EARMA Conference Oslo


Collaboration of Research Managers within University Alliances


Jenny Wanselius


  • M
    Mareike Lutz
  • C
    Claudia Dell’Era
  • H
    Hilde Røysland
  • J
    Julie Stubbe Jensen


EARMA Conference Oslo

Format: Oral 30 Minutes

Topic: Proposal Development


Collaboration of Research Managers within University Alliances

Many of us belong to established university alliances, but haven’t you ever had the feeling that nothing concrete comes out of the collaboration? What is the secret of developing a fruitful long-term strategic collaboration between research managers, which really supports and facilitates your daily work?

At Nordic Five Tech, we found a good recipe for success that we want to share with you in our presentation.

Nordic Five Tech is a strategic alliance of the five leading technical universities in Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden. The alliance was established in November 2006 to utilize shared and complementary strengths and create synergies in education, research, and innovation.

Nordic Five Tech is governed by the Nordic Five Tech Committee. The chairmanship of the alliance alternates annually between the universities and the secretariat is virtual but joint through contact persons at each university.

The alliance runs activities through task forces and working groups. Our working group, Research Funding, started in 2017 and was given the task to arrange workshops, facilitate joint research proposals and provide researchers with networking opportunities. We use external research funding as a means to increase research collaboration amongst the researchers within the alliance.

Our working group consists of one representative from each partner university’s Research Support Office/Grants Office and meet online about once per month.

We have so far delivered a number of activities: a proposal development workshop around a specific call, a training event on EU Horizon 2020 collaborative project proposals in Brussels, linking researchers from different universities in connection with relevant calls (Horizon Europe, Nordforsk), mutual contribution e.g., MSCA-IF training at DTU, and consultations at NTNU with experts from Aalto and MSCA-ITN training at Aalto with experts from DTU, gender perspective seminar at Chalmers by a KTH representative, secondment opportunities and input to the joint Nordic Five Tech statement on the importance of Horizon Europe funding.

In addition to these concrete actions, we as research managers, benefit from the collaboration in several other ways:
- As we got to know each other and each other’s universities more closely, we have been able to more efficiently connect researchers from the alliance to joint proposals.
- We have established a tradition of contributing as speakers at each other’s seminars and trainings.
- We have a lively and continuous exchange of best practice in support activities.
- We exchange information, insight and intelligence regarding current research funding policies and development.

To develop a successful long-term strategic collaboration, we encourage you to allow for experimentation to find suitable activities to meet the objectives of the collaboration, and to combine a need-driven approach with continuous intraorganisational alignment of suggested activities. Collaboration is a learning process that needs time, dedication and resources to develop and that can only bridge organizational differences by mutual interest at all levels in each other’s needs and conditions.