Professional Development and Advocating for it: What a Great Way to “Re-“start!

By SRAI News posted 08-11-2021 03:39 PM


Professional Development and Advocating for it: What a Great Way to “Re-“start!

What could be a better way to step-on with the new normal, than to attend the upcoming SRAI Annual Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana? Over the past year and a half, opportunities for in-person professional development in fields of Research Administration and Grants Management have been extremely limited.

We are so excited to bring you this opportunity to join us in-person in the great City of New Orleans for the 2021 SRAI Annual Meeting. The Co-chairs of the Annual Meeting, along with SRAI Headquarters have endeavored to bring you a very exciting and innovative educational program for those new to the profession, mid-career research administrators and high-level decision makers. This meeting will not only give you the opportunity to continue your quest for learning but will also provide you with an opportunity for in-person networking. This is something we have all very much missed during the pandemic.

The amount of dollars spent on research globally is increasing. To meet this growing need, it’s imperative that we continue to train and educate ourselves and our staff in the ever-changing research administration landscape. These efforts will have tremendous effects on the institution’s long-term capacities of managing grants and contracts at all levels and will help to better position our scientists and investigators in the research world.

I still remember the day when I bumped into this dynamic field purely out of a Marketing background and had absolutely no clue whatsoever how grants were managed. I have been fortunate to have amazing mentors, who are globally acknowledged seasoned researchers, , and who  also understood the need to invest in people who are tasked with effectively managing research grants. We need this kind of motivation and understanding, not only from our researchers but also from our community members who are working in leadership positions. I strongly feel we need to have concrete plan for professionally developing our research administration staff; a plan that is supported by all stakeholders including but not limited to investigators, departmental managers, school deans, and the highest institutional authority of research. An executable plan that provides equal opportunities for staff to receive required training and development that will not only benefit their professional growth but will also support the institutions’ mission to excel in research and development.

We all are very constrained and that is a global fact.  However, what should not be affected is our ability to learn and grow. Learning from all possible avenues and available resources, no matter how small they appear to be, is so very important. One of the less expensive learning opportunities available to research administration professionals is the SRAI annual meeting whereby one gets to “engage” with people of similar interests from across the globe and augment his or her learning by sharing their wonderful experiences amongst fellow colleagues. I have personally learned a lot by attending SRAI meetings and trust me it wasn’t easy for me to do while sitting miles away from the North American continent. The meetings and network opportunities have supported me in enriching my experience, learning from other attendees and sharing my side of stories to know how I can do my job better. I have no doubt that SRAI meetings have benefitted many others as well and will continue to do so in the future.

We are excited to be seeing you all this October in NOLA!

Learn more and register for the 2021 Annual Meeting today!


Authored by Mir Asghar Ali Kahn, MRA (UCF), MBA, Director, Research and Grants Administration, Institute for Global Health and Development, and Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health
The Aga Khan University, South East and Central Asia, and the United Kingdom
2021 SRAI Annual Meeting Co-chair