Research Office Weekly Blog: Developing a Research Managers Competency framework

By Jane Garnett, Alison Littlewood, Cara Afzal and Charlotte Stockton-Powdrell of the Research Programme Managers' Network (RPMN)

Research managers

The Research Programme Managers Network (RPMN) has established an affiliation with MAHSC. A key objective of the network is to identify issues that are impacting on effective grant management and propose and work through solutions. The RPMN was founded in 2013 and has been set up to provide peer support for research Programme Managers and Project Managers in the North West. The network is unfunded and has a membership of 50 plus and meets biannually, to discuss and share issues regarding the effective management of research programme grants/projects and to identify solutions.

Two current issues we are working on are (i) the development of a competencies framework for project managers and (ii) maintaining a pool of talent in the North West

  1. Competencies Framework: A workshop was held last week to develop the Research Programme Managers Competencies framework, which is expected to support effective research grant management in the North West. The group has been using a number of existing frameworks, as a guide for planning, promoting and supporting professional and career development.  The attributes of project managers were mapped onto the four domains of:
  • Knowledge and Skills
  • People Management
  • Personal Qualities
  • Programme Management and Research Governance

A sub-group has been formed which will work to develop this work further.  

2.     Talent Pool: We have identified that we have a pool of very experienced and talented programme/project management staff as well as core research staff who are a valuable asset to the MAHSC community. If we are able to retain and better manage this pool of talent we can better build the capacity and capability of our research infrastructure. To this end the RPMN has discussedwith MAHSC how the talent pool could be better supported.  Programme Managers have cited the most common example of losing key staff during the last six months of grant completion, which impacts on the workload of other team members having to take the load or even the Programme Managers stepping in to support research activity.  The NHS and University sector have taken a number of measures to support staff on short terms contracts, with redeployment registers established within organisations and in some cases HR departments liaising with Programme Managers to support staff transition. However, such measures are not always effective at dealing with some of the practical issues arising on programmes. The MAHSC partnership is in a unique position of having organisations that employ a significant number of research staff, which potentially offers an opportunity to consider better ways of managing the talent pool. The RMPN has submitted a paper to the MAHSC Research Board proposing options for improvement.The aim is to help retain staff in Greater Manchester, allowing staff and managers access to a wider pool, with a central resource helping with planning for new grants and assist Principal Investigators/Programme Managers in finding suitable staff quickly.

For more information or if you wish to join the network please contact Alison Littlewood, Co

Chair of RPMN Email: alison.j.littlewood@manchester.ac.uk Tel: 0161 275 6089 or fellow Co

Chair Charlie Stockton-Powdrell  charlotte.stockton-powdrell@manchester.ac.uk Tel: 0161

306 7983

 


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