– Writing a data management plan – that’s what applicants struggle with, said Maléne Fouché and laughed wholeheartedly. I had been in South Africa for less than 12 hours but during the meeting with Maléne, the director of Research Integrity & National Grants cluster at the Stellenbosch University (SU), I came to the realization that there may be more similarities in research management between our countries than I initially expected. The coming two weeks seemed to be shaping up as extremely interesting both from the standpoint of my professional career and from the perspective of any cultural differences I might run into.
I was selected as a StoRM (Strengthening of Collaboration, Leadership and Professionalisation in Research Management) intern, and in February I got to spend two weeks at the SU in South Africa. StoRM is funded by the Erasmus+ programme and in a nutshell its aim is to exchange knowledge, tools and best practices in the field of research management between European and South African higher education institutions.
The biggest EU funding programme for research and innovation so far, Horizon 2020, is in its last pages, before we will step into a new era of Horizon Europe. The new programme holds a lot of expectations for improvements related to, for example, creation of more impact with citizens’ involvement and mission-oriented approach, strengthening of international cooperation, and creation of new approaches to partnerships – including Global South participation. At the same time, there are several uncertainties related to these. Moreover, different actors – universities, research institutes, industrial sector and enterprises – have different, sometimes also conflicting, expectations. From the universities’ point of view it will be crucial, how much funding will be allocated to research, also outside of the excellence science scheme. This is, however, difficult to evaluate yet, as we don’t know the details of the Pillar 2 of the programme (Global Challenges and Industrial Competitiveness), and especially about the Missions – a novel aspect of the programme located in this pillar.
A version of this article first appeared in Funding Insight on 8th November 2018 and is reproduced with kind permission of Research Professional. For more articles like this, visit www.researchprofessional.com
A scientific advisory board may feel like an unnecessary luxury, but it can be crucial for the success of any large, complex project, says Maria Maunula of the University of Turku in Finland.
Maria’s top tips
- A scientific advisory board can be useful throughout the lifetime of a project, from proposal development to final report.
- The cost of an advisory board is small compared with the benefits it can bring to a project.
- Make sure your advisory board includes both friends and critics, and that it represents all fields in an interdisciplinary project.
- When inviting members to take part, give them time to consider it, and give them as much information as you can about the project.
Funders are becoming increasingly risk averse. Most need some reassurance that researchers have in place systems or structures that can deal with any weaknesses or problems they encounter in their work. One important way that academics can reassure funders is by having a scientific advisory board as part of their projects.
Teamwork by Nick Youngson CC BY-SA 3.0 Alpha Stock Image
Suomen Akatemian uusimman STN-rahoituksen (Strategisen tutkimuksen neuvosto) aiehaun hakuinfo oli Helsingissä marraskuun lopulla. Nyt on taas tilaisuus tehdä tutkimusta yhteistyössä toisen tieteenalan tutkijoiden kanssa. Juurikin siis niiden etäisesti tuttujen tieteentekijöiden kanssa sieltä naapurirakennuksesta, jonka ohi kuljet päivittäin töihin tietämättä kovin tarkkaan, mitä siellä itse asiassa tutkitaan. Jos nimittäin jotain asiaa Akatemian STN-ohjelmassa painotetaan, niin se on poikkitieteellinen tutkimus. STN-ohjelman rahoittaman tutkimuksen tulee olla aidosti monitieteellistä yhteistyötä, jossa ongelmien ratkaisemiseksi ei riitä ainoastaan oma asiantuntemus, vaan myös sitä naapurirakennuksen tutkijakollegaa on hyvä kysyä mukaan. Ei sekään vielä riitä! STN-rahoitetun tutkimuksen yhtenä vaatimuksena on nimittäin se, että hankkeessa tulee olla edustettuna vähintään kolme eri tutkimusalaa.