The JISC VRE project intends to provide and support the Sakai platform for large, distributed social sciences research projects. The focus of the project will be on activities to investigate the needs of the TLRP researchers and to evaluate the extent to which Sakai meets those needs. We will work with other projects in this programme and elsewhere to track new tool development and to assess the utility of these new tools for the social sciences researchers across the TLRP. The proposed project also includes some development activity to migrate to the Sakai platform the tools that have already been identified and prototyped to meet the needs of TLRP researchers. We feel strongly that the tools that have been prototyped for this group have generic usefulness to all research groups. Tools developed at Cambridge by this project will be shared using a BSD-type open-source licence.

By the end of the project, we expect to have shared with the UK HE research community a detailed analysis of how the collaboration (and other) tools of the Sakai project can support and enhance collaborative research projects in the social sciences. CARET intends to share and embed best practice and will sustain the support environment for at least the life of the TLRP project (to 2008) and expects to be vigorously active in building on the results of the project. We believe this programme will lead to a shared UK research support environment and we expect to be active in using and supporting that development