The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) is proud to have collaborated with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Directorate for Science, Technology and Industry and an international team of experts to provide a framework for managing national research infrastructures to meet their full potential. The OECD released a policy paper earlier this month called Optimising the Operation and Use of National Research Infrastructures, which resulted from this collaboration.
National research infrastructures are usually managed at the federal level and offer researchers from across their home country and internationally access to laboratories, data and equipment, and services such as testing and analysis. As they represent an increasingly large share of research investment globally, it is important that they be effectively managed.
The OECD paper provides a framework for managers to improve the use and operation of national research infrastructures. It makes several policy recommendations and includes two guiding models: one for portfolio management and one to improve user experience. These models identify the key principles of an effective portfolio management system for national research infrastructures and the factors that managers should consider to increase the number of users of their facilities or tools.
The OECD asked the CFI to join an international group of more than a dozen countries to write the paper. Over the course of a year, the CFI contributed valuable insights on how to improve the governance, efficiency and sustainability of research infrastructures.
For example, the authors of the paper used the CFI’s Major Science Initiatives (MSI) Fund as a case study to help organizations better operate their research infrastructures and exploit their scientific and technical capabilities.
The CFI invited several Canadian national research facilities — funded through the MSI Fund — to take part in the paper and to share their experiences and expertise. For instance, the paper uses The Centre for Phenogenomics (TCP) as an example of how users can access website data and how research infrastructure managers can rely on analytics to understand how that data is used.
Managers of the Canadian Light Source, Canada’s National Design Network, the Canadian research icebreaker CCGS Amundsen, Érudit, Ocean Networks Canada and SNOLAB joined TCP in sharing their best practices in the governance, management and operation of research infrastructures. The CFI thanks them for their contributions.