The INORMS 2023 Conference in Durban, South Africa (30 May – 2 June 2023) offered an excellent opportunity for the International Professional Recognition Council (IPRC) to engage with the research management community and other stakeholders through various activities. Below is a summary of the key activities hosted by the IPRC Secretariat during INORMS. Support from TDR/WHO and the ESSENCE on Health Research Initiative made these activities and the attendance of some delegates from LMICs possible.
A workshop on Journeying towards a Utopia for research managers and administrators in LMICs brought together 53 delegates, the majority representing LMICs from around the globe.
Speakers from the Caribbean Research and Innovation Management Association (CabRIMA), the West Africa Research and Innovation Management Association (WARIMA), the Colombian Research Management Association (COREMA) and Vietnam shared the key drivers for and barriers to professionalise research management in their contexts.
A panel with speakers from the Malaysia Association of Research Managers and Administrators (MyRMA), the India Research Management Initiative (IRMI) and the Southern African Research and Innovation Management Association (SARIMA), the host of the IPRC Secretariat, shared their vision for and key efforts to professionalise research management while highlighting potential synergies.
The workshop concluded with a working session where delegates unpacked the third principle of the Hiroshima Statement on the Essential Practice of Research Management and Administration (https://inorms.net/). The session aimed to understand how to equip research managers in the Global South to implement and deliver on this principle. A workshop report is being developed to facilitate further discussions on this topic.
The IPRC business meeting was the first opportunity for the IPRC members to meet in-person since the new members joined the Council in 2020. The members used their time together to deliberate the draft IPRC strategy for 2023/24-2026. The strategy will be finalised in the coming months for implementation from October 2023 onwards.
At the end of the meeting, the IPRC Secretariat thanked members for their invaluable contributions and perseverance in making a difference in the professionalisation of research management, and each member received a certificate of appreciation.
During the panel session on Professionalisation of Research Management in Africa, Dr John Kirkland, Chair of the IPRC Advocacy Committee, had the panel members reflecting on the strategic role of the IPRC. Dr Jose Jackson-Malete, founding member of the IPRC and Co-director of the Alliance for African Partnerships at Michigan State University, shared her insights on how professional recognition help ensure that research partnerships are effective and equitable. Dr Garry Aslanyan, IPRC member and Manager of Partnerships and Governance at TDR/WHO and Coordinator of ESSENCE, shared his views on how increasing professional recognition could benefit funding bodies who invest or are considering investing in African research institutions. Dembo Kanteh, IPRC member, Head of Strategic Partnerships at the Medical Research Council Unit at the Gambia at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and President of WARIMA, shared how research institutions in his view can help to promote professional recognition amongst their own staff. Two recognised professionals Mandla Tirivavi (RMP), Research and Programs Manager at Africa University in Zimbabwe and Prof Lessing Labuschagne (SRMP), Executive Director of Research, Innovation & Commercialisation at the University of South Africa reflected on how professional recognition has helped them to better contribute to their institutions and the research management community in general.
The IPRC invited recognised professionals who are participating in the IPRC STARS Programme to a meeting to discuss how awareness can be raised at various levels in their countries to promote professional recognition and what should be done to ensure greater benefit for professionals who are recognised. The IPRC Secretariat and SARIMA used the opportunity to congratulate the members on achieving professional status and to thank them for their commitment to grow the profession through the STARS Programme.
STARS are individuals with the skills and experience, who were tested and affirmed as professionals and who reached out and share their experience with others. They extend the work of the IPRC into their institutions and professional communities.