THE EUROPEAN ASSOCIATION OF RESEARCH MANAGERS AND ADMINISTRATORS
First of all, SARIMA 10th anniversary Conference was a big success. It was held at the seashore town of Port Elisabeth within the beautiful compound of Pine Lodge resort just receiving the pleasant refreshing breeze from the ocean behind the corner. And the conference itself was fantastic. Both referring to its topics and its deeply interested and involved audience.
SARIMA serves both the group of research managers and technology transfer officers. The program of the Conference fully respects this division. One track was aimed at project managers, the second one for TT officials. And then there was a special additional track related to research managers professional development. Excellent speakers including Dr. David Langley, Director of Research and Enterprise Development of University of Bristol (unfortunately I haven´t asked him why he is not a member of EARMA yet) or Dr. Ashley J. Stevens of Osaka University, earlier of Boston University, very much contributed to the success of the event. Next to these excellent international guests there were experienced and enthusiastic speakers from South African universities or other regional universities from Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and other countries.
There was enough to celebrate. Ten years of uninterrupted development accompanied with smooth transfer of presidency and other functions in SARIMA management. The term of current president Dr. Michele Mulder is drawing to an end and the new president, Dr. Aldo Stroebel of University of Free State is preparing to take a power at the beginning of next year. New challenges are expected during his presidency term. There will be new demands for research management resulting from changing conditions in research funding both in Africa and Europe. There will be growing pressure on research management internationalization given by the fact that data are available any time and anywhere. There will be growing pressure on closer co-operation of research managers not only with external funding bodies but also with internal units as International Offices, Libraries, TTOs, Financial Offices, Promotion Offices and others. And there will be pressures on growing professionalization of research managers as well. All of these and much more other not mentioned challenges refer not only to SARIMA but also to EARMA. Also for these reasons it is worth to join our forces and work together.
Some topics of SARIMA conference shows that our interests are very similar. Let us take for example “Research collaboration and networking: the role of the research manager”, “Internationalization and its impact on research institutions”, “Role of Research Manager to Advance Research and Innovation”. I could continue…
In the past Europe could have served Africa in many regards as a model. In research management that saying needn´t be always true, especially as far as South Africa is concerned. We both are at the beginning of the new not explored journey in changing environment of research funding and we both will have to face the same challenges. There is a big room for collaboration. And perhaps not only with SARIMA. There are also West African Research and Innovation Management Association (WARIMA), East African Research and Innovation Management Association (EARIMA). WARIMA has a conference in October in Nigeria. Network of networks don´t have any boundaries….And SARIMA is definitely a partner to learn from and co-operate with. Horizon 2020 will surely offer many good possibilities.