Commissioned Software Programme
OMII-UK identifies gaps in the provision of e-Research software and commissions developers to produce software accordingly. A budget of around £2.5M was provided for commissioning the development of software. Projects are not limited to the development of software services or tools, but could include improving the quality of current software or the integration of OMII-UK tools and services into other applications.
OMII-UK may only fund certain work items from a proposal. We are not able to fund general research activity, nor are we likely to fund the development of new prototypes. We are interested in funding the hardening of advanced research prototypes that have already demonstrated uptake within the e-Research community so as to accelerate their adoption by a wider user base. We generally expect the work that we fund to be open-source and to be accessible to other developers within the community - both during and after our funding. Typically, projects will be 12 months in length and might involve 24 person months of effort. Longer and larger projects may be funded if justified but this will be the exception rather than the norm and a strong case will have to be made.
Informal enquires and 'letters of intent' about the work may be made to Neil Chue Hong, OMII-UK's Director. Completed proposals should be sent to Gill Schofield. Applications may be made by non-UK based development groups but substantial engagement and benefit to the UK community will have to be made. It is expected that these groups will be experienced in producing high-quality software using open-source development methodologies.
Types of proposal
There are two types of proposal that can be funded by OMII-UK: responsive and response to calls. Responsive proposals are based on the submitter identifying a gap in the provision of e-Research software that meets with OMII-UK's business plan. Response to call proposals are proposals that are submitted after OMII-UK has announced funding that is available for developers that can provide a specific functionality that OMII-UK have identified.
Letter of IntentFollowing an initial discussion, you will be asked to provide a letter of intent describing the proposed work in more detail (approximately a single A4 page in length). The letter of intent should clearly identify: * the scope and functionality of the work, * the benefits to the identified user communities, * the motivating use cases or applications that will be used for testing, * the expected delivery milestones.
The proposed work will be reviewed internally by OMII-UK and by external experts and user communities to ensure the work will have broad applicability and relevance. We may be very proscriptive as to the type of development that we will support and how the work will be undertaken. These Commissioned Software Projects are effectively subcontracted software engineering and development work (not speculative research projects) and will be closely monitored for satisfactory progress if funded.
Key to all proposals will be their ability to demonstrate how they satisfy requirements from our user community that are not being met, and cannot be sourced elsewhere. Proposals submitted to OMII-UK to develop software will need to identify any incremental benefits the proposed work has over existing work. The current adoption and maturity of any prototypes of the proposed software should also be described, and how the proposed work will improve the quality and capability of the software, Proposers must explicitly state what support arrangements will be in place for the deliverables on project completion. OMII-UK encourages work with standards bodies. Proposers are expected to be cognisant and compliant with relevant standards, and where possible involved in the standardisation process. The project proposal must be submitted using this template and cover sheet. This also provides guidance on what is required for each section.
Submitted proposals are assessed by OMII-UK and any independent reviewers by:
- Evidence of established user need
- Real end-users in a production environment
- Recognised as a priority by user community
- Essential component as recognized by OGSA, JISC e-infrastructure
- Potential for re-use in other projects
- Track record
- Evidence of ability to deliver
- Industrial support
- Resources and skills
- Estimates and profile of effort
- Resources available with pre-requisite skill
- Open source with OSI approved licence
- Project planning (e.g. risk & interdependency)
- Adherence to documented development, testing and deployment standards
- Functional requirements achievable within given resources
- Not re-inventing the wheel (is there competition?)
- e-Science awareness
- Conformance and compliance
- Fits with OMII-UK's vision
- Developed to open standards
- Design and quality
- Fit for purpose (including user engagement)
- Performance and scalability criteria
- Reliability & maintainability
- Based on work of high technical quality