University of Westminster

How Haplo was used to build a Virtual Research Environment.


Haplo user since October 2013


Creating a Virtual Research Environment for managing research in a University.

The client

University of Westminster Information Services wanted to do more to support their researcher community. They wanted to create a Virtual Research Environment for recording information about research activity and streamlining administration for researchers. Haplo was an ideal platform for building this innovative solution.

The brief

University of Westminster commissioned Haplo to build a Virtual Research Environment (VRE) which could be used by researchers and research administrators throughout the University. The University was concerned about lack of visibility of research activity, the burden of administration, and particularly lack of support for managing Doctoral Researchers.

“Having up-to-date information in one place saves us time in all sorts of ways.”

Susanna Verdon, University of Westminster


The experience

“Best of all the system is so flexible we know we’ll be able to store and report on whatever information we need in the future.”

Susanna Verdon, University of Westminster

With support from the Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research, Haplo worked collaboratively with the University’s researchers to identify and develop solutions to solve ‘pain points’ throughout the research lifecycle.

Doctoral Researchers

We developed an extensive suite of functionality to support PhD candidates throughout their research lifecycle, providing visibility for supervisors, faculty and the Graduate School on the progress of each PhD candidate.

Research ethics

As part of the VRE we implemented online ethics applications and streamlined the review and approval of applications. The overhead of managing ethics approval applications was considerable for both researchers and the University ethics committees. By reducing the administrative hassle of completing an ethics application, we lowered the barrier to more researchers formally reviewing the ethical implications of their research.

Research outputs

We are streamlining how we handle the outputs from a research project: papers, presentations, data or whatever type of output is produced in each discipline. Researchers have a single interface for submitting details of outputs. The University benefits from good quality metadata and insightful reporting.

The difference

“The VRE has had a significant, positive impact since its launch.”

Prof Simon Joss, University of Westminster

“The VRE has had a significant, positive impact since its launch: it has enabled the Graduate School Registry and Board to take more active control of student progression; at the same time, doctoral researchers and supervisors now have more transparent and timely information about the processing of doctoral project matters," says Prof Simon Joss, Graduate School Director.