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€1.49M Cross-European Research Project launches at UCC

3 Jun 2022
Dr Joanne Ui Chrualaoich and Mary O’Regan, co-Principal investigators on the CARDEA project.
  • Minister for Foreign Affairs & Minister for Defence Mr Simon Coveney TD to deliver keynote speech at inaugural CARDEA meeting
  • Eight European countries partner on project to develop the role of Research Managers
  • 22.2% of the world’s best researchers are residents in Europe

A significant cross-European, EU-backed, project aimed at empowering, training and enhancing the role of Research Managers will be launched in University College Cork today by Minister for Foreign Affairs & Minister for Defence Mr Simon Coveney TD.

CARDEA - Career Acknowledgement for Research (Managers) Delivering for the European Area - has received €1.49m in European Commission funding towards developing the ‘unsung heroes’ of research - the Research Manager.

The project is a joint initiative between universities from Belgium, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Poland, Romania, Spain and at UCC where Mary O’Regan, UCC HR Business Manager and Dr Joanne Ui Chrualaoich are co-Principal investigators.

“Research managers and research support staff make a valuable yet undervalued contribution to Europe’s research excellence,” Ms O’Regan explained.

“Unfortunately, there is a fundamental lack of understanding of European Research Manager profiles, including role characteristics, demographics and career pathways. The profession is almost invisible from a policy, career development and career trajectory perspective compared to a Principal Investigator. 

“Additionally, there is little consistency across Europe in salary scales, contracts, skills, competencies, and training opportunities for Research Managers. Finally, Research Manager positions are often tied to individual grants leaving Research Managers often on precarious contracts throughout their careers. Despite this, Research Managers play a key role in administering research activities and valorising a range of hidden research outputs,” she said.

Dr Ui Chrualaoich said:

“Research Manager is a relatively young career profile, but their importance is likely to increase in the next 20-30 years as we tackle more complex problems than ever. These problems require a depth of technical specificity provided by researchers and breadth of visibility, application, and exploitation of results.

“Research managers are ideally placed to develop such range but require structural supports to achieve this. The EU is ideally placed to take a leading role in this development as 22.2% of the world’s best researchers are residents in Europe.”

Ms O’Regan added: “We believe the European Commission funding, through the Horizon Europe programme, marks the single largest investment in a research project that supports Human Resources Research initiatives in Ireland.”

UCC President Professor John O'Halloran said:

"Research is what defines us at UCC, and word leading research can only be conducted when we have a supporting ecosystem to enable ideas to be transformed into actions and discoveries. This European Research projects not only helps us to develop our people in that ecosystem but also lead the development of career opportunities and structures to deliver on our ambitious research agenda in Europe and through UCC Futures in securing our future and that of our planet."

UCC Vice President for Research & Innovation Professor John Cryan said:

"Research Managers are the hinge which allow for the doors of research to be open. Like most hinges they are largely unseen but essential. I congratulate the Cardea team for this innovative interdisciplinary project which will advocate for a voice for Research Managers within the European Research Area."

The CARDEA project aims to:

  • Improve knowledge for policy-making about the training and networking patterns of research support staff and research management
  • Increase awareness amongst research management staff about existing training, networking and mobility opportunities at EU, national, and regional levels
  • Grow the capacity and compatibility of cooperation and funding systems throughout the European Research Area for research management, and support to scientists.
  • Improve awareness of the EU policy drivers and the EU research peculiarity in the Higher Education Institutions and Research organisations
  • Establish central hubs to provide the EU research system with the most appropriate “fit for purpose” skills in EU research management, with active involvement of entities located in widening countries
  • Provide recommendations aiming at facilitating a clear career path for research managers at national and EU levels, enhancing their role towards the achievement of the new Euopean Research Area objectives.

The inaugural CARDEA meeting will take place in UCC’s Council Room, where UCC President John O’Halloran will open proceedings followed by a keynote address from Minister Simon Coveney. 

The gathering will hear from academics, administrative staff, and policy officials over the course of the day, and afternoon breakout sessions discussing a number of topics will be followed by a plenary session that will conclude the meeting. 

University College Cork

Coláiste na hOllscoile Corcaigh

College Road, Cork T12 K8AF