RAAAP-2: Research Administration as a Profession – The Return
For those with a long memory you may recall the original Research Administration as a Profession survey from 2016 and the publication of the results (Kerridge & Scott. 2018a) and data (Kerridge & Scott 2018b). That initial survey was funded by NCURA, one of SRAI’s sister associations, and the results were deemed so interesting and useful enough that INORMS, the International Network of Research Management Societies that SRAI is a founder member of, created a working group to devise a follow-on survey.
This INORMS RAAAP Taskforce was created in 2018 and included a number of the original investigators as well as some “new blood”. The survey itself was run in the latter part of 2019. By now we would have hoped to have completed all the work and shared all the results, but we all know about 2020…
Anyway, here we can at least provide an update for SRAI members, and let you know what you might expect to see, and when. The RAAAP-1 survey was deigned to answer the question “are soft/transferrable skills more important than hard/technical skills for research administration leaders”. The answer is a resounding yes – and indeed this is also true for more junior research administrators too. With that question answered it was decided that the RAAAP-2 survey should start to build a longitudinal dataset about the profession and that with each iteration we would take a more in-depth look at a particular area. For RAAAP-2 it was agreed that the “guest” area would be centered around research impact and public engagement with research, to compliment another INORMS Working Group, RISE - Research Impact and Stakeholder Engagement Working Group, led by David Phipps and Julie Bayley (INORMS 2021). Figure 1 shows the differences between RAAAP-1 and RAAAP-2.
The RAAAP-2 questionnaire was developed over 2018/19 and launched in the autumn of 2019 and closed just before the year end. This elicited an amazing 4,325 responses from over 70 countries. When you add in the 2,691 responses from the first survey in 2016 you can see the potential insights that the data will provide. Many thanks to all those that took part in the survey - as mentioned, the longer term ambition is to build a longitudinal data set about our profession.
As a sneak preview, but to be considered as draft results, there are some areas where the two data sets show a very stable picture of the profession. For example, worldwide, around three-quarters of respondents were full time research administrators, and around 1 in 20 were part-time. The remaining fifth combine research administration with other role such as other professional administration, or indeed research itself. So if you juggle research administration with another role then you are not alone! While some research administrators – perhaps half - have an educational background similar to the subject area(s) of the researchers that they support, only about a third deem this is important. Perhaps we are attracted to areas that we understand better, or maybe some just migrated from research-to-research administration, or perhaps the recruiting panels think that we need to have more of an understand / affinity with the research areas that we support than we actually need. Further work is needed to address these and many other questions that the data can shine a light on.
We are still just about on schedule to have cleansed, anonymized, and checked the 2019 data and started the analyses for presentation at the INORMS congress in May, so watch this space for further details later in the year. In the interim check the INORMS RAAAP webpages at https://inorms.net/activities/raaap-taskforce/ or drop us a line.
INORMS (2021) Research Impact and Stakeholder Engagement Working Group https://inorms.net/activities/research-impact-and-stakeholder-engagement-working-group/ accessed 22 Feb 2021]
Kerridge, S., & Scott, S. F. (2018a) Research Administration around the world. Research Management Review. 2018; 23(1). Available at: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/68543/1/v23_n_1_Kerridge_Scott.pdf
Kerridge, S., & Scott, S. F. (2018b). RAAAP Main Dataset. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.5930257 [accessed 22 Feb 2021]
Simon Kerridge, Jennifer Shambrook, and Cindy Kiel authored this article, the other members of the core group were Patrice Ajai-Ajagbe (Pivot Global Education Consulting Group), Bryony Wakefield (University of Melbourne), Stephanie Scott (Columbia University), and Deborah Zornes (Royal Roads Univeristy). See https://inorms.net/activities/raaap-taskforce/ for details of the other 40 research administrators from around the world who helped devise the questionnaire and distribute it through their various associations.
||Simon Kerridge, Director of Research Policy & Support, University of Kent
||Cindy Kiel, Executive Associate Vice Chancellor for Research, University of California Davis
||Jennifer Shambrook, Director of Grant and Contract Administration, University of Central Florida