Design, impact and best practices for a graduate research and innovation center
Ayala-González, Hilda Teresa
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Since 2009, the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez (UPRM) implemented several assessment strategies to identify services and infrastructure to meet the needs of graduate students and faculty researchers. In general, results revealed the need for developing information literacy skills, technological infrastructure and physical facilities for collaboration. More specifically, assessment findings showed that researchers: (1) identified a need for assistance with technical writing, communication skills, search strategies, and ethical use of information; (2) expected new services encompassing data management, authorship, copyright, and organizing, sharing, and preserving information in the digital environment; and (3) needed a collaborative space where teaching and research services coincided. A grant, awarded by the U.S. Department of Education, has enabled the UPRM to facilitate research services across campus, broadening graduate offering in engineering programs and sustaining the research and innovation ecosystem across the entire research lifecycle. This award allowed the design and inauguration of the Graduate Research and Innovation Center (GRIC) in 2016, transforming the way the Library intervenes in our institution's research ecosystem. Overall, the GRIC provides (1) a holistic suite of services in which students can be referred to specialists, knowledgeable in the proper technology or content development expertise; (2) a robust technological infrastructure to support interdisciplinary and interactive collaborations; and (3) support to graduate students’ needs as both information consumers and information producers. By design, the GRIC has become a testbed for activities that facilitate the implementation of the Association of College & Research Libraries’ Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. The paper will describe the design process for the GRIC, its impact in a two-year period, and the services offered at the Center with best practices and lessons learned in the process, that directly impact the research lifecycle.