Financial Services Innovation Centre - Doctoral Theses

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    A critical realist investigation of collaborative research proposals in Information Systems: towards a guiding deliberation canvas
    (University College Cork, 2021) McCarthy, James B.; Adam, Frederic; Murphy, Ciaran
    This study is focused on the information flows, communication mechanisms, and review processes that take place around the proposal phase of a research project. The study included a survey plus six focus groups with the research offices of five universities plus one large research institute. Two of these universities are based in Ireland, two in the UK, plus one in Belgium. All universities are deemed as research intensive universities. This study employs a critical realist approach based on the exploration of the literature, the survey data, and insights from the focus groups. The critical realist approach used in this study is an example of how critical realism can be applied to a mixed methods project that includes an empirical study allied to feedback from focus groups. Important findings from the survey suggested that the perceived lack of time to be the biggest barrier for researchers to engage in research proposal development. This was followed by the challenges of internal administration and bureaucracy when getting involved in research projects. The next biggest challenge was the lack of knowledge and skills which prevented their engagement with interesting research calls or topics. One finding of the empirical study suggested that researchers are more concerned with winning funding for their research project first, with research and science as a secondary motivator. The study also produced the Stages, Phases, and Gates During Scientific Collaboration model (SPG) which builds a more comprehensive process view of the research lifecycle. This model contributes to the existing body of knowledge by combining stage-gate concepts to match the rule driven environment in use by research offices in universities, major collaborative funding bodies, and industry partners. Additional contributions include the development of the Research Deliberation Canvas (RDC) which promotes a more inclusive and structured approach to the early stages of a research proposal as well as promoting a more intrusive and engaging approach to reviews of the proposal with the PI, research collaborators, and especially the research office of the university. The inclusion of difficult questions regarding the strength and suitability of the proposal raise the touchy question whether it is advisable to continue with the effort if there is little chance of success. The focus groups suggested that utilising a canvas approach in the review process could facilitate the development and sharing of best practises within the research office and with researchers. Furthermore, it was suggested that there was potential benefit to leveraging the RDC as a training aid for academics new to research.
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    An autoethnography of trusted data governance with a focus on food data
    (University College Cork, 2018) Costello, Jim; Feller, Joseph; Sammon, David
    Trusted data is today as topical as it is elusive. Data governance is, or should be the guide to trusted data. However, as the world of data grows at an unprecedented rate, the clarity on its accuracy, appropriateness and authority remains a constant challenge for most users. Research suggests that just 3% of firms have confidence that their data meets basic quality standards. Some frameworks exist for data governance but this study expands beyond the boundaries of those models to include the data community, the data governance processes and the evolving technology governance. It then presents a novel and comprehensive framework for trusted data governance emerging from a food sector research case. Irish produced food, mainly dairy products, beef and lamb and its related consumer products, is amongst the premium food brands in the world and is growing every year to meet the demands of a global population which continues to grow and demand safe and quality food. Ours was a sunset industry from the darkest days of the famine era in the 19th century when our farmers could not produce what our population needed to survive, to a supplier to Europe at war in the early 20th century and primitive production and food chain systems in post independent Ireland from the 1920’s to the 1970’s when Ireland joined the European Union. Now Ireland produces over twelve times what our population needs. The industry is worth over €25 billion annually to the economy, we export €11 billion and the industry employs 230,000 people on the approximately 140,000 farms and the related service industries around it. The average farm size is just 32.5 hectares but it is now a modern food eco-system with some of the leading practices in the world and a leader in sustainable grass based production systems providing high quality, sustainable and tasty produce. At the heart of this great growth story is a well-run and managed industry that depends on data to promote and protect the industry. I ran the company, SWS that helped to build many of these data systems over the last twenty years. This thesis presents an autoethnography of my experience in SWS focusing on how these trusted data systems evolved over the twenty-year period. The research method is underpinned by a strong methods paper in Chapter 2. Chapters 3, 4 and 5 take us through a people, process and technology perspective on the evolution of these systems as Chapter 3 examines the community governance, Chapter 4 researches the data governance and Chapter 5 studies the technology evolution over the programme. Each of these chapters presents a number of significant research contributions. To conclude, Chapter 6 brings the research together and proposes a “New Framework for Trusted Data Governance”.