Increasing capacity and expanding capabilities using technology

2nd April 2020

By Nancy Ranner

In the midst of the escalating COVID-19 crisis, many organisations, including charities, are having to adapt quickly and adopt new online systems and processes to keep their operations flowing. Having always worked remotely, our team at the National Foundation for Medical Research and Innovation (NFMRI) has developed and applied a range of technological solutions to assist in managing all aspects of our operations and resource requirements to suit our needs over the past 7-8 years. 

Consider long-term solutions and opportunities

Despite being hesitant of technology by nature, I have seen first-hand the long-term benefits that can be realised by its gradual and appropriate implementation across organisational systems. For those now looking towards new technology solutions to address COVID-19 implications, I would suggest considering implementing solutions that will last beyond this crisis. Avoiding a knee-jerk reaction and doing your due-diligence to find products that suit your needs, will mean you can benefit from these solutions in the long-term and in an ongoing basis.

NFMRI has strategically used technologies for many years

At NFMRI, the strategic use of technologies over many years has enabled us to not only work remotely with staff, Board members and Research Advisory Committee members, but also to create, trial and implement scalable, effective and efficient systems and processes that work well for an organisation of our nature and size.

Those charities and small organisations considering implementing new programs and platforms should enquire with providers they are considering about not-for-profit rates and pricing. We have learnt that charity pricing is not always widely promoted, but upon request many will gladly honour and provide significant discounts.

With increasing technological advances and improvements, implementing new technological changes is easier than ever and the options have been refined extensively over recent years. In current circumstances, it may be more practical and realistic to start addressing your organisation’s greatest need, and in time expanding with other desired online solutions. Some options that not-for-profit organisations and charities may wish to consider implementing to assist with the  changes required to comply COVID-19 regulations include:

Education and implementation options should be considered

Implementation of these new systems and platforms may entail a significant learning curve for some – this is new territory for most people. There will be a period of trial and error. You may find that some platforms are not suitable for your organisation; others may provide you with increased efficiency and flexibility. By focusing on your greatest technological needs first, over time you can expand.

NFMRI’s next step is implementing our new progressive reporting system

For example, over recent months, we have developed a new cloud-based progress reporting solution to help our researchers better communicate how their research is progressing towards impact. 

Expanding upon our exisiting ‘top-up’ form, this new progressive reporting system will continue in the same vein with the aim of further reducing the time spent by researchers reporting, whilst collecting the information we need to understand progress, impact and importantly identify new ways that we may be of assistance.

We are constantly exploring new ways of improving effectiveness and efficiency with our work. We are by no means ‘technological experts’, but we believe we have found a range and mix of technological solutions that suit our needs and provide us with greater flexibility and the ability to work remotely. If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch. We are happy to discuss our experiences with you with regards to ‘trial and error’ and programs that currently suit our needs.

Opportunities to partner with NFMRI

The technological systems, processes and platforms we have in place provide us with efficiencies that enable our ability to scale easily and effectively. Applying our strategy and partnering with other like-minded groups means we are able to achieve more collectively without an increase in resources. If a potential partnership is of interest or if you have any question around increasing your ability to support more high-quality projects, please have a look at our partnership brochure and contact us at

Please note that partnering with NFMRI is not for everyone. Our strategy is very targeted with regards to what we support and how our support is applied. While we are quite flexible with disease/condition and/or geographic location, we remain committed to partnering with other foundations, charities, PuAFs, PAFS and individuals etc who may have specific giving needs, but are interested in utilising NFMRI’s strategy, processes, capability and capacity.

Our strategic focus and systems are built around identifying, reviewing and supporting preclinical translational research and collaborations to help advance known biomedical research discoveries towards community benefits such as new medicines, diagnostics, devices, vaccines, biologicals and tools.

NFMRI will be creating and participating in an increasing number of online events.  We anticipate some of these will continue beyond COVID-19.

In the coming months, we are looking to utilise ourincreased webinar capability to develop and provide online presentations, interviews and virtual roundtables to help researchers and supporters of medical research.

If you have areas or topics of interest please let us know by completing our online suggestion form : 

If you wish for NFMRI to visit, meet and present at your institution later in the year post COVID-19, please complete our speaker request form below.

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