„Boosting Research Administration Skills and Services” 
ADMIN
 
On October 15, the international project entitled: „Boosting Research Administration Skills and Services” has been launched. The project is implemented under the Erasmus+ Programme in the partnership: 
• Uniwersytet Lodzki, Faculty of Management (project coordinator) 
• Association for Internationalization of Education and Science (partner) http://www.interedu.mk/ 
• Gozdarski Institut Slovenije (partner) http://www.gozdis.si/ 
• Hochschule Harz (partner) www.hs-harz.de 
• Vilniaus Gedimino Technikos Universitetas (partner) http://www.vgtu.lt/ 
 
The project has a duration of 24 months. It starts on 15/10/2020 and ends on 14/10/2022
 
 
Description of the project
 
The efficiency of the higher educational systems largely relies on institutional support from the research support staff (legal, financial, ethical, impact oriented, managerial, and administrative) in all phases: pre-award/preparatory, award, post-award / implementation phase and post-implementation phase (review and assessment). Research support structures are one of the key factors influencing the success or failure of institutions and researchers participating in competitive European, non-European and national project where types of activities range from research, development, innovation, demonstration, building capacities, raising awareness, coordination, support and similar (R&D&I) funding programmes. But the available educational programmes in the field of project management and research administration comply only in limited extent with competences and knowledge needed by support staff and the need for extensive additional training in this field is evident. 
ADMIN project addresses this issue through providing upgrade of professional competences of research administrator’s staff by elaborating a project toolkit in project management with an aspect on ethics and enhancing the soft communication skills as well as providing a training in this field. Additionally, ADMIN develops a self-study learning tool “Alone in the office” in a form of video material. To connect the various stakeholders and strengthen the linkages between the higher educations and the economy, ADMIN creates as well as a Baseline study on knowledge transfer market. 
 
Project objectives
The main objective of the project is to contribute to capacity building of research support staff and enhancing the prospect for R&I projects and initiatives in European funding schemes. The second objective is to strengthen and expand the network of research support staff across project partner countries and beyond to allow free flow of information, knowledge and exchange of best practices hence increasing the prospects for excellence in research administration. The aim is to boost the capacities of research administrators by improving their performance, highlighting the visibility of their work and outcomes and strengthening relations with academic/scientific staff. 
The target groups are early stage research administrators who are faced to the challenge to respond to everyday tasks on R&I projects, academic staff, stakeholders and students. ADMIN innovative participatory approach will bring together early stage and experienced research administrators, as well as well performing and less experienced institutions, engaging in exchanging practices, transferring knowledge and experience, and designing roadmaps to build effective RSS. 
 
Project target group
people who do not have experience in the preparation and implementation of innovative and scientific research projects or who have a maximum of 3 years of experience, including:
• research support staff
• research administrators (early stage research administrators
• academic staff (including research scientific staff)
• students (including PhD students)
• post docs
 
The above may be
• employed in: universities, research institutions, companies, municipalities 
• self-employed 
• studing
 
Project results
The main expectation of ADMIN project is capacity building of research administrators staff skill development and professionalization, boosting their image in the university or research driven institution and beyond as well as enabling them to play a greater part in the strategy and internationalization process at the institutional and regional level. The foreseen results include improved research management and administration with the focus on project management by integrating innovations for sustainable development and recognition of the work of the project offices. The exchange of best practices in the field of project management will produce maximum long term benefits for the research administrator community in the consortium countries. The expectations are to improve the professional skills and multidisciplinary knowledge, to increase the transfer of knowledge by strengthening and expanding the existing network of research support staff across Europe so as to allow free flow of information, to better promote the work and activities of the project offices and to build long term, future-oriented partnerships. There is initially added value for the institutions involved, as they expand their knowledge and generate new knowledge together and then show that the results are made available for wide diversification and, at best, all target groups are independent build up and improve their know-how. 
 
The most tangible outcomes of the ADMIN vision are the collaborative products based on ADMIN objectives: 
• toolkit in project management - intended for all the research administrators to be used as a self-study material. The innovative side of this toolkit is its uniqueness of encompassing at one place many aspects on project management. It will provide a clear and effective communication plans and techniques of the research administrators and it will systematize at one place the aspects on ethics by encompassing the competences, knowledge and skills for stakeholders in project management. The expected impact of this toolkit is to improve predictability, understanding, and performance of the project initiatives
• video guide to project offices – a video guide on the project offices, intended for the less experienced research administrators as well as the alone in the office staff. This audiovisual training material will consist of most common “real office” issues and solutions for them. The innovative side of this output is in its creative approach for training by sharing of best practices through role-plays and animations with problematic situations and solutions, advices and good practices. The expected impact from it is in the stimulation of the networking and sharing of best practices among the research administrators
• baseline study on “Transferring knowledge to market” - a new innovative output with a purpose of “understanding research product”. The need of this output is due to the huge lack of knowledge in research oriented institutions in this particular field of interest. The purpose of the output is to offer new opportunities to universities, research institutes and other related stakeholders and consequently enriching society. Apart from RMAs that would gain in knowledge in this area, there would also be great added value for researchers, developers and institutions that monitor unused potential. The Baseline study will also map the potential partners for collaboration, discover emerging markets, tackle environment issue, introduce the ethical aspect of expected innovations as well as scientists cases of best practice.
Apart from the intellectual outputs developed in the frame of this project, the following results are expected to be obtained: 
• better understanding of the needs and potential direction for further development of research administrators in 5 European countries will be provided through the toolkit in project management,
• professional competences of min. 1000 research administrators will be strengthened in the field of project management, transversal skills, communication and ethics by the project training activities,
• skills gap of research administrators will be filled,
• networking of and best practice sharing among research administrators will be initiated through webinars and dissemination events. Partners will benefit from the project publications, project reports, and the participation at trainings based on the developed project management tool kit.
 
Project coordinator:
Małgorzata Żak-Skwierczyńska, PhD (malgorzata.zak@uni.lodz.pl)