Artificial intelligence is all over the news these days, and it seems AI — in some form or another — is here to stay. But what is AI, and how exactly can AI support your daily tasks? Can it improve research administration without threatening job security or introducing too much risk?
Here’s how automation can benefit your research organization and put you on the cutting edge of your industry.
What is AI?
Today, when most people mention AI, they probably mean one of three things. The first is “true artificial intelligence.” This is the stuff of science fiction: a machine capable of replicating human cognition. The field of AI research has made significant progress since its introduction, but we have yet to develop AI of this nature.
The second is machine learning. This is what most people refer to when the topic of AI arises. Machine learning algorithms use datasets to identify patterns and “learn” through feedback. These patterns can be utilized for predictive analysis. Examples include chatbots and image-generation algorithms. While currently a hot topic in tech, machine learning is still relatively young, and we are only beginning to see practical applications.
The third and final type of AI is automation. Automation involves algorithms and software capable of independently processing tasks, such as reviewing a document for errors or transferring data from one database to another. Automation is ubiquitous and reliable and has become part of our daily lives — including research support — for good reason.
Software with automation capabilities
Electronic research administration (eRA) software with the capacity for automation enables organizations to manage the entire research process electronically. It provides a platform for researchers, administrators, and funding agencies to collaborate and simplify administrative tasks. To maximize effectiveness for an institution, eRA software should have the following features:
- A user-friendly interface: An intuitive and easy-to-use interface allows users to navigate the system with ease. New chatbot technology can also offer supportive chat features to help guide users.
- Process automation: Automating administrative tasks, such as grant applications, compliance monitoring, and project management, can reduce employee workloads.
- Integration with other systems: By integrating with other systems, like financial management systems, automated eRA software can provide smooth workflows and data exchanges.
- Real-time data analytics: Real-time data analytics and an AI-powered engine can offer predictive support, enabling researchers and administrators to track progress, monitor performance, and make informed decisions.
- Collaboration and communication: The best platforms facilitate collaboration and communication among team members, stakeholders, and funding agencies.
Automation in eRA software offers numerous advantages for research organizations. Among the key benefits is a reduced administrative burden. eRA software that utilizes automation improves administrative tasks by managing repetitive and time-consuming processes, decreasing the workload of researchers and administrators. This allows them to focus on higher-level tasks and improve job satisfaction. The automation of administrative tasks, such as grant applications, reporting, and compliance monitoring, can also save time and speed up processes.
Another benefit of automation in eRA software is it enables research organizations to manage a larger scope of projects, thereby increasing their efficiency and productivity. It also decreases the potential for errors. Automation can minimize or eliminate errors in administrative tasks, resulting in more accurate data and improved decision-making.
Additionally, automated eRA software can increase reportability through real-time data analytics, allowing researchers and administrators to track progress, monitor performance, and generate reports more efficiently. With an intuitive user interface and easy-to-use features, the software can also improve the user experience, making employees’ work easier and more enjoyable. Finally, by automating administrative tasks, reducing errors, and increasing efficiency, the right eRA software can save research organizations money in the long run.
How research leaders are innovating with technology
With all the clear benefits to research organizations, leaders in the industry are adopting software featuring automation tools at an increasingly rapid rate. At Cayuse, we have been at the forefront of eRA technology for years and are continuously advancing the capabilities of our software. We are also proud of our work with leaders in the education industry to transform their research administration.
Below are a few examples of how automation can support research institutions:
- At Idaho State University, Cayuse helped faculty members complete institutional review board (IRB) and Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) reviews up to 200% faster.
- Oakland University managed a 300% increase in research funding with the Cayuse platform.
- Denver Health eliminated proposal errors and enabled real-time research portfolio analytics with Cayuse’s AI-driven automation.
- LSU Health Shreveport experienced a 365% increase in grant awards through the Cayuse platform.
- Duke University used Cayuse Inventions to become twice as efficient.