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T2: Developing Sustainability and Impact Theme: Understanding Sustainability and Doing It Better

Debate with panel

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20 April 2010

Session Overview

This session will confirm what we mean by sustainability, as there are lots of different things that need to be sustained and lots of routes to achieve sustainability. It will allow us to answer the following essential questions:

  1. What are the types of project innovations that get sustained?
  2. What are the models and options (now and in the future) to making my project sustainable both within my institutions and beyond?
  3. How can JISC approach sustainability better?

 The first half of the session will be spent talking about project innovations that need to be sustained (software, services, people/communities and content) and the second talking about the ways that JISC (and other) projects have achieved sustainability.

Chair Charles Duncan will set the scene, then each panellist will briefly advocate their viewpoint and experience covering different aspects of what it means to be sustainable: content and business models, software and people, narrow and broad communities.

The second part of the session will raise a number of key issues and will encourage the audience to participate through a voting system that will allow everyone’s views to be included. The panel will respond to the audience votes and a lively discussion should ensue.

We will conclude by considering a number of options for how JISC can approach sustainability better. 

The session will be documented and outcomes will be fed into the development of a JISC Sustainability Toolkit, allowing the outcomes from this session to be sustained!

Session Chair

Charles Duncan

Charles Duncan is CEO of Intrallect Ltd, a company established 10 years ago to provide ongoing sustainability and development of several JISC projects. As well as having hands-on experience of the issues around funding sustainability while supporting and developing software and services he has also led a number of JISC projects including, most recently, an examination of the factors influencing  sustainability of software outputs from many JISC projects.


  •  Stuart Dempster, Project Director Strategic Content Alliance, JISC

Stuart Dempster directs the Strategic Content Alliance (Alliance) initiative. He is responsible for developing a range of research and policy projects to enrich the forthcoming UK Content Framework. The Alliance is building on the work of the Common Information Environment; working towards a common set of principles and guidelines for best practice that will provide a common policy framework for digital content activities across the domains of lifelong learning and teaching, research, and cultural heritage. Previously Stuart worked on digital library initiatives at the Wellcome Library, United News and Media and the Press Association.

  •  Neil Chue Hong, Director, Software Sustainability Institute

 Neil Chue Hong is the Director of the Software Sustainability Institute, and is responsible for running a national facility for research  software users and developers from all disciplines. He commissions consultancy and collaborative projects with different research groups to facilitate the self-sustainability of research software within the communities that develop and use it, making software useful for future generations of researchers by improving usability, maintainability and quality. Previously he was director of OMII-UK, which provides and supports free, open-source software for the UK e-Research community and managed several JISC projects.

  • Ross Gardler, OSSWatch

Ross Gardler is Vice President of Community Development at The Apache Software Foundation (ASF) and manager of JISC OSS Watch. Ross is a strong believer that community is more important than code. His work enables him to examine and understand approaches to sustainability through open development and open innovation in many different fields. Ross engages with and advises on community management in a wide range of projects from niche projects such as the Maavis and StudyBar accessibility tools, international educational and research collaborations such as Opencast Matterhorn and the Open Bioinformatics Foundation, open source spin outs from research projects such as Apache Wookie (Incubating) and Jena, software foundations such as the ASF and mixed closed/open source initiatives such as the Microsoft Biology Foundation. Ross is also chair of TransferSummit, an open innovation conference focussing on collaborative exploitation of intellectual property in software.

  • Richard Goddard - Freelance Trainer and Consultant

Richard Goddard is a freelance trainer and consultant, who now works in collaboration with colleagues in education at secondary, further and higher levels. He has a special interest in making online enhancement of learning available even to teachers and learners lacking advanced web skills. In 2005 he founded Learning Objectivity and was Project Manager on MrCute - a Moodle Repository system - in a joint project with Worcester College of Technology. MrCute won a Leadership Award at the IMS Global Learning Impact Confererence in Barcelona in May 2009. Mr Cute has been adopted by many institutions in the UK and abroad and is now available through

What can delegates expect to learn / gain / take away from the session?

A practical understanding and ideas, tips and contacts for sustaining project outcomes and exploiting results in new services, systems, processes and teaching, learning and research activities.

Who should attend?

  • Project leaders and innovation minded team members
  • Institution officers responsible for spin outs and ventures
  • Funding body senior managers officers concerned with increasing funding investment returns and impact
  • Innovation specialists
  • Suppliers entrepreneurs who see opportunities in JISC project results


1-02 & 1-03

Extra content

Embedded Content

Software Sustainability: Understanding Sustainability and Doing It Better

Software Sustainability: Understanding Sustainability and Doing It Better

added by Rebecca Galley


Richard Goddard
4:55pm 22 July 2010


I have a bee in my bonnet about ensuring that projects meet real user needs (or indeed user desires) so I'm looking forward to raising this during our session and hoping for some vigorous discussion!

Richard Goddard

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