit the Web site http://dashboard.asu.edu and click on “Sponsored Research.” An ASUrite ID and password is needed to gain access.