The annual conference of EARMA was held between 14-20 April in a fully digital format consisting of multiple presentations, panel discussions and socialization session. The event organized by European Association of Research Managers and Administrators (EARMA) representing the community of Research Managers (RMAs) attracted more than 600 participants all across Europe.

The programme of the event covered multiple aspects relevant for professionals working in the field and for the profession. The sessions included presentations and knowledge exchange related to policy and strategy, professional associations, pre-award and post-award, impact, open science, as well as Organising Support Service for Research, Professional Development, Skills Development and Team Building.

In the frame of the latter, the project foRMAtion coordinated by HETFA Research Institute was presented by our colleague, Ms Virág Zsár, Senior Grant Advisor. Two specific activities, namely the educational module and the mentorship programme were introduced in details, including the background research prepared by HETFA. Though professionals working as RMAs are passionate about their job and they share the view that this is the best job for all; hardly any of them graduated as RMA but came from different fields having different background and started to learn and develop expertise on-the-job.

The lack of specific educational programme in the continental Europe and the huge investment needed for the training of newcomers initiated the project foRMAtion itself. As presented, the work started 1.5 years ago to develop a dedicated educational programme for future RMAs; so for students in higher education institutions who might chose this profession after their graduation. To close the gap between the needs of employers in research support offices and the knowledge and skills of graduated student, in the frame of foRMAtion a mentorship programme is also developed and tested.

The presentation was followed by 200 participants and generated some interesting questions which were discussed afterwards. The slides are available here.