EARMA Conference Prague 2023


Structuring the TARMA

Structuring the National Research Administrators Association of Türkiye: TARMA


EARMA Conference Prague 2023

Format: Oral 60 Minutes

Topic: EARMA and professional associations


Associations offer effective networking opportunities between professionals, provide easy access to privileged resources, as well as education and training services for their members. RMA associations play a key role in a highly competitive research ecosystem. They also provide strategic research design and administration, grant management, dissemination of research outputs, ethics, professional support, assistance, and reporting issues services. Further, RMAs are crucial for organizing project events, increasing funding opportunities, and training project experts. EARMA, for example, as the leading RMA association in Europe, generates a worldwide networking platform from around 350 institutions and facilitates reaching funding opportunities, and offers courses and training for the members. Despite their importance, however, the development of RMAs has been somewhat limited at national levels in contrast to the increase in the number of research administrators and the amount of research funding.
The competitive and collaborative nature of the research ecosystem dictates understanding the local dynamics and necessities in order to create an ideal structure of a national RMA. This study aims to analyze those necessities by a qualitative approach and discuss the possibility of the creation, establishment, and organization of an envisaged RMA in Türkiye. To this end, the research utilizes a qualitative methodology based on elite/expert interviews with eleven selected RMA offices of Turkish research universities at A1, A2, and A3 levels (as ranked by the Higher Education Council of Türkiye) and the ten most successful Turkish industrial organizations that received grants from the EU Framework Programs.
Since Türkiye is one of the largest beneficiaries of the EU funding programs, including Horizon Europe, Erasmus+, and IPA, it is an ideal case for research to analyze specific requirements for a national RMA association model. 623.814 organizations from Türkiye were involved as a beneficiary in the Horizon2020 program between 2014 and 2020, while 1.175.772 organizations applied to be funded. In addition to EU funds, Turkish researchers receive grants from various other international organizations’ funding programs, including the United Nations, the IAEA, and the Newton Fund. At the national level, funding organizations in Türkiye such as TÜBİTAK, İSTKA, and several others have been offering an increasing amount of research grants allocated for Turkish organizations. Unfortunately, this growing interest in national and international projects does not reflect itself on the required expertise and collaboration among research managers and administrators. Although this need is discussed in various policy papers and workshop reports, it has not so far been operationalized. Moreover, in the absence of a collaborative body, the research and project offices in Türkiye confront with the challenge of finding quality Research Managers or training their existing staff to become one. A national RMA in Türkiye would facilitate proper training, certification, representation, collaboration, and dissemination services during pre-award and post-award processes. This research, based on the feedback received during in-depth interviews with leading experts, offers an ideal structure, functions, processes, and funding of a collaborative organization and thus lays the foundation of a future nationwide RMA in Türkiye.