EARMA Conference Oslo


IBEC Projects Office: An integral, personalised and tailor-made Research Management Support


Isabel Saez



EARMA Conference Oslo

Format: Fifteen-Minute Discussion Tables

Topic: Organising Support Services & Team Building

Session: BLUE2 - 15 Minute Discussion Tables - Organising Support Services & Team Building

Thursday 5 May 11:45 a.m. - 12:45 p.m. (UTC)


The Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC) is a research institute that spans all bioengineering fields, making it an international reference in the field. IBEC was established in 2005 and currently hosts 23 research groups and more than 300 researchers and staff who work in an interdisciplinary environment, (i.e. nanomedicine, biophysics, biotechnology, tissue engineering and ICT for health). IBEC is one of the few Spanish research centres of excellence awarded twice with the ‘Severo Ochoa’ grant and is also a member of the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST).
Herein we present the practical case of IBEC Projects Office (IBEC-PO), an office with a unique model and structure carefully designed to (i) provide a personalized and integral support to each research group, (ii) strengthen IBEC’s participation and success in national and international calls, and (iii) assist and integrate the institutional research strategy. IBEC-PO is currently composed of 7 Project Managers (PMs) with scientific backgrounds (PhD level), 2 Funding Managers (FM), 1 Assistant and the Head of the Unit.
The structure of IBEC-PO aims at providing integral support to research groups that goes beyond management of their scientific activities. This is implemented by assigning 2-3 IBEC groups to each PM, thus allowing a close management and follow-up of their activities, while FM and Assistant focus on the administrative side of the project’s implementation. Considering the multidisciplinarity of the research fields at IBEC, the scientific background of our PMs allows additional scientific support and discussion during the crucial phase of the proposal preparation. Remarkably, this characteristic has been very highly appreciated by our researchers. Thus, in our model, the integration of the PMs within the research group is fundamental to have a global vision of the group’s needs.
IBEC-PO is involved in the whole life-cycle of the project, including pre and post-award management, being responsible for the preparation and management of national and international research projects and fellowship grants. Each PM is specialized in all research programs regardless of the funding source, making this structure flexible and easily scalable to a larger number of research groups. Hence, the calls are strategically selected based on the specific group’s needs and expertise.
This model has already proven to be successful, as evidenced by the competitive funding acquired throughout the last years: participation in more than 90 European projects within the framework programmes FP6, FP7 and H2020, including 20 ERCs, 10 FETs and the coordination of more than 15 grants, among others.
Summarizing, the uniqueness of IBEC-PO model relies on having a global vision of both the research group and the institution, which allows for a more targeted and efficient management aligned with the group interests, IBEC strategy and the (inter)national scientific landscape. We believe this is the future model for institutional Projects Offices, in which PMs are not only administrative managers but represent an integral support system for the researchers.