Professional research management and administration (RMA) structures and systems within African universities are critical enablers in achieving maximum research and innovation impact in an increasingly competitive global environment.i,ii The effectiveness of these structures depend on skilled research and innovation managers – individuals who will be key in the efforts of African research institutions to help sustain and grow research and innovation.
Stellenbosch University now offers the first Post-graduate Diploma in RMA – a course that was developed in and for Africa through an Erasmus+-programme funded project entitled StoRM.iii
The course will provide a comprehensive introduction to RMA theory, practice and the latest trends via four modules offered over two years.
Students will typically be early or mid-career staff members working in Research Offices (or equivalent structures) at research institutions. The course content is relevant to global settings but will focus on research management and administration in the African context.
Delivery of the course is through a combination of block (face-to-face) lecturing sessions, ongoing on-line support and tutor groups, self-study and written assignments to be completed within the work context of the participants. Each module will require students to be at Stellenbosch University for an initial five day lecturing block. The modular structure of the course specifically aims to make it accessible to working individuals.
The research landscape in Africa (1st semester, year 1 - 15 credits)
On successful completion of the module, students will be able to describe the unique environment, conditions and features that define African research, explain the main trends in the governance, institutional landscape, R&D funding and scientific output of African countries, and critically reflect and comment on the role of university Research Offices against the broader landscape of African research.Module 2:
The management of research and research-related information (2nd semester, year 1 - 35 credits)
On successful completion of the module, students will be able to identify, characterize and explain the roles and interactions between the relevant internal and external stakeholders in the management and use of research- and research-related information. Students will be able to specify and describe the different types of relevant information, and the information management systems and databases required for its collection, management and use. They will develop an understanding of the basic principles of the development and management of databases with a view towards integrated reporting; and explain and demonstrate how research performance is measured using basic principles and practices of key bibliometric data sources and indicators. Students will develop a critical awareness of the key issues related to modern trends in scholarly publishing, as well as insight into the theory and practice of science communication.
Research grants management (1st semester, year 2 - 35 credits)
On successful completion of the module, students will have thorough insights into the management processes required for grant-making, including the roles, responsibilities and routines needed for successful pre- and post-award grants management. They will understand the generic requirements of and demonstrate the ability to develop and critically evaluate good research grant proposals. They will have an understanding of the appropriate indicators for subsequent monitoring and evaluation of research grant impact. They will also understand the basic principles of project management and be able to apply a selected set of project management tools in the sphere of research project management. They will understand the requirements of project and financial reporting, research contract negotiations and risk management, as well as the timely identification of intellectual property and protection thereof.
Research integrity and ethics (2nd semester, year 2 - 35 credits)
On successful completion of the module, students will understand the ‘research integrity’ curriculum (including management of conflict of interest; publication, authorship and peer review ethics; collaboration ethics; ethical issues related to data management and transfer, etc.). Students will have the ability to critically reflect and comment on the values involved in responsible research, and understand the difference between a ‘compliance’ and ‘personal responsibility’ approach to research integrity. They will be familiar with the Singapore declaration of research integrity, and other international guidelines. They will understand what are considered ‘questionable research practices’ and ‘research misconduct’, and how cases of research misconduct should be investigated and reported. They will understand the basic principles of research ethics in the context of research involving humans, animals and biosafety, and the systems and processes needed to implement ethics review and approval of applicable research.
The first two contact sessions in 2020 at the main campus of Stellenbosch University will be from 4 to 8 May 2020 (general orientation and module 1) and from 7 to 11 September 2020 (module 2). The admission requirement is an appropriate academic qualification at NQF level 7. For more information contact Mrs Bernia Drake, the postgraduate administrative co-ordinator at CREST, Stellenbosch University, South Africa (firstname.lastname@example.org; +27218083394)