Are you contemplating doing the EARMA Certificate in Research Management (CRM) course? Then read on and discover my story on undertaking this journey. It took me 2,5 (Corona) years, extensive time and effort, huge amounts of resilience but especially the never-ending support of a very patient and enthusiastic mentor to get me through this particular EARMA course. Trying to explain this journey to my colleagues, I jokingly called this my ‘mini PhD’ which says enough.
Now that I have finally completed the course, passing my last assignment on June 10th, the feeling that everything has finally come together is overwhelming: my knowledge and experience of 10+ years of managing a young research centre have now been integrated in the six assignments covering the full range of my work. The CRM course has really made me appreciate the fact that the work of a research manager needs to be professional in every aspect. You are not the topic expert, but you do have the overview and knowledge of what the research environment is all about in order to make the right decisions for the support unit, for the organization as well as for the researcher. It is crucial that you have this ability and leadership in the ever-changing research environment to do a good job.
Realizing that our day-to-day work is actually based on academic literature and knowledge, (European) rules, regulations and policy as well as being strongly practice-oriented as well as very erratic was a real eye-opener. The biggest advantage of the CRM course is that you take your own organization and research unit as unit of analyses in the assignments. This really gives you extremely valuable insights and information into how your unit is performing, what you may be missing and where improvements can be made (both quick fixes as well as the long term strategic choices). It fills in the blind spots that you have accumulated over the years because you have become part of the organizational system. It opens up the European perspective and requirements in so many ways, lifting you out of your national comfort zone. And most importantly, it offers you a lovely international network of fellow managers and research supporters, some of whom become dear friends.
All in all, I am very happy that I took this opportunity and stuck to getting the job done, despite corona and lack of face-to-face training. The course has really enriched me as a Research Manager and as a person and I look forward to applying all the lessons learned. So if you are contemplating the course, I would be delighted to lend you an encouraging ear should you have any questions.
Lucy Kerstens, Manager Research Centre Faculty Business and Economics
Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences.