In May 2020, the bi-annual International Network of Research Management Societies (INORMS) conference was scheduled to be hosted in Japan. However, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the event was postponed to 2021. The fully online conference was held between 24-27 May 2021 in a virtual format – a very first in the history of INORMS.
The Southern African Research Innovation Management Association (SARIMA) made grants available to members in support of conference registration costs to participate in the INORMS conference. This initiative to build and strengthen the research support capacity of members are not only been commendable but most valued as voiced by the grant recipients.
Tania Holmes-Watts from Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) submitted an abstract in response to the 2020 INORMS call which was accepted for a poster presentation entitled: Research evaluation mechanisms – enabling or not? A South African case… a comparative multi-stakeholder perspective. She said that:
“I am SO grateful for being afforded the SARIMA grant to part-take in INORMS 2021! Wow, what an experience…the quality and scope of the information…insightful…thought-provoking and most inspiring to know what happens around the world in the research management sphere – we certainly have our work cut out for us as research management professionals”.
Likewise, Siyanda Manqele from Rhodes University said that “It was the first time for me attending an international conference on RM (Research Management) which gave me a broader sense on the subject on an international level. This gave a room for improvement in my own career and institutional processes on research management”.
Maricel van Rooyen from the University of the Free State added similar sentiments: I am so grateful for the SARIMA grant and the opportunity to join the 2021 virtual INORMS Conference. Opportunities to join international conferences are getting more difficult due to money constraints at Higher Education Institutions. This was a unique and great experience to join such a big virtual international conference. It was interesting, informative and I definitely gained a lot of insight into Research Management and the complex global challenges. I again realized the importance of international collaborations. It was also very well organized with excellent speakers”.
Another recipient of the grant, Ms Tanya Coetzee from the University of South Africa (UNISA) said: “My sincere thank you for granting me the opportunity to attend the INORMS 2021 which has officially opened on 24 May 2021. Being able to attend the conference on a virtual platform enabled me to participate in my own free time and listen to the pre-recorded presentations. I have attended all the research ethics and integrity sessions and made some selections from other presentations. What stood out for me was the presentation from Dr David Barr from RMIT discussing the translation of principles of research integrity into responsible research practice. He identified two key aspects present when breaches occur, namely; a) inadequate supervision and b) a lack of reproducibility of results. It is important now, with the principles of responsible research practises available in the national code, that these principles should change into practice. They have shared the APEC guidelines that could be instrumental to this process”.
It is really rewarding to participate in Community of Practice (CoP) activities. This conference grant not only enabled COP members to attend the INORMS conference but also enriched their experience for growth, network opportunity and future collaboration for research professionals.
Written by Sidney Engelbrecht, UCT & SARIMA Committee member and Tania Holmes-Watts, CPUT & Regional CoP Steering Committee member