NRSP_old1: National Information Management and Support System (NIMSS)
(National Research Support Project Summary)
NRSP_old1: National Information Management and Support System (NIMSS)
Duration: 10/01/2014 to 09/30/2017
Statement of Issues and Justification
How is the NRSP consistent with the mission?
NRSP-1 serves two critical functions for the State Agricultural Experiment Station (SAES) System. First, it supports the National Information Management and Support System (NIMSS). NIMSS was designed to facilitate the management of multistate research and Extension activities supported by the Hatch Multistate Research Fund (MRF), from conception of the proposal to project termination. NIMSS is a web-based application allowing: (1) online submission of proposals, peer reviews and progress reports, and (2) ready access to this information. An automated e-mail notification function prompts users to take action and sends out notifications for meetings and report deadlines. Researchers, Extension educators, stakeholders and other cooperators can search NIMSS for relevant and timely information related to multistate research projects. In addition, the public has access to research project outlines and impacts. NIMSS is now serving all of the 1862 and 1890 Land-grant institutions, allowing them to manage, in a totally paperless system, their multistate research portfolios. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) also uses NIMSS to download and integrate data into its management dashboard and pre-populate federal forms.
How does the NRSP pertain to a national issue?
The second important function that NRSP-1 serves is the communication of impacts of multistate research and Extension activities. The impact communications component of NRSP-1 enhances the visibility of Land-grant institutions and the success of the multistate research projects. Impact statements are prepared by a communications specialist at the termination of every project (approximately 60 per year) and are sent to: Administrative Advisors, Regional Executive Directors and their assistants, NIFA representatives and the ESCOP marketing agency kglobal. Administrative Advisors share the statements with project participants, partner trade associations, regulatory organizations, and other stakeholders. The impact statements are posted on the Regional Association websites and are also entered into the National Land-grants Impact Database (http://www.landgrantimpacts.org). They are used by NIFA staff in the preparation of reports and responses to Congressional and other inquiries. kglobal features the impact statements on the Ag Is America website (http://agisamerica.org/), and on the Ag Is America Twitter feed (reaching over 26,000 users) and Facebook page with about 4,000 followers. This relatively new component of NRSP-1 has been extremely effective and very well received within the Land-grant University system, its public and private partners, its stakeholders and the public in general. Collectively, the NIMSS database system and the impact communications program provide for open and transparent systems that enhance compliance and accountability for SAES.
Priority Established by ESCOP/ESS
The Experiment Station Section is entering into a three-year contract with Clemson University to redesign, host and maintain NIMSS. The first year will be focused on the redesign of NIMSS, while the following two years will provide ongoing maintenance and the opportunity to further enhance NIMSS. The NIMSS redesign will provide substantial direct benefits to administrators and staff of SAES, participating scientists, federal agencies, and many others utilizing this system. There will also be indirect benefits to the public through increased access to current activities and outcomes from the Multistate Research portfolio.
The contract with Clemson will be for the period October 1, 2014 to September 30, 2017. The NRSP-1 Management Committee requests that the current NRSP-1 be terminated effective September 30, 2014 and that this new project be approved for a three year period, October 1, 2014 to September 30, 2017, to correspond to the contract with Clemson. Approval of this request will allow the project to continue to provide critical research support services to the SAES system during the three year contract with Clemson. During the final year of this project, a new five year NRSP-1 project proposal will be developed to support the enhanced NIMSS and the impact communications programs.
Relevance to Stakeholders
Maintain and enhance the effectiveness and functionality of NIMSS and access and utilization of the NIMSS database.
More effectively document and communicate impacts of the multistate research activities.
- At any given time, there are about 300 active multistate research projects and activities recorded in NIMSS. At its peak period, NIMSS gets 28,000 hits per day, and an average of 15,000 hits per day during normal operations. Data transferred varied from 2GB to 4GB per day, during slow to heavy periods. New users register daily and the number of registered active, frequent users are recorded at over 11,000. NIMSS will continue to serve this clientele and the public during the project period, allowing for timely submission of proposals and reports, conduct of peer reviews, meeting notifications, participation and access to information in real time.
- In addition, new functionalities will be introduced in NIMSS to enhance access to and quality of information available to users. It is anticipated that participation will continue to be expanded to include those outside the Land-grant system, and will include additional federal and state partners, producers, commodity groups, foundations and foreign scientists. NIMSS will serve as an effective communication tool to share research data and hence, ease the application of new discoveries and technology transfer.
- Since its inception in 2002, NIMSS has been used to collect and store information on hundreds of scientists working in multistate projects in specific Knowledge Areas (KAs), Subject of Investigation (SOI) and Field of Science (FOS). NIMSS serves as a national repository of experts and their specializations. This capability will be explored further to build programs to analyze where expertise can be tapped to address national and regional priorities and to solve emerging problems.
- NIMSS will be transformed into an even more effective tool in reporting the accomplishments and impacts of agricultural research carried out by Land-grant institutions. This impact information will be used to prepare more effective impact statements from multistate research activities. The Impacts Communication Specialist will continue to refine and enhance the impact statements. More effective ways to communicate impacts will be developed to reach a broader audience. Timely and relevant impact stories will continue to be identified and targeted to popular press outlets such as newspapers (local and national), university publications, industry magazines, agriculture magazines and online news sites. These efforts will greatly enhance the visibility of the Land-grant universities and specifically demonstrate the return in public investment in the multistate research system.
General oversight, policy development, proposal preparation and budget recommendation will be provided by a Management Committee composed of: four Administrative Advisors, representing each of the four SAES regions; an ARD Director; a Cooperative Extension Director; the NIMSS Manager; the four Regional System Administrators; two director's administrative assistants who use NIMSS routinely; and two communicators/writers to advise the impact reporting program. The Administrative Advisors will elect one of their representatives to be the Lead Advisor and Chair of the Committee. NIFA will assign one or more non-voting representatives to the Committee.
NIMSS is managed by each of the Regional Associations serving the SAES. The Regional System Administrators handle the day-to-day tasks related to maintaining the system and answer queries from their users.
The WAAESD Office (WDO) provides coordination, editorial oversight, and physical space to the impact communications component of NRSP-1. The WDO also provides coordination between this effort and the ongoing efforts of ESCOP and ECOP (i.e., with kglobal, Cornerstone, the ESCOP/ECOP Communications and Marketing Committee, and the National Land-grant Impacts Database Project).
Funding for NRSP-1 will be provided through an off-the-top allocation from the Hatch Multistate Research Fund. NRSP-1 will provide important administrative support services to research administrators and staff, project participants and other users of NIMSS and the impact communication efforts. Funding for NRSP-1 is seen as an administrative expense and alternative sources of funding are not anticipated.
NRSP-1 was developed to facilitate the management and communication of the impacts of integrated research and Extension activities supported by the Hatch Multistate Research Fund. It supports all 1862 and 1890 Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension participants. The program can also accommodate integrated education activities as the need arises.
Input from SAES administrators and scientists on issues of policy, planning, and management of NRSP-1 is essential element in sustaining it as an effective support system. The approval of this NRSP provides the mechanism to support the representation of user interests and provide a forum to assess the effectiveness of the outreach of the NRSP-1 programs.
The Regional System Administrators will serve as the primary contacts and source of information and training for university administrators, program managers, investigators, business officers, and station staff using NIMSS.
The WDO will serve as the primary contact and source of information on the impact communications component.
The NRSP-1 Management Committee will serve as stakeholder representatives in addressing assessment issues and to help evaluate the effectiveness of outreach efforts. The representatives will be responsible for collecting information from the institutions in their respective regions or associations to reflect the effectiveness of the NIMSS and the impact communications programs in meeting their needs and objectives. The Committee will provide an annual report outlining the accomplishments of the previous year in support of the objectives at the ESS fall meeting. A copy of the report will accompany the annual budget request.