Gateways help solve the mysteries of the universe. For example, Galaxy Zoo enlisted non-scientists to help categorize astronomical images, whereas LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) captures signals from distant universes. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Supporting the "business" of your gateway with our expertise

The advice provided by our Incubator consultants are meant to fill the inevitable gaps in your team’s expertise, while building your own staff’s knowledge and abilities. To this end, we offer specialized expertise for targeted, short-term support (usually less than four months).

We can advise on topics from start to operations in three main areas. 

1. Technology advice

  • Cybersecurity: Guidance for planning, designing, or assessing your security measures, including your choice or implementation of specific technologies

  • Understanding the risk to your cyberinfrastructure as well as securing it is a daunting task. The Incubator Cybersecurity team can ensure that your science gateway gets the guidance you need regarding their cybersecurity challenges. From quick questions to collaborative engagements that cover both development and review of a security program, the Incubator Cybersecurity team tackles challenges of all sizes.

Read more about Trusted CI and the services they offer to SGCI clients.

  • Technology planning, open-source licensing & selection: Help with figuring out the best technologies for your gateway

  • A gateway is at a minimum a multi-year effort. Smart choices of enabling technologies at the beginning of the initiative can minimize overall operations, development, licensing, and maintenance costs during the project lifetime, allowing allocation of funds to the critical parts of the gateway: enabling science for its users and growing its community. Even if a gateway project is midstream, it can be wise to reexamine how the project has evolved and whether that evolution has implications for changes in technology. The Incubator offers services in analyzing the needs of a gateway and advising on appropriate technologies to meet those needs.

  • Development tools & processes: Steering you toward the best processes for software engineering and the tools that will help you get the work done

  • With a strategy and technology plan in place, the next step is execution. Incubator consulting in this area can help identify the best development tools and practices to put in place that elevate a gateway from a “server under the desk” to the production quality operation expected by a broad user base. Consultants can help establish the use of version repositories, development environments, testing, and continuous integration suites that in the long run will lower overall development and operation costs.

2. Business planning

  • Business & strategic planning: Guidance about the key components to consider in your business plan, such as your value proposition, audience, market landscape, competitive environment, and goals.

  • Whether executing a sustainability plan or achieving other major goals, development of goal-oriented activities on the pathway to achieving those goals involves strategic planning of activities in the face of finite resources and time. The Incubator consulting services can help devise a strategic picture and develop a task-oriented and financial roadmap for achieving desired goals in that strategy.

  • Sustainability planning: Support for thinking through how to make your gateway sustainable past the initial funding 

  • Most projects today face the challenging question of how to sustain themselves beyond their grant-funded period. The Incubator offers a suite of services to help plan how to sustain a gateway. These services begin with our Science Gateways Bootcamps and follow through with consulting engagements. During a consulting engagement, the focus can be on one of several topics, including better identification of the audience, development of strategies for gathering user feedback, development of a financial model, or identification of potential funding sources and strategies.

  • Project management: An orientation to the key considerations for managing your gateway project effectively

  • Having difficulty defining a project's scope and resources? SGCI offers project management guidance for new or maturing gateways. This orientation walks researchers and developers through critical considerations for managing your gateway project efficiently through applying the knowledge, skills, and tools available within your gateway to complete necessary activities. Guidance on how to adequately fill any gaps where the knowledge, skills, tools are not readily available within the gateway and then maintaining focus on achieving established goals.

  • Communicating with key stakeholders: Fine-tuning the message you send about your gateway project

  • When building support from funders, key influencers, and community members, clear communication of value, competitive landscape, and “the ask” is essential to gaining the desired support.  Starting with the development of a “pitch deck” in the Science Gateways Bootcamps, Incubator consulting services can help to fine tune this message for specific audiences.

3. User engagement

  • Usability & user-centered design: Hands-on help with evaluating the usability of your gateway, including recommendations for improving the design

  • The best gateways optimize their design and functionality based on the needs, requirements, and expectations of the gateway’s community. Incubator consulting services can supply a team of usability experts to assess the usability of an existing gateway and provide a transition plan to improve that usability or to design a future gateway or gateway element for usability before its implementation.

Learn more about our usability services here.

  • Graphic & user-interface design: Hands-on help with developing logos, basic graphics for your gateway, and other small design tasks

  • Finding a graphic designer to design an updated template to your gateway that is graphically pleasing and maximizes usability is time-consuming. SGCI offers graphic and user-interface design for gateways interested in enhancing their visual communication of concepts and ideas using graphic elements and tools as well as designing user interfaces that improve gateway user experiences.

  • Impact measurement: Advice about how to track the connection between your gateway product and the outcomes you seek

  • Gaining and maintaining support for a gateway requires strong user engagement, enabled by the user-centered and interface designs, as well as defining how a gateway will have an impact on its scientific disciplines and how that impact will be measured. Incubator consulting services can assist in identifying what can constitute impact for a gateway, how it may be technologically instrumented to measure that impact, and what team activities will be necessary to support an impact measurement plan.

  • Engaging your community: Advice about using social media and other strategies to grow your user base and keep them interested in what you offer

  • Knowing who your targeted audience is and how to reach them is a challenge every project faces. To spread awareness of your gateway's mission, you will need to know how you can tap into new communities and help them discover what makes your gateway unique and useful. Learn how to socially engage with your online community with SGCI's community engagement program. Through this service, you will learn how to discover new user groups that can benefit from your gateway, build relationships, and seek ways to better communicate with your growing community.

Request our services for current and future projects.

Interested in getting a guided, hands-on introduction to many of these topics? Consider applying for Gateway Focus Week, offered twice a year.

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