The Orbital project will build on recent JISC-funded work at the University of Lincoln to develop, test and implement a state-of-the-art research data management infrastructure, piloted with the first purpose-built School of Engineering in the UK in over 20 years. Working with the challenging requirements of our Engineering research staff and their industry partners, we will apply our experience and understanding of developing university-wide data-driven services to the implementation of a personalised, scalable, resilient and secure research data infrastructure.

We initially intend to apply a proven approach to the management of institutional data, through the proposed use of MongoDB (a very fast, flexible, schema-less database technology), to create flexible services for capturing, storing, preserving and sharing research data in real time across internal research groups and with external research partners via secure, public APIs made available on our existing service. A personalised web interface for specific researcher profiles and a public discovery interface will also be developed.

To sustain and broaden the use of this technical infrastructure across the university, we will ensure that the appropriate institutional policy is developed and approved as well as a programme of training and support for academic staff and research students. The project team will include users in the School of Engineering and their external research partners as well as staff from the Centre for Educational Research and Development (CERD), the Library and the university’s Research and Enterprise Office, ensuring a very strong and committed project team.

We intend to build on our previous work around the deposit, management and access to university research as well as further existing work in which we are building a platform for data-driven services at the university.

Throughout this undertaking, we aim to improve our understanding of the issues around research data management; develop the requisite skills among the university community to better manage research data; re-use and develop some of the underlying tools we have built to provide an institution-wide service for the ingest, description, preservation and dissemination of research data; improve the way we work on such projects, refining our use of agile methods; build capacity for the local development of academic technologies at the university; develop and implement appropriate institutional policy for the deposit, management and sharing of research data; and develop a Business Plan for the university for the long-term sustainability of our research data.