A sustainable future for the CONNECTED Network
CONNECTED was established with UK government Global Challenges Research Funding to build a sustainable network of multi-disciplinary international researchers tackling the problems caused by vector-borne plant viral diseases. Currently the network has over 1600 members in 94 countries. It has created a unique multidisciplinary network of researchers and plant health professionals and created a valuable collection of free research and training resources held securely within the CONNECTED website.
The current CONNECTED Network team are employed at the University of Bristol until the end of September 2023. To ensure both the immediate future and long-term sustainability of the CONNECTED Network we propose to pass on the leadership and network resources (website, membership directory, training resources and online tools) to a relevant stakeholder organisation.
Would your organisation be interested in hosting the CONNECTED Network? If so, please read on.
We have set out some FAQ below. If you would like further information please contact us firstname.lastname@example.org
- What is being handed over?
Website: The website is hosted independently, it is not affiliated to any particular institution.
Website content and resources: This includes the network membership directory anda wide range of resources including lab protocols and infographics. The Network team currently use an email marketing platform (Mailchimp) to communicate with members.
Vimeo channel with around 100 videos – scientific presentations, training films.
Social media – Twitter and Facebook accounts.
- How much does it cost to run CONNECTED?
Any organisation proposing to take on the CONNECTED Network must be able to support its ongoing basic maintenance costs. The costs below are based on current pricing, which may increase subject to changes by each company. The minimum cost associated with hosting the network are the costs of hosting the online resources. Costs associated with the web domain and hosting have been paid in advance until November 2027. After that it would cost approximately $1400 per year to host under the current arrangement. Ongoing web support/website changes are subject to additional costs to be negotiated directly with current IT company. An alternative option would be move everything to the new host’s website. The Vimeo channel costs around $250 per year. The current Mailchimp subscription costs around $450 per year. Social media and email accounts are free to run. The new host may wish to reduce or remove some of these services and costs.
- How much time does it take to run CONNECTED? How many people are needed?
Minimal day-to-day running of the network for example maintaining the website, answering queries, posting social media could be done by one person working approximately half a day per week. If there is a budget for activities, for example developing and running training courses, running pump prime research funding calls, online seminars, workshops or creating resources, then significantly more personnel time and experience will be required. The original Network team comprised 1 full-time Network Manager, an 40% time Communications Officer, 40% time Executive Assistant and 10% time Network Director to support this range of activities.
- Can CONNECTED be part of funding applications in the future?
It is hoped that the hosting of CONNECTED within a new organisation would enable the CONNECTED network to be named as a partner in future national or international funding proposals. The Network represents a valuable pool of international and multidisciplinary experts for dissemination, communication and stakeholder engagement.
- How will the handover work?
The Network team will work closely with the new host to ensure a smooth transition. We will update website to reflect the handover and conduct a communications campaign. The website company will support the Network team and assist whoever takes on the site.
My organisation is interested in hosting CONNECTED. What do I do?
Closing date: 28th July 2023
What happens next?
All applications will be reviewed by the Network team, Network Directors and the Management Board. The evaluation criteria will include: organisation area of expertise, the benefit of CONNECTED to the organisation, the value the organisation can bring to CONNECTED, ability to provide staff time and cover basic running costs, the vision for the long-term future and sustainability of the CONNECTED Network.
A final decision will be made in mid-August. It is envisaged that handover will take place in mid-September 2023.