Navigating the Career Maze
Research Management and Administration (RMA) is a profession with diverse job roles and opportunities, making it professionally challenging to identify suitable career pathways/possibilities.
Over three years ago, I joined the research management and advancement profession as Research Outputs Officer, providing research outputs support services towards researcher’s performance and excellence. This role was in the research communication end of the research lifecycle. I later transitioned into a research administration role in less than a year, providing research support services towards identifying research funding opportunities and reviewing grant applications to ensure compliance and eligibility. In this current role, I also assist with the internal approval of funding proposals before final submission to the funding body. In addition, I organize research development sessions and work at the interface of researcher, research organization and external stakeholders. As an early career research administrator, I observed that the profession has diverse job roles and opportunities, making it professionally challenging to identify suitable career pathways/possibilities.
Having decided upon research management and administration as a profession, I embarked on a journey to understand the career possibilities available for career planning and progression. This quest led to the collation of various publicly advertised research management related job roles in Australia, where I'm currently based over a period of one year.
What I found
Over 400 research management positions were advertised by 37 universities across
Australia. These positions were further classified into ten major areas of research management and administration including Research Ethics and Integrity, Research Training (Doctorate and Masters by research candidature management), Intellectual Property and Commercialization, Research Engagement and Impact, Research Funding (comprising of pre-award and post-award/subaward), Research Governance, Research Performance and Analysis, Research Project Management, Research Strategic Partnership and Research Development.
Navigating career maze
Deciding the proper career pathway for an early career research administrator could be likened to navigating through a career maze. This will involve a careful career plan, available skills, interests, and professional mentorship. There is a need for early career research administrators to be able to engage with well-established professionals to tap from their wealth of experience towards career progression.
In conclusion, although the RMA professional has diverse job roles and opportunities, choosing the right career pathway could be a daunting task but with proper planning, professional development, career interests, mentorship and acquired skillsets, navigating the career maze could become much easier than expected.
Authored by Dr. Olumide Odeyemi, ARMS(F), Research Administration Officer
University of Tasmania