The launching conference of the V4+WB RMA Network Plus project entitled “Research Managers and Administration: the state-of-the art and future of Research Managers in the V4+WB region” took place in Bratislava on 17-18 October 2023. The event was hosted by the Slovak University of Technology, Faculty of Chemical and Food Technology and brought together research managers and administrators (RMAs) from the V4+WB region and beyond.

The conference provided a platform for in-depth discussions, knowledge sharing, and networking opportunities that are set to shape the future of research management. The first day of the conference started with the welcoming speeches of Alzbeta Lapsanska (Slovak University of Technology) and Virág Zsár (HETFA Research Institute) and followed by Blanka Csite (HETFA Research Institute) introducing the project’s objectives and planned activities.

Th keynote speech by Henning Rickelt, Managing Director of Zentrum für Wissenschaftsmanagement e.V., representing Germany, a co-sponsor of ERA Action 17 focused on “The Importance of Research Management and Related Policy Initiatives.” Nik Claesen, Director of EARMA introduced the RM ROADMAP project, its main objectives and highlighted the methods used by the consortium to co-create the future of research management in Europe. More information about the co-creation on the Knowledge and Community Platform is available here.

A glimpse into the landscape of research management in the V4+WB region was provided offering attendees a sneak peek into the main chapters of the Emerald Handbook of RMA around the world which will be launched in November 2023. After a short video message by Simon Kerridge and Susi Poli, two of the three main editors of the book, and an overview of the book presented by Virág Zsár (HETFA), the specific chapters were introduced by Andjela Pepic (Western Balkans), Jaroslav Sip (Czech Republic) and Virág Zsár (Hungary).

This section was followed by parallel sessions. In one session, participants have explored open science and research management and in the other session, the added value of RM communities and support services were presented. Daniel Spichtinger held an interactive session on open science, Natasa Jakominic Marot introduced the OPUS project (Horizon Europe) and Erika Kurucz’s presentation focused on research data and management practices at the Corvinus University of Budapest. These sessions provided a comprehensive view of recent developments and practices in the field. The other parallel sessions delved into the added value of Research Management Communities and Support Services, featuring presentations that showcased different national experiences from Czechia (Ida Souckova Olsova and Stanislava Gráf), Hungary, (Veronika Tamás; Center for Social Sciences, Judit Fekete; Corvinus University of Budapest) and Albania (Brikene Dionizi; University of Shkoder).

After the parallel sessions, the event continued with two presentations, the first one focused on the challenges in innovation and knowledge management presented by Katarina Pavlovic. The other presentation’s main goal was to showcase some deep tech projects in higher education, Suzana Gotovac Atlagic and Marija Stojakovic talked about the importance of the research support offices for material science and technology projects, featuring a success story from the University of Banja Luka.

The first day ended with a networking dinner.

On the second day, the morning featured a plenary session led by Sean McCarthy, providing valuable insights into the analysis of Horizon Europe’s Pillar II Work Programme.

The parallel sessions covered financial aspects, offering insights into project-based remuneration in Horizon Europe (Renata Downar-Zapolska), project budgeting (Milica Kaplarevic), and the financial and formal aspects of clinical trials in EU co-funded projects (Anna Tilszer). The other section focused on the realisation and valorisation of research and innovation projects. In her presentation, Katarzyna Walczyk-Matuszyk shared some insights on how to valorise research results in Widening countries. Fjoralba Begeja showcased the experiences of how valorisation and realisation of research results works at an Albanian NGO. The third presentation focused on strategic networking where Serena Mancini shared some of her research results on strategic networking and technology transfer between HEis and SMEs in Digital Healthcare.

The event concluded with a wrap-up and discussions on the next steps, emphasizing the importance of collaboration and ongoing dialogue among the network’s members. The conference served as a vibrant platform for stakeholders to share experiences, gain insights and explore the evolving landscape of research management.

For more information and updates on the V4+WB Network of Research Managers and Administrators (RMAs) Plus, please visit our website. The presentations are available on the Learning Material Platform that you can access after registering to the Online Expert Pool.