QA430 University Support of Software Licence Costs

The following University policy on support from central funding for the purchase of software was approved at the Computing Strategic Planning Committee in November 2004.

Some 150 software packages are currently made available centrally for use in computer suites and elsewhere in the University. Computer Services takes the lead in managing the procurement, licensing and distribution of such software to support teaching and research in the University at large. Computer Services also assists individual departments with software procurement, licensing, and distribution.

The benefit of this approach is that more software becomes more widely available for both teaching and research purposes. As well as enabling better academic performance this also means that the University as a whole achieves better value for its money.

The software in use varies from applications of universal benefit (for example MS Office) through to products of interest within a single department or even to a single member of academic staff.

The University has adopted a clear and transparent policy governing the allocation of central funding to support the purchase, license management, and deployment of such software in the University. The University will contribute to software costs on a sliding percentage scale, depending on the extent to which the relevant software product is available for general use in the University.

Software products are classified into different licence bands, according to the extent to which they are available for use across the university and their value for money. The table below shows the classification scheme.

Licence BandLevel of Use

Indicative University Contribution

A – Universal use In general use across the University 100%
B – Widespread use

In general use across one or more

C – Clustered use In use in several departments 20%
D – Minority use

In use in more than one department or
research unit
In use in one department, with
demonstrable interest from other

E – Specialist use

In use in one department or research unit,
with no demonstrable interest from other



The University contributions shown above are indicative and the actual percentage contributions would depend on demand and on available funding.

The scheme is governed by a code of practice, to be agreed under Computer Services governance arrangements. Features of the code of practice include:

  • A formal start date of 1 October 2005
  • A register of University managed software, published on the Computer Services web site, identifying licence bands and the department(s) contributing to software costs;
  • Transparent rules for allocating University managed software to license bands, based on known demand for software;
  • Allocation into licence bands to be partly determined by perceived value for money (which will be determined according to transparent criteria). That is, software with high "per seat" costs in the NUI, Galway environment may be classified into a lower licence band (and vice versa for software with low "per seat" costs);
  • Transparent rules for determining departmental contributions to software costs. These are likely to be based on the idea of a "lead customer department", mobilising others who require the software
  • Open access by all departments to all University funded (or part funded) software (with the opportunity to negotiate changes in licensing bands and lead customer departments);
  • Centralised procurement, distribution, and licence management of University funded software;
  • The University percentage contribution to software costs to be periodically reviewed in the light of available funding, and of priorities determined by the University through the arrangements in force for Computer Services oversight.

If you have a query or require further information about this policy, please contact Conor McMahon in Computer Services: