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Reseach Infrastructures Training Programme

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - RItrain (Reseach Infrastructures Training Programme)

Reporting period: 2018-09-01 to 2020-03-31

Managers within pan-European research infrastructures need a thorough understanding of this unique landscape, in addition to excellent, state-of-the-art administrative and management skills, if they are to succeed. Many senior managers within research infrastructures come from classical research backgrounds, but the competencies required to manage research infrastructures are somewhat different: research infrastructures are primarily service organisations; they need to operate as businesses with a client base. A robust understanding of how current research infrastructure systems run and how different research policies are formulated and implemented in EU countries is required. Other important skills include governance, accounting, public procurement, data management, security, transnational trade, user engagement, service development, systems administration and ethical and legal compliance. Such skills should be developed based on generic state-of-the-art managerial and operational skills and supplemented by RI-specific requirements. Importantly, research infrastructure managers often need to gain these competencies at a stage in their careers when they are already relatively senior and cannot commit a large proportion of their time to training. Training therefore needs to be tailored to busy professionals and needs to be sufficiently flexible for them to focus on developing new competencies rather than repeating prior learning. On the other hand, the need for an increasing number of professional RI managers is steadily increasing. More and more managers will be recruited from the open job market. Based on a clearly defined competency profile and effective guidance on how to fill competency gaps through tailored training programmes, RIs need to establish themselves as preferred employers attracting the most talented individuals. Provision of high-quality and respected training programmes provides one means of achieving this.
The overarching goal of RItrain is to identify the competency requirements for the professional management of European research infrastructures (RI) and design a training programme to fulfil these requirements. Our highest priority is those professionals who are already working in research infrastructures, including directors, project managers, heads of HR, legal representatives and communications experts.
The work was split into 5 Work Packages (WPs). WP1 has setup the necessary platforms for both internal as well as external communication. WP1 has also organised and coordinated dissemination activities for the whole consortium. The External Advisory Body was setup and has met several times. WP2 defined the competencies required by RIs staff (managers and operators) at each phase of their life cycle, from initial conception to maturity. The main deliverable was an organisational competency framework. WP2 provided the underpinning research on which the training content produced by WPs 4 and 5 was based.The starting point of all activities performed by WP3 was to define a search strategy for identifying relevant existing training opportunities for the professional development of managers of RIs. Based on the corresponding search approach, WP3 carried out its comprehensive search activities resulting in a set of more than 400 courses. This compilation was used as the basis of the following mapping of the specific competency requirements to the identified courses and the subsequent systematic gap analysis. WP4 developed the Executive Masters' in Management of Research Infrastructures (EMMRI) based on Empowerment© model approach to prepare a new generation of executives of national and international RIs. In the longer run, RItrain Master programme provides guidance to and serves potential future RI managers and leaders to develop the required competencies before applying for a job with RIs.
EMMRI has been designed as an executive programme at the EQF 8 level (post-doctoral level) for participants with relevant working experience. A pilot Masters’ course has been run and subsequently assessed with the aim to report on whether the course met its objectives, RIs have been engaged effectively, and the pilot process has been effective. An International Advisory Board composed of external experts have been arranged for external review and quality assurance. The final version of the curriculum syllabi has been released. WP5 developed a continuing professional development programme for the current generation of managers of RIs through a combination of webinars and staff exchanges. These provided training material that served as case studies for EMMRI. The close synergy between WPs 4 and 5 has been enormously beneficial to both WPs.
RItrain organised an end of project workshop, entitled ‘Building Leadership in European Research Infrastructures - common challenges, best practices and future perspectives of RI staff training’. It brought together participants of the RItrain knowledge/staff exchanges, EMMRI ‘students’ and a wide range of RI representatives from over 40 RIs, as well as funders, policymakers and educators.
Before the start of this project training for managers of Research Infrastructures (RIs) did not exist in a systematic way. Some projects like RAMIRI and RAMIRI2 organised short workshops on some aspects of management of RIs, in some of the bigger RIs internal courses existed, but not available for external personnel. With the definition of a competency profile for managers in RIs and the creation of the Masters programme this gap and demand is filled. The Masters is build as an Executive MBA programme, tailored on RIs' managements needs, with blended learning, both eLearning as well as face-to-face sessions. It is oriented towards professionals already working in an RI to receive academic sound new tools and methods for their work. In the project proposal, it was planned to pilot some of the modules of the Master, but at the end the full Master Programme has been developed and run (12 Modules delivered, final field project discussion and graduation). Meanwhile a second round of participants has undergone this training and a third is planned to start soon.
The impact of this project is threefold: on professionals’ development and competitiveness, on RI interconnectedness and on gender equality.
Next to the Masters programme we developed and implemented a staff and knowledge exchange programme. In total 7 staff exchanges and 1 knowledge exchange workshop were organised giving access to several docens of people. Through the programme participants from research infrastructures have received tailored training. The strength of the knowledge/staff exchange programme is the opportunity to bring together managers from research infrastructures that are diverse in their subject area, organisational structure and developmental stage.
Thirdly a webinar programme was established giving access to 48 Multimedia Learning Objects: 9 Webinar-Interviews, 27 Webinar-Lectures and 12 Live-Webinars all on management issues of RIs. 33 Multimedia Learning Objects are published and freely available on the project website and through our YoutTube channel, 15 are available on the EMMRI Learning Platform.
roadmap graph
graph with all participating organisations
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