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‘We need recognition,’ say research managers

Image: Daniel Cressey for Research Professional News

Earma 2022: research managers and administrators are still not properly valued, conference hears

The chair of Europe’s professional body for research managers and administrators has called for more recognition of the role that she and her colleagues play in the creation of research.

Evelina Brännvall, chair of the European Association of Research Managers and Administrators, told the opening session of the Earma annual conference on 5 May that the European Commission was finally recognising the importance of the role.

But while she welcomed the fact that research management was being acknowledged with EU funding and via the European Skills Agenda, Brännvall (pictured second from right) said her profession was still not properly valued.

Many research managers and administrators transition from working as researchers, she said, and gain new skills as a result. But sometimes their status appears to decline.

“We are not valued as a former researcher. Nothing changed—we just gained a lot more skills,” said Brännvall, who works as a research funding specialist at Luleå University of Technology in Sweden.

To applause from the audience, she insisted: “We need recognition.”

Skills recognition

Highlighting how Earma members can contribute to the research process, Brännvall noted that they work with cutting-edge research across multiple disciplines. She said this knowledge could make them useful contributors to processes such as the EU’s foresight work, which seeks to identify challenges ahead for the bloc.

“There is already a trend in the European Commission to support our community,” she said. “What funders and the Commission could do is recognise our skills and make it possible to give back with our skills.” 

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