EARMA Conference Oslo


How Research Management Associations can play an ever so important Role in the New Normal


EARMA Conference Oslo

Format: Fifteen-Minute Discussion Tables

Topic: EARMA and professional associations


Shortly after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a “COVID-19 Pandemic” on March 11, 2020, country after country followed suit declaring a state of emergency. In their efforts to stop the spread of a virus the declaration of emergencies included imposing restrictions on social interaction and closing non-essential businesses. With these declarations, the majority of universities across the world moved their teaching activities and majority of research projects to a virtual environment. The impact of this global shift to virtual operations was unprecedented as researchers, local and international collaborators, funding and governmental agencies, and research administration professional all moved towards a virtual work environment primarily working alone and from home.

Over 18 months after the initial declaration, the world is moving towards what is being called the “new normal”, with continued precautionary restrictions (e.g. vaccination requirements, use of face masks, periodic testing of employees for COVD-19 virus, etc.). One of the major changes in this new normal impacting the employees, especially also research managers and administrators is the move towards alternative work schedules which include a continuation of working remotely or a hybrid work schedule in which employees split their times between working remotely and in their offices. The experiences of the past 18 months have shown that research managers across the globe have continued to provide their research community with the support needed effectively and efficiently and that the new work schedules offer them to balance their needs with those of their jobs.

While a remote or hybrid work environment provides many benefits for both employers (e.g. ability to recruit employees from a wider geographical area or retain the existing workforce) and employees, it also offers some disadvantages for the employees as they become somewhat isolated from their colleagues at work. This is where the important role of Research Management Associations across the globe grows significantly in the “new normal”! Associations have played an important role in bringing the research management and administration communities together and help connecting them; this is the moment where this role becomes critical and where the Associations can become the solid bridge between the membership in exchanging experiences, foster knowledge transfer and reciprocal learning.

In this discussion session we hope to initiate a spark exchange amongst participants on this important topic to identify specific actions that the Associations can take individually, or collectively, to help the research management and administration community to stay connected with each other for the benefit of the researchers whom they serve.