• Jenn Hudgins

Getting Administrative Support for Initiatives

Updated: Feb 3

The Agricultural Research Institute (ARI) out of the California State University like many organizations has a small budget with big goals. Every budgetary item needs to be carefully considered as to how it supports the core mission of ARI, which is funding agricultural research initiatives in California.

ARI was considering buying an Engagement Hub through InfoReady Scale, a software license that would come out of the budget allocated for administrative expenses. The InfoReady Engagement Hub is a tool ARI could use to publicise their funding opportunities, resources, and events. If researchers and industry partners don’t know about ARI services, it restricts ARI’s ability to be an effective partner. ARI needed a cost effective way to increase awareness of ARI’s brand.

When Dr. David Still, Executive Director, California State University Agricultural Research was asked how administrative costs like software licenses can be justified when they aren’t part of the core mission, he spoke of an important responsibility of that mission, building awareness of ARI services. ARI strives to connect researchers to industry and he became convinced that the benefits of an Engagement Hub were worth the expense. Dr. Still knew that even with ARI’s long track record, ARI has funded over 900 competitions, opportunities were still being missed.

When considering a new purchase Dr. Still knows he himself needs to be convinced of value during the buying process, and understands that the same will hold true for colleagues and the board of directors. “Have a limited budget forces you to think creatively and judiciously” says Dr. Still. If Dr. Still wanted buy in, he needed to demonstrate potential value. He worked with InfoReady to mock up an example of what the ARI Engagement Hub and worked on presenting the Engagement Hub initiative to various stakeholders up to the board of directors.

Today the ARI Engagement Hub is the research marketplace that Dr. Still envisioned. It has current information on funding opportunities, resources for researchers and students, events, links to 42 industry partners, and an archive of the over 900 past funding opportunities.

To hear the full 15- minute interview with Dr. Still, including the steps ARI took to build consensus, go to CSU ARI Getting Administrative Support for Initiatives

To visit the ARI Engagement Hub go to csuari.inforeadyscale.com

To visit the ARI website go to https://www2.calstate.edu/impact-of-the-csu/research/ari