The year 2014, for the first time since the beginning of the financial crisis, has been a year when the “books have balanced”. This is due to all the measures implemented during the previous years and the growth experienced thanks to attaining greater income. The equilibrium reached has allowed the management team to concentrate its efforts on the continued improvement of the support that it offers to the entire scientific community, including core services, and the information that it provides to society through the various projects led by institute.
Amongst the most outstanding achievements in 2014, and to finalise the plan initiated in 2011, it is necessary to highlight:
- The reorganisation of the HR department that, broadly speaking, consisted of the following phases:
- The incorporation of a new HR chief who has reorganised the department in order to increase the quantity and quality of services offered to the scientific community.
- Change in the organisation of the HR unit, which has moved from Administration to Management.
- Development and launch of a schedule for implementing and achieving the targets set out in the Action Plan 2013-2015, approved and agreed when receiving the “HR Excellence in Research” logo in 2013.
- The department of Management & Information Control has continued to work with the all centre’s departments to achieve increased automation and the complete integration of all management information. To do this, various tools have been implemented, such as “Business Intelligence”, “Scientific productivity SFW”, “Tech transfer management SFW”, “Purchasing SFW” and “Days Sales Outstanding”. These have all been integrated using our information management tool.
- The ICT department has finished implementing the “Disaster Recovery Plan”, and has internalised the systems administration services, which were previously outsourced. This action has meant improved service, both in quality and quantity, and the professionalisation of the staff in the department, while at the same time costs have been reduced.
- Internationalisation of the management team. The management team has continued to actively participate in the working groups of the European alliances EU-LIFE and Core for Life.
- Additionally, with the Director’s agreement and approval of the Board of Trustees, a plan was initiated to find a replacement for the CEO, Marian Marrodán, after 14 years at the helm of the CRG. This plan was put into action during the fourth quarter through an external selection process, and the incorporation of the new CEO was planned for early 2015, with a transitional period to lessen the impact of the changeover.
Finally, and by way of conclusion, 2014 was a good year for the management team, which, thanks to the efforts made over the years and the spirit of continuous improvement, keeps on growing professionally for the benefit of everyone at the CRG.
During 2014, the services provided by the HR Department improved from the point of view of professional skills. Additionally, HR not only extended beyond the Administration Department but finally managed to become an independent department.
As a result, in 2014 the HR Department was divided into 2 subareas: Centre and Talent, each team specialising accordingly:
- HR Centre is dedicated to providing administrative services to the CRG personnel
- HR Talent has been specially created to deal with recruitment policies, talent management, training, immigration support for foreign employees, and to work on several HR Projects.
A new Head of HR and an HR Specialist were appointed in 2014 to support these changes and drive the deployment of the HR Strategy for Researchers Action Plan.
On 31st December 2014, the CRG employed a total of 437 people from 42 different countries.
In 2014 the restructuring of the Administration department was finalised, with Human Resources once again becoming a separate department, as planned. Transverse procedures were employed to improve efficiency not only in the Administration department, but also in others with whom we actively collaborate.
Corrective measures have been implemented to minimise the impact on cash flow caused by advanced payment of invoices that should be included in the reports of competitive projects.
Likewise, together with the legal area, a thorough analysis has been made of the possibility of carrying out public tendering and resolution of framework agreements for laboratory consumables.
Core Facilities Management Area
In 2013 and part of 2014, various different software were evaluated for managing the commercial area of the Core Facilities (access to and booking of facilities, quotes issuing, communication between users and the facilities, monitoring sample follow up, and so on). Currently all these aspects are managed separately and with different tools, and the aim is to unify them to provide a better and more comprehensive view for both the users and Core Facilities staff. Finally, the ideaElan software was selected. This software provides remote access (like SAS), and must be integrated with the current Oracle ERP to transfer the invoicing information. At present it is in the implementation phase and is expected to come into operation during 2015, once the planned testing phases with real users are complete.
The area organised its first round table on finances, which was attended by the main centres associated with CERCA (the institution that groups all research centres in Catalonia). The aim was to create a framework for dialogue, discussion and sharing of issues related to accounting, tax, and the management of core facilities. The meeting was a great success, with over 20 centres in attendance, represented by 40 participants. The initiative will continue with a new edition in March 2015, hosted by another of the associated centres.
Secretariat & Reception Area
Meetings of project consortia and projects were managed, including: 4DCellFate, FLIACT, Ingenium and EU-Life, with a volume of more than 800 visitors, representing an 85% increase with respect to the previous year.
In 2014, the use of the new scientific activity management tool, Fund@net, was maximised, facilitating the reporting and filing of the activities.
Information & Communication Technologies (ICT)
During 2014, the ICT department continued working to achieve its strategic plan, after adapting to the new organisation and the drastic reduction of operational costs in 2013.
The strategic projects included implementation of the infrastructure for a new backup-on-disk platform that has taken over the legacy backup-to-tape system; upgrade of Exchange Server 2010 to Unified Communications Server (Exchange Server 2013 plus Lync for IMS plus SharePoint). Also, the VMWare virtualisation platform has been enhanced to be fully redundant. At this moment all the critical IT services are redundant as data and servers are replicated between the primary and secondary data centres.
The RedIRIS antispam service, aka “Lavadora”, has been integrated with the Unified Communications Server, thus reducing the operational cost of the whole email service.
A corporate agreement with Dropbox has been signed so that every CRG user will be provided an account with unlimited storage.
Another highlight of 2014 was the publication of the Identity Management public tender that will be rolled out during the first half 2015 and that will improve the unification of credentials between the different user repositories, the password recovery self-management, and the setup of automatic user provision workflows.
It is also worth mentioning that the collaboration with the EU-LIFE consortium increased during 2014.
In 2014, the 6th floor was remodelled so that the CRG will have two more seminar rooms available as well as an additional study room. As well as this, the space plan designed and approved by the institute’s directors in 2013 is now finished.
The CRG has continued to maintain its sustainability according to energy consumption indicators and the associated costs. It is worth highlighting that in only two years, the generation of cytostatic waste has been reduced by 60% due to the banning of ethidium bromide at the institute.
Also in 2014, the department carried out the most repairs in the history of the institute. This is due to the fact that the equipment is getting older every year. However, complete preventive maintenance is also carried out on a regular basis.
The Sterilisation and Preparation of Culture Media unit has continued to offer its usual services. They have internalised the LPS analyses of pure water as well as the management and coordination of the lab deep cleanings.
Health & Safety Office
The office participated in different meetings and courses: a) XII International Congress of Health & Safety (ORP 2014), held in Zaragoza (Spain), with a poster entitled: “Integration of Health & Safety: Investigation of the accidents occurring in the lab of an international biomedical research institute”; the 2nd National Congress on Biosafety and Biocontainment, with the talk “Implementation of biosafety standards in P2 culture rooms”; and an Advanced Training Course in Biosafety, according to UNE-CWA 16335:2014 “Professional skills in biosafety”.
During 2014, the training offered increased and included the following new courses: Fire Prevention, Laser Work Safety, Ocular Protection, Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), and Management of Business Activities Coordination.
Also since 2014, the area has been offering a welcome session for newcomers and an introduction to basic aspects of biosafety for the Masters course students.
CRG Health & Safety figures
Safety visits: 35, producing 159 work orders
Training courses offered: 54, with 279 participants
Accidents: 6 work accidents, 2 in transit accidents, and 1 accident of a member of an external company
Medical check-ups: 264