Research Support

Strengthening the research community

Employees researching and contributing IT resources and knowledge into a funnel.

Created to support researchers and their technology needs, a new dedicated unit within Technology Services has been established to empower the Texas A&M research community. By engaging with researchers across the university, Technology Services identifies, supports and facilitates a variety of technology solutions, creating real-world results and providing an innovative, secure environment for conducting research. Areas of specific focus include expanding access to research cyberinfrastructure, software, laboratory solutions, facilities support and technology-based community engagement programs. Our key partnership with the Vice President of Research’s office will expand the ability of Technology Services to assist in the acceleration of the research teams’ ability to start up new projects faster and more effectively.

Modern research endeavors are dependent upon cyberinfrastructure. From sensors in the field to instruments across the lab and into the cloud, the research technologies team provides the tools, people, processes and innovation pathways needed to support advancement in research. The foundational goals focus on strengthening the process for accessing information, creating collaborative research data environments, increasing IT professionals’ knowledge to support researchers and delivering a variety of research technology applications to meet the needs of the research community.

By providing new and innovative technologies and aligning with the Division of Research’s strategic planning efforts, the level of support provided to the research community will be elevated to collectively and positively enhance outcomes. This concerted focus is a tremendous opportunity to expand Texas A&M’s position as a leading tier one research institution, ambitiously pursuing and expanding its research enterprise.

Partner Success

STAR platform

Technology Services serves an integral role in empowering the Texas A&M University research community by identifying and providing innovative research technology solutions and removing the worry of managing information technology resources. The cloud-based platform Secure Technologies for Aggie Researchers (STAR) uses Amazon AWS with the intention to develop a secure research environment using Microsoft Azure. This platform enables researchers to have rapid access to tools that are financially feasible, secure and accessible. Technology Services wants to specifically address the process of navigating the pre-proposal, proposal and award phases where information technology resources are planned and procured. By streamlining this process, researchers are enabled to be more competitive and successful.

Flu Online Scheduling System

Computer with vaccine scheduling software on the screen.

The Flu Online Scheduling System (FLOSS) application was developed as part of a Texas A&M Health collaboration to support the influenza and COVID-19 vaccination clinics. Lead developer Zach Tanton partnered with the clinical team lead, Dr. Christine Kaunas, to develop this application. Existing electronic medical record systems did not facilitate the registration and customization needed to offer online appointment registrations and validate required information needed by Texas A&M University officials. 

While electronic medical record systems (EMR) offer patient record keeping, the processes were inefficient and costly for vaccination clinics. When we took this problem to Zach and his team, they built a scheduler, resulting in greater efficiency and ultimately, a better experience for our employees.

The application debuted in October 2022 and facilitated more than 2,070 appointments. The custom application allows clinic personnel to determine the number of appointment slots to open based on clinician availability and vaccination supplies. Optimizing clinical flow by matching scheduling with available resources allowed for quick in and out times for vaccinations, improving patient satisfaction and providing an efficient process.

TCMG 476 – Technology management capstone

The Technology Management program at Texas A&M University offers a capstone course to help students develop the knowledge and skills needed for the application of technical management as they pursue careers in information technology.

Technology Services partnered with Dr. David Sweeney, the course instructor, to review two important projects needed to improve research technology across Texas A&M. The first student group focused on identifying the IT skills and competencies needed to improve support for researchers within individual colleges, schools and divisions. During their final course presentation in November 2022, the team recommended a new methodology for training and communicating to research technology support professionals. Team members included students Vanessa Arriaga, Matthew Liversidge, Mahmoud Ghazi and Dylan Nguyen.

The second team focused their evaluation on deploying research computing software to increase access to research applications. The team benchmarked peer institutions, such as the University of Michigan, citing their research software deployment methods and outlining an approach for automating the deployment and installation of research software. The team conducted a process analysis, outlined future state success metrics and created a cost-benefit analysis for the project. Team members included students Matthew Ponder, Zayda Hernandez, Nathan Bernardez, Noah Bruce and Anthony Nguyen.

This partnership provides Aggies who are about to enter the workforce with the opportunity to analyze a real-world challenge, create solutions and make recommendations to IT leadership at Texas A&M, says Dr. Joshua Kissee, Assistant Vice President of Research IT.

These projects demonstrate the unique opportunities graduating students have at Texas A&M through Technology Services to gain experiences that translate to real-life application and genuinely support their career aspirations.

Cloudbolt – self-service research application

In collaboration with researchers at Texas A&M, Technology Services created the first iteration of a cloud-based self-service research application: Secure Technologies for Aggie Researchers (STAR). Using Cloudbolt, a software application, STAR provides instant access to cloud resources including virtual servers, cloud storage, artificial intelligence tools and relational databases. The goal of the Cloudbolt application is to significantly reduce the amount of time needed for researchers to access cloud-based resources. The application underwent multiple rounds of testing and review by researchers participating in the STAR program to improve its usability and adapt to meet their needs.