The role of research administrators in universities or institutions is now more important than ever, given the increasing need for external research funding. Administrators’ work can make or break a project and define an institution’s collaborations, since cultural and procedural differences in dealing with project administration are inherent to European research consortia. Projects simply cannot perform without efficient processes.
CEU’s Academic Cooperation and Research Support Office (ACRO), a pioneer in research administration in Europe, hosted 80 administrators from more than 60 higher education and research organizations September 14-15 for the semi-annual meeting of “BESTPRAC – the Voice of Research Administrators Building a Network in Administrative Excellence.” CEU joined this European network two years ago. The network is financed by COST, European Cooperation in Science and Technology and was established in 2013 for the administrative, financial and legal services in universities, research organizations and related entities supporting researchers involved in the lifecycle of transnational, competition-based, externally (in particular European) funded projects in order to exchange experiences and share and develop best practices, encourage knowledge sharing, knowledge transfer and increased efficiency.
“It is vital for our work to meet people with similar professional concerns to us and get first-hand information about the ever-changing environment of European research funding, therefore we always try to attend events of networks, like BESTPRAC and EARMA, the European Association of Research Managers and Administrators,” said Eva Vas, head of the research support unit within ACRO.
“In addition to being a successful event from the professional point of view, I was pleased to be able to show CEU’s beautiful Nador 9 and October 6 buildings to our guests and to see how impressed they were of our grand Budapest after reading so much disturbing news recently,” added Zsuzsa Gabor, director of ACRO.
At the meeting, working groups discussed topics related to Horizon 2020 funding, ranging from financial auditing to the new requirements for time sheets, and from open access publishing to how to obtain the European Logo for Human Resource Excellence in Research. Ten CEU staff members from research centers as well as from ACRO attended the conference, some of whom are regular participants of other network events.
Four CEU “early stage research administrators” have benefited so far from the BESTPRAC Network’s training programs and ACRO hopes to double this number in the coming two years.