Research Administration Managers and Research Project Managers – playing a key role in establishing and managing multi-institutional collaborations

Lavey, L Spooner, C Mukuka, C
Publication type: 
Conference presentation
Other COMPaRE-PHC publications

Paper presented at the Australasian Research Management Society Conference, Singapore 

Click here for slides

Aims and rationale: The Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute funded nine multi-institution centres of research excellence (MICRE) to address knowledge gaps in primary health care.  Anecdotal evidence suggested that these MICREs were experiencing common problems in their establishment and operation.  The study aimed to document the challenges and lessons from the nine MICREs to inform future planning of MICREs.

Methods: Qualitative interviews with the directors and managers of the nine MICRES and other key informants.  

Findings:  Challenges were experienced in the domains of administrative processes (e.g. budgeting, recruitment, partner agreements) and relationships (e.g. communication, investigator engagement, role clarification).

Two main issues were identified. 1) That most of the problems could have been prevented during grant preparation; and 2) That the research administration manager at each collaborating institution in the MICRE during grant preparation, and the appointment of a sufficiently experienced, skilled and resourced MICRE manager are critical to ensure efficient administrative processes during the life of the MICRE.

The lessons learned from this study have been incorporated into a ‘tips’ document which will be made available to assist researchers, research administration managers, and MICRE managers from inception to completion.  This document also provides ‘tips’ to MICRE funding bodies for developing Information for Applicants documents. 

Conclusion: MICREs are more complicated and vulnerable to establishment and management problems than single-institution research centres. The contributions of the research administration manager (or equivalent at each collaborating institution), and the MICRE manager can facilitate the achievement of an efficient and effective research partnership.