The increasing complexity and internationalisation of research in higher education means there is a recognised and growing need for research management professionals (20,000 worldwide). Public and private RPOs need ongoing research support and expertise to function smoothly, along with technical and research support for the on-going operation of specialised research facilities/equipment.
Over the last 20-30 years, the role of research manager has emerged to provide this professional expertise. However, the term “research manager” or “research administrator” refers to a set of different functions, rather than a homogeneous job specification.
The profession is virtually invisible in terms of policy, career development and career pathways compared to that of a senior researcher. There is little consistency in Europe in terms of pay scales, contracts, skills, competencies and training opportunities for these professionals. Managerial positions are frequently tied to individual grants, so contracts are often precarious throughout research managers’ careers. Although managers play a key role in the administration and assessment of a range of research activities, that role is currently hidden.
CARDEA aims to define the position of research managers and give training for these professionals, who provide vital links between R&I and the ambitions of the SDG for economic transformation, developing human capacity and microeconomic policy reforms.