Written by Sidney Engelbrecht
Nugent Lewis2, Aasima Gaffoor2, Clarissa Graham2 & Winston Beukes2
1University of Cape Town
On 20 November 2020, the Western Cape (WC) Community of Practice (CoP) for Research Management and Administration (RMA) professionals organised its 3rd annual event. This CoP operates under the auspices of the Southern African Research Innovation & Management Association (SARIMA). The event was hosted by the University of Western Cape (UWC) via the Zoom Video Communications application. The virtual platform provided the CoP with an opportunity to extend the invitation to colleagues beyond the Western Cape region. In attendance were 77 RMA professionals from all over the SADC region and beyond, including Ivory Coast, Zambia, Kenya, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and South Africa.
The theme, “Developing an RMA Professional for the future”, enabled delegates to consider how we can accelerate the adoption of technology in our workplace, implement agile practices while incorporating innovative tools which may lead to an enhanced work-life balance. The WC CoP continues to provide platforms for constructive and critical engagement around contemporary RMA perspectives, processes, and best practices. Distinguished speakers at this years’ event included:
|Utilising experience as a researcher to be an effective research manager or director
||Prof Burtram Fielding
|Building competencies to successfully manage research information management systems
|Communicating about and raising the visibility of the institutional research portfolio
|Professionalisation of Research Management and Administration
||Dr Pamisha Pillay
During the event, the CoP introduced its forthcoming publication titled, “RMA Voices” which delves into the experiences of how fellow RMA professionals are coping with COVID-19 disruptions and challenges in the workplace. It highlights the unique opportunities unearthed by the ‘new normal’ while recognising areas for improvement in the status quo. The publication was conceptualised as a means of peer support and sharing of best practices in these extraordinary times.
RMA professionals who would like to contribute to future editions of the RMA voice publication may contact the following CoP members for more information: Ms Clarissa Graham (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Ms Aasima Gaffoor (email@example.com).