IT is an essential aspect of top-level academic research and education. Where would contemporary researchers and their students be if there would be no safe ways to store, compute and exchange data? I feel happy and proud that through hard work the Information and Technology Services department has reached the next level. The feedback we are getting shows that this is acknowledged and appreciated.
Some highlights of the last year were the Research IT program, kick-off for the ITS Innovation Lab (an inspiring cooperation with UtrechtInc), and the foundation of the ITS Academy for Utrecht University employees. In addition, we transformed 50 percent of our written manuals into videos. And the MyUU app went live: students are happy that their schedules and grades are now on their smartphones.
Behind the screens, we worked hard on composing effective teams, focusing on users and their needs, and renewing the infrastructure for data transport. With the School of Pharmacy, we developed a technological environment to meet new requirements from the pharmaceutical industry. We also worked with the ChildResearchCenter on a big data project for monitoring the development of children from fetus through adolescence, a very motivating job. Making the data storable and accessible makes available a data gold mine for many years of valuable research.
We helped many colleagues with their specific IT issues, both at their request and at our invitation to share these issues with us. We have been able to make our department more user-focused, which has worked out well on all sides. One of the rewards for our work was that Utrecht University became a member of the iRODS platform for open-source software, and has been invited to host the first European iRODS congress.
There’s never a dull moment in IT. Changes are faster than ever, and as a department we will go on working as hard as we can to keep up with new developments. Cybercrime increases, and we must stay ahead of hackers and other people with bad intentions. We will therefore continue being proactive in our work, trying things, and being flexible. We will expand the ITS Innovation Lab, which has only just started. ‘Working lean’ will evolve from exchange with direct colleagues to tuning in to each step of the chain. And if you think we can do things better, please let us know. Off to the next level!
Carolien Besselink Msc
Director of IT