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Research Councils and Innovate UK look towards new Finance and HR solution

David Bicknell Published 26 September 2016

The organisations, which are merging to form UKRI, will need system for 7,750 users over three years, with potential for expanded digital services


The Research Councils and Innovate UK, which are due to merge to form a single UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) group, are looking to replace their HR and Finance transactional systems with a single integrated platform.

They are also considering a significant expansion in digital services by up to 100% by on-boarding users from other partner organisations into the new single platform.

HR and Finance transactional services for the Research Councils are currently delivered by UK Shared Business Services (UKSBS) using a system which is due to end in May 2018. Meanwhile, Innovate UK’s HR and Finance transactional services are run in-house and their payroll is outsourced to a third party.

The merger of the two organisations is now creating a primary requirement to replace these systems with a single platform that is both “scalable and relevant to an organisation of this size and complexity.”

The chosen supplier will also provide systems integration services to support the rollout of the product into the organisation across an estate of around 7,750 users and licences.

The expanded digital services would require the provision of software licences, though not the supply of systems integration services.

According to a tender, the initial cope of the delivery will be for nine partner organisations: Innovate UK; UK Shared Business Services (UK SBS) and the Research Councils UK (RCUK), consisting of the Arts and Humanities Research Council; the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council; the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council; the Economic and Social Research Council – ESRC; the Medical Research Council; the Natural Environment Research Council ; and the Science and Technology Facilities Council.

The estimated value range included in the OJEU notice for the tender - between £8m and £23m - is inclusive of an estimate for the options of extension and additional users.  The base requirement of software and system implementation for 7,750 users over three years is estimated to be worth below £9m with the additional options subject to additional spend approvals.  There is an option to extend the contract by two 12-month periods.

The establishment of UKRI follows the publication of the Nurse review of the research council system which included recommendations to: ensure applied research has a more directed approach and knowledge of relevant customer and market needs; provide multi-disciplinary proposals with a wider range of reviewer expertise; and the engagement of society and its elected representatives in the high level questions about the overall direction of science and research, such as the top level allocation of resources.

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