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Case study

Collaborative environment with personalised look and feel

Research groups within Saxion University of Applied Sciences can store and share large and small data sets using Research Drive. It will also make collaborating with companies and end users much easier. In order to make it easy to find and recognisable, Saxion offers the service with its own look and feel. "And it's really taking off."

A mishmash of shadow IT

"We work on nanosensors for all kinds of biochemical processes that occur in the body. This may involve large measurements, such as data sets to test algorithms, as well as small measurements." We are talking to Gerald Ebberink, Engineering Project Manager in the Nanotechnology research group at Saxion University of Applied Sciences. "To manage that data, a mishmash of shadow IT was created.” Last year, all of it was placed in Research Drive, the SURF service with which research teams can easily share and store data during their research.

“We chose our own look and feel so the service is easy to find and recognisable.”

Bundled research support

Saxion University of Applied Sciences created its own environment for it: the Saxion Research Cloud Drive. Rudy Dokter, Business Information Manager Content & Research Services: "We chose our own look and feel so the service is easy to find and recognisable. All of our research support has been bundled under the name Saxion Research Services. We have our own website where we offer researchers a one-stop-shop. This product is also offered there."

As descriptive as possible

Saxion University of Applied Sciences also wants to make the services it provides to its employees as descriptive as possible and avoid using the name of the technology. "The fact that the ownCloud software package happens to be behind it is less important to our users. People are already accustomed to Google Drive. This name appeals to the image that people have of the service."

De portal van Saxion Research Cloud Drive

Saxion Research Cloud Drive portal

Sharing information with partners

As universities of applied sciences carry out practice-based research, they often work together with companies. "Sole proprietors who have developed something in their garage also come knocking on our door. Then we start working with it and find other partners who can further develop the idea." For Ebberink, the most important advantage that Research Drive offers is that the platform also enables information sharing with external partners.

“All of the components must come together and everybody wants to know what the other is doing. But we also use the Saxion Research Cloud Drive for something more basic like submitting time sheets.”

Working together with companies

"Before this, there was no solution within Saxion University of Applied Sciences. We run many projects where we work together with companies that also want to have access to algorithms and the minutes of meetings. These may include technology suppliers, companies that want to use that technology to integrate in a smartwatch, or designers of interfaces or housings for measurement devices. End users are, for example, athletes or diabetics who want to measure their metabolism, insulin level, glucose or energy burned. And the Animal Ecology group at Utrecht University wants to hang the measurement devices on cows, as they also appear to have a very different metabolism."

Ten different versions

This quickly results in a whole range of collaborative partners. "All of the components must come together and everybody wants to know what the other is doing. But we also use the Saxion Research Cloud Drive for something more basic like submitting time sheets. It is quite handy that you can upload these at one point instead of mailing 10 different versions and then a few different 'final' versions."

Privacy-sensitive information

Another colleague was confronted with the fact that students had to take out a Dropbox subscription when they had reached their free limit. "Former students often just deleted their files when this happened. The fact that we can now neatly finalise internships and departing students' research projects and store the data, is very welcome indeed. In addition, it is an important consideration that the service runs in the Netherlands, because we work with privacy-sensitive information." Dokter: "SURF is our preferred supplier for these kinds of research-facilitation services. The basic principles of open science and collaboration also play a part in this."

"Het loopt storm. Op dit moment maken zo’n 100 onderzoeksprojecten met bijna 300 onderzoekers gebruik van Saxion Research Cloud Drive, en dat aantal groeit nog dagelijks.”


"What is also very charming about this service", continues Dokter, "is that research facilitation in higher professional education is not as developed as it is in the academic world. This is an example of how we can bring supply and demand together in the best possible way. And it's really taking off. At present, roughly 100 research projects with nearly 300 researchers use the Saxion Research Cloud Drive, and this number is growing every day."

More information

Research Drive


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