Research IT

Web Application Development Service (WADS)

A full-stack and complete lifecycle option for research focussed websites with bespoke requirements building upon a centrally hosted framework and content management system with custom components.

Service Description

As a part of the Research Software Engineering (RSE) team our goal is to enhance the University’s capacity to produce high quality research software by collaborating with researchers to create correct, efficient, readable, reliable and sustainable code. The WADS team will work with you through design, development and deployment of the website, for components ranging from database, forms, API, presentation, filtering and visualization. Hosting is provided centrally using the Research Virtual Machine Service (RVMS). We include training, support, security and maintenance of web sites across the University.

Our sites are usually developed using Django (a Python based web framework), Wagtail CMS (a content management system built on Django) with custom functionality added by our team. We've developed multiple websites over the last few years with examples including:

  • CORONET - a COVID-19 Risk in ONcology Evaluation Tool
  • Manchester Village Stories - recording experiences of Manchester’s Gay Village with map-based points of interest
  • Carbon Savings Tool - carbon footprints of given journeys by a range of transport modes and possible carbon savings from switching the mode of travel

While we have a web framework with a content management system, our goal is not to provide basic websites for researchers - who should continue to use all existing services offered at the University such as WordPress and T4. Instead we aim to deliver web applications that have a bespoke requirement e.g., interactive map of stories, COVID/Cancer diagnostic tool with visualization.

Project duration can vary between a few days and several months as needed, with flexibility afforded in assignment of RSE time.

Charging Model

This is a chargeable service. We strongly advise you to contact us pre-grant submission for accurate costings. Support can be given post-award but availability and flexibility may be limited.


If you'd like to discuss possible future collaborations including the development of a bespoke web application please email us.

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