EARMA Conference Oslo


foRMAtion educational module for future RMAs

Lessons learnt and impacts measured


Virág Zsár


  • C
    Cristina Oliveira


EARMA Conference Oslo

Format: Pecha Kucha

Topic: Professional Development and Recognition

Session: B1 - Professional Development and Recognition: 5 separate Pecha Kuchas

Thursday 5 May 9:15 a.m. - 10:15 a.m. (UTC)


The project foRMAtion was launched in 2019 to develop an elective educational module for undergraduate students with any background, providing the opportunity to get a first glimpse on the RMA profession. Following the elaboration of the international curriculum and the teaching materials, the module has been launched and tested at three partner universities based in Portugal, Hungary and Romania during two semesters. The curriculum includes topics related to research methodology & design, research funding, policy & governance, project integration & management, as well as research impact & engagement. Teachers followed the Project Based Learning methodology, and developed innovative and interactive teaching tools and strategies.

As there are very few university programmes dedicated to RMA training, and more importantly, these are running mostly in the US and/or focusing on training postgraduates who are already in the profession, the elaboration and implementation of this unique module raised relevant questions to be discussed within the RMA community:
Is the RMA profession an appealing topic for an undergraduate student?
Is it possible at all and how to prepare undergraduate students with various backgrounds for the RMA profession?
What is the most appropriate education level and format to provide an insight to the RMA profession and present it as a career option?
What kind of background the teachers need to successfully educate future RMAs?
To what extent is it possible to teach the knowledge necessary for the profession and provide opportunity for skill and capacity development?
Moreover, due to the unique and experimental nature of the project, the assessment of the impact of the project activities have also been carried out through qualitative methodologies including questionnaires completed by students and interviews with the teachers. The preliminary results not only underlined the relevance of the module with regard to the development and awareness of the profession but provided useful information for the adjustment of the course materials and teaching methods.
Accordingly, short-term impacts have been detected at various levels, such as the level of:
students who became aware of the RMA profession and motivated towards it as a career choice, got unique opportunity to work on projects in team, extended their knowledge and developed their skills through innovative tools;
teachers and researchers who got a better understanding on the R&I funding system and the job roles of RMAs, whereas improved their skills and capacities,
university administration and leadership who started to acknowledge the need for skilled RMAs and well-organized research support offices, and benefited from an enlarged education portfolio, and so on.
The next step of foRMAtion project is to adjust the educational module based on the experiences and lessons learnt and support the successful take-up of the educational module by other universities throughout Europe and, as such, contribute to the better awareness on the profession and preparedness of potential career entrants. The questions raised above and possible strategies of knowledge transfer to other university settings will be presented and discussed with the audience.