Promoting Global Research Management - Engage with INORMS

INORMS brings together research management societies and associations from across the world. The network enables member societies to compare their national or regional issues, and to learn from each other. The significant growth of the International Network of Research Management Societies (INORMS) congress and conference sizes in recent years, reflects the increasing role and relevance of INORMS as a platform.

The INORMS 2018 Conference

Member societies take turns to host INORMS conferences, which are held every two years. The 2018 conference hosted by ARMA[1] themed 'Promoting Global Research Management, Supporting Global Research Challenges' was the biggest yet, with over 1,100 delegates from across 45 countries.
INORMS 2018 Welcome SessionWelcome session, INORMS 2018, the Edinburgh International Conference Centre. 

Key themes that emerged from the 2018 conference discussions included the growing scope of Research Management and Administration (RMA), particularly in light of demand for greater accountability of research funds.
For example, as highlighted in the session on Public trust of, and public engagement in, science, the growing research impact agenda is driving ‘Public Engagement’ as a new role for both researchers and RMAs. And, although there may be some differences in the focus of the impact agenda across regions (e.g. in UK, there is currently more of a focus on evidence of ‘What’ has happened; and in Canada, there is currently more of a focus on ‘How’ to create conditions of maximising impact), overall, the ‘Who’ is the common challenge, relevant to us all i.e. who are the people doing the work, what are their required skills and competencies, and how to meet these requirements. This must be tackled at administrative as well as researcher, and institutional/ policy level.
Another key theme was the growing requirement for internationalisation and international collaborations in research: Particularly in light of the current focus on collaborative research to address global challenges, and shrinking public spending (as highlighted in the session on Running a research university in an era of austerity politics and laissez faire economics). Research universities appreciate the need for efficiencies around forming and managing international collaborations, thus the pertinence of tapping into international networks and activities concerned with RMA.
As usual, the ACU was present at and contributed to the 2018 INORMS conference. ACU staff sat on a number of panels, delivered presentations and provided bursaries to support the attendance of delegates from member universities (COMSATS, Pakistan and University of Zambia) to attend the congress.

The INORMS congress

In addition to facilitating conferences for Research Managers and Administrators (RMAs) from across the world, INORMS is also a congress of the professional associations that support Research Management and Administration. 

The ACU is a founding INORMS member and in recognition of our work in research management, remains the only member of INORMS that is not a professional association. Since the start of the ACU’s Research Management (RM) programme in 2001, it has been clear to us that in addition to supporting RMA within universities, we must also actively support the development of the environment external to universities (such as professional associations) to support developments in RMA practice within universities and to help ensure their sustainability. For example, through the (RIMI4AC[2]) project we supported the establishment and strengthening of Professional Associations and networks for RMA in Africa and the Caribbean.

Experience from our activities in this area, does indeed point to a correlation between the establishment of professional associations/ networks for RMA, and recognition and development of RMA practice within universities. This, considering current key challenges in RMA, as highlighted by the 2018 conference - as well as the role of professional associations in the development of RMA practice - individuals working in countries and regions that currently do not have professional associations, are encouraged to establish professional associations or at least networks for RMAs and engage with INORMS.

INORMS 2018 GraphImage: Countries/regions with professional associations for RMA
*The information is based on INORMS membership and ACU projects

Up until 2014, INORMS conferences typically attracted between 400 to just over 500 delegates. However, the last two congresses have each seen significant increases in participation, from the immediate previous congress – with over 860 delegates at the 2016 INORMS conference and over 1,100 delegates in 2018.

This growth no doubt reflects need in RMA - and judging by the geographic representation of the current associations (and the 2018 conference themes), there is room and need for continued growth in the INORMS community. Wider engagement with INORMS benefits everyone.

Visit the INORMS website for further information.

[1] ARMA is the Association of Research Managers and Administrators (UK)

[2] The Research and Innovation Management for Africa and the Caribbean (RIMI4AC) - funded by the EU ACP Science and Technology Programme – project ran from 2009-2013 and sought to increase the capacity of research and innovation (R&I) managers, as well as the effectiveness of R&I management in universities and other institutions that produce research in these regions.  The project also sought to strengthen and / or establish professional research management associations for these regions. The project consortium, (led by SARIMA, also an INORMS member ), comprised six universities in African and the Caribbean, as well as  Research Africa, Research and Innovation Management Services Belgium, and The Association of Commonwealth Universities

Patrice Ajai-Ajagbe is Programme Officer at the Association of Commonwealth Universities. She manages the ACU's research management programme which supports professionalisation and benchmarking in RMA.

The Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) is one of the founding members of INORMS and continues to play a role in the internationalisation of research management. Find out more here.

Last modified on 06/09/2018
Tags: research, Member Communities, ACU Research, Knowledge and Information Community, INORMS