Before Christmas my colleague Marieke Guy and myself submitted a proposal to the JISC’s Greening ICT Programme. Our proposal was entitled GREEAT (GReening Events through Event Amplification Technologies). Unfortunately although the evaluators felt that the bid had many strengths, it was not funded.  A summary of the bid is given below.

The Strengths of the Proposal

In the feedback provided by JISC we were informed that the evaluator’s agreed with our view that the “question of amplified events and their role in reducing travel and those carbon emissions for the sector was acknowledged to be important“. In addition “the panel felt that [UKOLN] made the case well for (and obviously have immense experience in) the approaches you wanted to explore“.

We were also very pleased to have received 12 letters of support from a range of institutions, regional, national and international organisations with whom we have worked with over recent years and who appreciated the strength of our proposal and the benefits to those organisations and the higher education community in general.

We felt the bid would provide value for money for the JISC community since all universities are involved in delivering events and so could benefit from the outcomes of the project. 

The Weaknesses

However the evaluators were less impressed with the “amount of ‘greenness’ in the proposal“, and felt that the proposal “is not within the scope of this programme“. They also felt that there was “not enough attention being paid to the human factors“.

We were aware of the risk that our proposal, which addressed the greening of events through use of ICT rather than greening ICT per se, might have been regarded as out of scope for the call. However we were disappointed with the comments that the proposal that we did not intend to address the human factors associated with the provision of amplified events in sufficient detail, as this is an area which we do recognise as very important and have addressed in the past (for example we first began providing an Acceptable Use Policy covering use of networked technologies at events at IWMW 2005 and also ensured that we evaluated use of the networked technologies at the event).  In retrospect, though, we should have included more details of why this is important and how we would address the issues.  

A Summary of the Proposal

Our proposal was based on our involvement in the ‘amplification’ of events, making use of a variety of networked technologies (such as video streaming and Twitter back channels) to enhance the impact and maximise the outreach of events. Our work in this area dates back to use of an IRC back channel at UKOLN’s IWMW 2005 event. Since that event (when news of the London bombing first became known to the users of the back channel) we have been pro-active in the amplification of our annual Institutional Web Management Workshop series of events. 

In addition the proposal built on Marieke Guy’s experiences as a remote worker, which she describes in her Rambings of a Remote Worker blog (and the Remote Worker Award she announced back in September). 

The bid described how the project would:

  • Develop a methodology for establishing the carbon footprint for events.
  • Survey remote participants of amplified events in order to gather evidence of perceptions of the benefits of remote participation, limitations and suggestions on ways in which remote participation can be made more effective.
  • Support the provision and evaluation for amplified events at a number of institutional, regional, national and international events.
  • Support the provision and evaluation for a number of online events.
  • Develop guidelines for best practices for amplified and online events for the relevant stakeholders.
  • Provide advice on business models for the provision of amplified events.
  • Provide advice on risks associated with the provision of amplified events.
  • Provide advice on the human aspects associated with the provision of amplified events.

What Next?

Although the bid was not successful we will be continuing to make use of amplification technologies to support various UKOLN events, including IWMW 2010. As always we will try to share our experiences with the wider community, including the publication of further briefing documents of Networked Technologies at Events (which have been developed to support the cultural heritage sector).

And we’d welcome further discussions and comments on this topic.