Meet SARIMA’s first Research Management Professionals (RMP’s)

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Three members of SARIMA were recently awarded Research Management Professional (RMP) status by the International Professional Recognition Council (IPRC), following the first open call for professional recognition of research managers from across the African continent. The IPRC was established in 2017 as an autonomous body that awards professional recognition to middle and senior research managers through peer review of a portfolio of evidence based on the applicant’s prior learning and experience.

The next call for professional recognition is currently open until March 2021 and you can learn more about where and how to apply here. There will also be a webinar on 3 December 2020 to explain the programme and the application process to prospective applicants. The webinar announcement will be circulated soon.

Learn more about our three RMP’s and their message to those wanting to pursue RMP status.



Barbara Herweg is a Project Manager within the Research Support Unit at Wits Commercial Enterprise (Pty) Ltd (Wits Enterprise), a wholly-owned company of the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (Wits). The Research Support Unit was the recipient of the 2017 DST- SARIMA Excellence Award for Organisational Excellence in Research Management.

With over 10 years of experience in the field of Research Management, Barbara has experience with the development of Projects but her main focus has been with the Post Award Management of projects (including financial reporting) and client portfolios with special emphasis on multi-national projects with specific funder requirements, for example the EC funded programmes.

Before joining Wits Enterprise, Barbara was a member of the University of the Witwatersrand’s support staff where she fulfilled many different roles including assisting with research activities, for example, the development of a Clinical Research facility, and running a self-supporting service laboratory. All of these enabled Barbara to gain insight into the research environment and general business and financial management practices which together provide a strong foundation for her current role.

Barbara’s message to future applicants:

“I encourage everyone that feels like they can justify an application and has Institutional support to start on this journey. It is not easy but I believe that the potential rewards are worth it. I am still new to this recognition but already the validation has enabled personal growth and networking – I dare you to imagine a scenario where there are more of us, and the benefits we can all draw, not only for our Institutions but also for our own development”.



Natalie le Roux is employed as a Senior Research Manager in the Research Office at the University of Cape Town. She heads up the Research Support Services cluster and leads a team of nine people. This cluster is responsible for a number of services in support of the university’s researchers and the research endeavour. Some of these services include the support of UCT’s evaluation applications and funding proposals to the National Research Foundation; the servicing of UCT research funding and strategic committees (such as the University Research Committee and its sub-committees); processing applications for research publications and statutory reporting requirements to the government such as submission of creative research and research output data to the Department of Higher Education and Training.

Prior to joining UCT, Natalie was a researcher in educational assessments and the development of science, technology, and innovation indicators at the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC). She worked in both the Pretoria and Cape Town offices. During her time in Pretoria, she was involved in national educational assessments research and developing educational indicators.

In between her HSRC appointments, she worked in the research office at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein, where she was involved in all aspects of the research management and administration function and her interest in grants management started.

Natalie’s message to future applicants:

“I am elated for the professional recognition I received for my competence in research management. Research management and administration (RMA) is growing in South Africa and there is a career trajectory for those who are interested in pursuing this. I encourage all staff working in research support offices or anyone involved in research management and administration to help build our profession. You can do so by applying for professional recognition, enrolling for the postgraduate diploma in research management offered by Stellenbosch University, or by becoming part of a community of practice.

For anyone intends applying for the prior recognition of research management in the next round that requires guidance, I am willing to assist”.


Sidney Engelbrecht holds the position of Manager: Research Ethics & Compliance in the Faculty of Health Sciences and Office of Research Integrity, University of Cape Town (UCT).

Sidney serves on the Research Management Committee of the Southern African Research Innovation and Management Association (SARIMA). He offers research ethics training on behalf of SARIMA and participates in strategic projects across SADC. He also serves on the Working Group: Research Impact & Stakeholder Engagement under the auspices of the International Network of Research Management Societies (INORMS). Sidney serves on the Executive Committee of the South African Association for Laboratory Animal Sciences.  He serves as a co-opted member of the UCT Senate Animal Ethics Committee and Institutional Biosafety Committee.

He studied Law and completed postgraduate courses/qualifications in law, bioethics and compliance.

Message to future applicants:

“My involvement in research administration formally commenced in 2009 at Stellenbosch University. Over the span of my career, I have built a portfolio which includes research ethics and integrity, grants management, and research support and development. This portfolio of evidence-informed my decision to apply for professional recognition. The RMP status and recognition validate the work that I have done over the last decade. I hope this inspires my colleagues in SADC to take the opportunity to apply for formal RMP recognition. It is an achievement beyond words!”

Written by Pamisha Pillay, SARIMA Vice President – Research Management; Director: Research Support, WITS Enterprise, South Africa

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