Cries of frustration and anguish, hair-loss, sleepless nights, unattractive bagging under the eyes, and even domestic disharmony.

Such problems* are being blamed on gremlins in the NHMRC’s Research Grants Management System (RGMS), which is meant to enable grant applications to be made online but has been having some major problems.

Last Friday, NHMRC CEO Warwick Anderson sent a note to researchers apologising for the RGMS problems, and reassuring them that all of the data already in the system, including CVs and the 3,500 applications already started this year, are safe.

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“I apologise again, on behalf of the NHMRC, for the frustration that has been experienced by the research community and the interruptions to plans and family life that may have resulted from RGMS’s performance,” he wrote.

“I would like to assure you all again that, regardless of the outcome of the testing conducted today, no researchers wanting to apply will be prevented from doing so because of RGMS researcher interface problems.”

For those wanting to stay in touch with the RGMS saga, Warwick Anderson is now tweeting the latest developments, as per this recent note.

It’s good to see the NHMRC using Twitter as a tool to engage openly with its annoyed constituency.

And, they are annoyed, as this recent SMH report indicates.

As one researcher commented to Croakey today: “It is amazing to me that systems like Facebook, YouTube etc with hundreds of millions of users posting thousands of videos, photos, links etc everyday never crash, but yet this piddly text-based RGMS system can’t cope. Perhaps NHMRC needs to hire some 20 year old entrepreneurial IT types to run their system!”

* Presumably NHMRC staff are suffering from RGMS-related symptoms just as much as those in the research community.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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