THE ISGLOBAL PROJECTS UNIT: AN INTEGRATED APPROACH OF SCIENCE COORDINATION AND ADMINISTRATION
How to align science and management after the merge of three institutions
Topic: Organising Support Services & Team Building
The Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) mission is to improve global health and promote health equity. ISGlobal approach is multidisciplinary, ranging from the molecular to the population level and including disciplines across health sciences, life sciences, environmental, social and climate sciences. It is the result of a large integration process of three previously existing research and translation centers of excellence (CRESIB, CREAL and ISGlobal) which was completed in 2016.
Regarding the research and scientific coordination, and the grants management, the previous projects offices of CREAL and CRESIB went through an integration process, involving 1) an analysis of the structures, processes and resources at that time, 2) an analysis of the internal satisfaction surveys, and 3) and a benchmarking analysis, including several national and international institutes. As a result of this process, an integrated approach was proposed: the ISGLOBAL PROJECTS UNIT. The Terms of Reference of the Projects Unit were approved by the Direction Committee in December 2016, as a hierarchically dependent structure both from the Scientific Director and from the General Manager, guaranteeing that science and administration are completely aligned.
The Projects Unit includes two offices: 1) the Office for Coordination and Research Management; in charge of scientific and strategy coordination, development and implementation of institutional and scientific internal policies, research integrity and ethics, and quality; and 2) the Grants Office, which provides personalized and anticipatory support to identify and successfully approach the more relevant funders and funding opportunities, and supports researchers and other teams in the preparation and submission of proposals and the follow up of awarded project and fellowships. The key members of the Unit meet weekly to coordinate, plan and review the main activities at the Projects Unit Coordination Committee.
The Unit works closely with i) the HHRR area to support the development of the HRS4R accreditation logo and implement procedures that reinforce internationalization, career development, promote gender equality and foster social responsiveness; ii) the ISGlobal teams to prepare grants submissions including costing, management and ethical issues and to provide support to sponsored projects including contracting, financial reports and audits. Since its approval, the Projects Unit has been positively evaluated by the Direction Committee (July 2019) and has received competitive funds (~0.5M€) to deploy its strategy during the period 2019-2023, especially the preparation for the new EU framework programme, Horizon Europe.
Thanks to the unique expertise of each office, the Projects Unit provides high-value management support to researchers and becomes a key element within the institutional strategy to promote its international leadership.