|African Research and Innovation Management Associations (RIMAs) plans for the Professionalisation of Research Management|
|Wednesday, 01 June 2016 14:02|
A National Research Foundation (SA) study of research management based on scholarly evidence, case studies and a review of institutional performance indicators concludes that research managers are enablers of research. And in a presentation at the recent Southern African Research and Innovation Management Association (SARIMA) conference, Garry Asalayan of the World Health Organisation – Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (WHO-TDR) commented that from research and aid granting funders’ perspective, the role of research managers is recognized as a necessary cross-cutting activity that positively affects the results, outcomes and value for money.
SARIMA’s President Dr Jose Jackson-Malete
SARIMA’s President Dr Jose Jackson-Malete explained the purpose and implementation of a bold SADC and African inter-regional programme, funded by the South African Department of Science and Technology (DST) and WHO-TDR. In Phase 1 the main result has been the production of a customised Professional Competency Framework (PCF) that identifies key competencies in nine areas and related skills for each, ranging from generic to specialisation. In the past year SARIMA has facilitated a data-driven, consultative process with employers and other stakeholders, research managers, and with the assistance of the West, East and Central African RIMAs.
The consultations and focus groups have revealed that there is a need for two routes to certification as a professional; one is a mechanism for accreditation of work experience and in service short course training and continuing professional development (CPD) and the other is via certified academic post-graduate degrees, at Masters and PhD levels.
In Phase 2 the use of the PCF will inform the mechanisms for accreditation and will be a framework for both individual career-paths and institutional succession-planning. There will be two paths to professional accreditation. Planning is underway to set up an International Accreditation Council that will be a peer-review mechanism that will evaluate work experience portfolios.
The evaluation will be based on the number of years worked the research management, and will result in a certification in either research management or research leadership.The other will be an academic qualification. SARIMA will be putting a seed fund for universities to bid for the development of Masters degrees in research management. Co-design and joint degree awarding approaches will be favoured, as will a modularized, flexible, blended learning curriculum structure, so that candidates can accumulate certification points toward the Masters degree.
The identification of Research Uptake and Utilisation as one of the 9 competency areas in the PCF, within the context of the work that the DFID-funded DRUSSA programme has undertaken with the RIMAs over the past five years, is a favourable outcome and one of the programme’s legacies in support of capacity strengthening of sub-Saharan African universities and RIMAs.
Diana Coates is a co-leader of the DRUSSA project, and DRUSSA Communications and Engagement Co-ordinator Email: Diana.Coates@gmail.com