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Future Ready Research Teams: Are we there Yet?

Mr Malcolm Wolski,
Dr Joanna Richardson, Dr Michelle Krahe

Griffith University

In its annual scoreboard, the OECD (2017) has outlined how digital transformation is affecting science, innovation, the economy, and the way people work and live. However, in a recent survey across a wide range of industries, Fitzgerald et al. (2014) found that 63% of respondents said the pace of technology change in their organisation was too slow. Concurrently, other researchers have found that the commitment to digital transformation weakens below the executive leadership level, and leaders struggle to understand and engage in the operating changes required in the fast-changing digital era. Hence the need to look further down the management layers to gauge how much progress is being made.

According to Galanek and Brooks (2018), the current focus of higher education IT in relation to faculty tends to be on its role in supporting learning, teaching, and students. As a result, “we open pay
far too little attention to the role of technology in faculty research” (p. 3). As the European Commission (2012, p. 5) states: “Every researcher should become digital, know how to bene t from technologies for scientific purposes, use relevant tools for tackling grand challenges of today through computing and data-driven research approaches, and bene t from worldwide connections and collaborations.”

So, within the institution, how does management measure a research team’s progress along this digital transformation path to ensure they reach the point where they are future ready, with the capability to adapt to an evolving digital reality? More importantly, what role can support services play in assisting research groups to adapt?

A review of the literature has highlighted issues regarding digital capability in the research space. While there has been some attention paid to the individual researcher skills level, no conceptual framework could be found applicable at the research team level that assesses whether they are future ready. From knowledge gained from the literature, the authors have proposed a capability assessment framework of the future-readiness of research teams, of which the domains are Governance, Information Management, Technology Adoption, Analytics and Process Agility.