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Research managers call for Ukraine invasion to end now

Image: Craig Nicholson for Research Professional News

Earma 2022: European Association of Research Managers and Administrators meeting hears of “darker” global outlook

Some of Europe’s most senior figures in research management and funding have called for an end to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, as they gathered with hundreds of their colleagues in Oslo.

What should have been a joyous return to in-person meetings for the European Association of Research Managers and Administrators after the pandemic was tempered as over 1,000 conference delegates held a minute’s silence for affected Ukrainians at the opening session of the conference on 5 May.

Earma chair Evelina Brännvall described the invasion as “unacceptable”, said it “must stop immediately” and led the minute’s silence.

‘Darker’ global outlook

This year—the first time the conference has been held in person since 2019 because of the pandemic—the association has forgone gift packs for delegates in favour of making a €5,000 donation to Ukraine.

Following Brännvall, Mari Sundli Tveit, the chief executive of the Research Council of Norway, described the war in Ukraine as “gruesome and meaningless” and “devastating” for Ukrainians. She also called for the conflict to end immediately.

Sundli Tveit (pictured) said that the global outlook had become “darker” since the last in-person Earma conference, citing the war and problems including climate change and biodiversity loss.

She said that the response to such problems must be “knowledge-based” and stressed the “essential” role of research managers and administrators in supporting the production of new knowledge through research.

Record attendance

Organisers said this year’s Earma conference was the biggest ever, with the largest-ever attendance and the most abstracts submitted.

The conference was years in the planning, having been postponed due to the pandemic.

“My heart is really dancing now, seeing so many people here today”, said Brännvall.

But she also implored delegates to donate to Earma’s Ukraine appeal, and to remember those colleagues who could not be there due to the conflict.

Read more news from the conference on the Research Professional News Earma 2022 page.