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Using Workspaces to streamline outsourcing for R&D categories

Outsourcing R&D can be hard. One key challenge is navigating the unique complexities for different categories of R&D spend. The process needed to procure human biospecimens varies significantly from that for outsourcing a safety study, for example, driven by key differences including provider discovery, approval workflows, budgets, project structures, and regulatory requirements. 

Our team set out to find a way to radically simplify how Enterprises outsource R&D while still supporting their governance needs.


Challenge: Traditionally slow and difficult to manage different categories of outsourced R&D spend 

In traditional e-procurement platforms, outsourced R&D orders from multiple categories exist in a single, unsorted environment (Figure 1). In this example, outsourced service orders for human biospecimens, safety studies, and other unrelated orders might all be visible to the same group of stakeholders. Such an environment may then require manual sorting processes, seed confusion, and create delays for potentially life-saving science.

Figure 1 no workspaces
Figure 1. Key stakeholders lack an easy way to manage the projects most relevant to them. In this example, outsourced R&D projects with multiple owners are recorded in a single environment. R&D category operations leads often use manual processes, multiple spreadsheets, and additional layers of project management tools to manage projects within their category.


Solution: Science Exchange Workspaces streamline oversight and management of outsourced R&D category spend  

To streamline outsourcing for R&D categories, we launched “Workspaces.” Workspaces are a new way of organizing outsourced R&D, making it easier for our customers to manage smaller groups of their users and their projects. 

For example, an Enterprise can organize human biospecimen orders placed by various researchers into one Workspace, with all safety studies organized into another one (Figure 2).

Features and benefits of Workspaces for R&D categories:

  • Workspaces can be used to bucket users into smaller groups based on whether their outsourced projects fall under the same R&D category. Smaller, more specific groupings facilitate faster decision-making and streamline workflows.
  • Robust access controls allow key stakeholders to oversee and support projects in their category’s Workspace while reducing offline manual processes.  
  • Workspaces are designed to be flexible and can adapt to category structures specific to each organization. Users can be in multiple R&D category Workspaces, and can have different roles across Workspaces, reflecting the real-life needs of outsourcing complex R&D services.
Figure 2 with workspaces
Figure 2. “Workspaces” on Science Exchange streamline the R&D outsourcing process for multiple stakeholders. Workspaces enable Enterprises to easily organize outsourced projects across R&D categories. A new role on Science Exchange is the “Workspace Manager.” Workspace Managers can oversee and manage projects within their Workspace.


Using Workspaces for R&D categories can benefit multiple stakeholders

  1. R&D Operations Heads = Enterprise Administrators on Science Exchange. Enterprise Administrators can create different Workspaces for each R&D Category. They can add users to Workspaces as Workspace Members or Workspace Managers.  
Figure 3 Enterprise admins workspaces
Figure 3. Enterprise administrators can easily navigate between workspaces to view outsourced orders for different R&D categories.

2. Individual Researcher = Workspace Member. New requests created by researchers are assigned to their Workspace, visible to the corresponding Workspace Managers.

Figure 4 workspaces for researchers
Figure 4. A new request is tagged with the name of the workspace in which it is created.

3. Category Leads = Workspace Managers on Science Exchange. Workspace Managers can view and manage all projects in their workspace. This new role solves for the needs of multiple stakeholders involved with managing projects for an R&D category.

R&D Operations Managers can support the researcher by viewing order details and then obtaining a purchase order in adherence to internal processes.

Figure 5 operations workspaces
Figure 5. R&D category operations lead’s view of a workspace, where the orders requiring approval are annotated “Pending Approval.”

Procurement Leads can verify that the required sourcing process was followed for a given request. In the example below, a Procurement Lead for the Human Biospecimens category might review how many Providers a request has been sent to before a quote is accepted.

Figure 5 operations mgr pending PO
Figure 6. Procurement lead can use this quote comparison tool on Science Exchange to quickly assess the compliance of a particular request within a workspace.

Legal / Compliance Managers can review projects to ensure adherence to legal and compliance requirements. For example, in the Human Biospecimens category, they can ensure compliance with donor consent and patient ethics requirements.

As shown in the GIF below, a Compliance Manager can open a quote within the Human Biospecimens category and check if the Provider has filed an Evident™ Human Biological Samples Compliance Assessment. Opening the assessment shows the specific measures taken by the Provider to ensure compliance.

If the Provider has not submitted an Assessment, the Compliance Manager can directly contact the Provider to request that they do so prior to the acceptance of the quote.

human tissue compliance
Figure 7 (GIF). Compliance managers can use Science Exchange’s Evident solution to verify that a particular provider has demonstrated compliance with the requesting organization’s requirements.


The Workspaces solution on Science Exchange is a flexible new way for Enterprises to streamline R&D outsourcing processes. The examples above show how Workspaces can increase the efficiency of ordering and managing outsourced services across multiple R&D categories within an organization. 

Combined with the right R&D strategy, our Workspaces solution can help organizations:

  • Accelerate the pace of research programs
  • Ensure high quality scientific research
  • Simplify adherence to governance requirements

Get personalized advice on how to use “Workspaces” to streamline your R&D outsourcing strategy — email [email protected].


Jay Patel

Director, Product Management

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