CRAG Research Office Benchmarking Project

In May 2011 Higher Ed Services (HES) via its Collaborative Research Administrators' Group (CRAG) launched the CRAG Research Office Benchmarking Project.

The purpose of the Research Office Benchmarking Project is to assist participating universities compare their processes and practices with others in Australia and to identify leading practices that can lead greater efficiencies in the delivery of services to researchers through optimal support staffing structures, systems and executive reporting. Data will be confidentially aggregated and deidentified to produce a combined report with recommendations for all participating universities, and individual reports will be produced for each university.

The CRAG member universities currently participating in the Benchmarking Project pilot are: ACU, Deakin, ECU, CQU, Notre Dame, SCU, UNE and UWS. All Australian universities are welcome to get involved and benefit from the combined outcomes of the Project.

A Benchmarking Working Party (BWP) was established. The BWP developed the parameters and scope for the Project and an electronic Research Office Benchmarking Survey was developed.

The Survey included questions in the following areas of Research Office management and administration:

  • Staff FTE, head count, training and qualifications
  • Functional composition and organisation
  • Priorities, planning, policies and performance
  • Business processes and documentation (eg grants, ethics)
  • Data management systems and data collection processes

Project Timeline 2011- 2012

Pilot 2011

  • August-September: Survey distribution and data collection
  • October: HES analysis of data
  • November:CRAG BWP Pilot Group Workshop (all CRAG members)
  • December: Report on Phase 1 outcomes

National Benchmarking Exercise 2012

  • May - June: Survey distribution and data collection
  • July/August: HES analysis of data
  • August: Final Report Released to participating universities - Completed August 16 2012
  • Workshop: A proposed workshop to review this exercise is proposed for late 2012