There is little doubt that the world of research administration is an environment in a constant state of flux. Whether it is changing regulations from federal sources, internal transitions in staffing, changes to policy and procedure, or just the constant flow of deadlines and responsibilities, there is always something happening.
Individuals who serve as research administrators are called upon to be change agents, grant writers, accountants, human resource managers, property managers, purchasing agents, compliance officers, collection officers, office assistants and so much more. Depending on the “hat” you are wearing at the moment, you could be interpreted as the “good cop” or the “bad cop” by those whom you serve.
Succeeding in this type of position, therefore, requires a tremendous aptitude to communicate, learn, adapt and organize.
In light of this, many entities are trying to more aptly prepare individuals who may be interested in the field of research administration. As many are aware, the research administrator role was something that individuals just “happened” to come across rather than specifically choose. But really, for such a challenging and demanding field, would it not be more effective to train individuals to succeed? Institutions began to see the need, and now, Graduate and Master Degree courses are offered at many institutions, specifically to help prepare the next generation of research administrators. Continued education is also offered through professional organizations, conferences, webinar series, traveling workshops, and professional list serves. This has heightened collaboration with other research administrators and enabled a once “happenstance” profession to become a growing world-wide field.
In addition, resources, catered specifically to the needs of research administrators, have also been developed. Software platforms to facilitate equipment management, financial and human resource management, funding opportunities and application tracking, compliance management and so much more.
Little do many realize how much impact the growth in this field has created, not only in direct support of the day to day operations of researchers, but also to the general economic state of the world around us. Commerce, through the development of resources to support not only the research, but now research administration, has directly created jobs that years ago, did not exist. It has generated breakthrough technologies and helped enlighten our world. Have you contemplated the role that you and your profession directly have on the world around you?
Through this more contemplative blog, we are looking to simply acknowledge the many individuals who serve in the various roles research administrators are responsible for on a day to day basis. Your continued efforts to grow and advance yourselves and your profession have not gone unnoticed by the world around you.
To your credit, a national day of recognition has also been instituted. Annually, on September 25, we recognize individuals who bear much of the responsibility in ensuring the continued growth and success of research around the world. What will you do to acknowledge and celebrate those around you in such positions this year? We would love to know! Share some insight on your planned events in the comments below.