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Concordat on research manager careers mooted


Arma 2022: Organisation will investigate job standardisation, but “cannot promise” a formal agreement

The Association of Research Managers and Administrators will “look into” developing a concordat on research manager careers, its chair has said.

Speaking at the group’s annual conference in Newcastle on 22 November, Jennifer Johnson said Arma will consider creating a piece of work that sets out career pathways, job titles and job descriptions for the profession.

“We cannot promise that we will deliver a concordat,” she said, “but we will certainly look into it.”

Following concerns raised by conference delegates that there is no standardisation of job titles and descriptions for those working in research management, Johnson raised the point that career principles are set out for other professions in the research and higher education sector.

She pointed to the Researcher Development Concordat, an agreement between funders, institutions, researchers and managers to improve the employment of, and support for, researchers in higher education in the UK. The concordat was introduced in 1996, with a revised version released in 2019.

For technicians, an initiative was developed last year to ensure the visibility, recognition, career development and sustainability of technical staff. Under the Technician Commitment, more than 90 universities and research institutions have pledged action on the key challenges affecting technical staff.

Johnson said: “Why is there a Technician Commitment and a concordat for the development of researchers, but there isn’t one for research management. I don’t know.”

Arma will look at whether there is a project or piece of work it can do “along the lines” of the Technician Commitment and the Researcher Development Concordat, Johnson added.

She said it would look at ways in which careers can link together, and at different expectations on the development of staff that will “help” within institutions in terms of making the case for investment in staff development.