President's Welcome

Janice cropped.jpg Welcome to the Australasian Research Management Society (ARMS).

I was sitting beside a very senior research administrator from another country’s public agencies one night not so long ago.  She was very, very tired – having come off a 35 hour flight transit from the other side of the world that day.  She looked pale, a little uncomfortable, clearly fading. She explained her department allowed no stopovers, no good connecting flights – just the cheapest ones. If I had been in a position to convince her to head to her room I would have.  She wasn’t that kind of person.

So we were both chatting with the dinner guest nearest us – again, a very senior research manager and this time one from a major international university. He was explaining his busy day coming up the next day, where he would be hosting not one but several Nobel Laureates, one of whom was 90 years of age and for whom the upcoming occasion may be his last speaking engagement.

My new friend was enthralled. Just the thought of being at such a rarefied event had taken all her tiredness away.  This was why she turns up at work every day.  She feels very much a part of an international research and innovation enterprise that does, and produces, great people and things. And it enlivens her, through all the difficulties she faces as a senior public administrator. It enables her to see beyond the intractables and irritations that can arise for us all day-to-day, and to feel it is all worthwhile.

She was able to attend that rare event, as it turned out, and she certainly deserved to do so.

I tell this story because it sums up what inspires me to get involved in the Australasian Research Management Society and take on roles as big as this one. I’m passionate about introducing research management as a profession to newcomers to our offices.  I want to see our knowledge, experience and contribution recognised - not just so that I feel good, but to honour our collective contribution and build the research enterprise.

ARMS is the lead organisation for research managers and administrators dedicated to professional development, advocacy for members and promotion of the profession of research management supporting research excellence and the enhancement of the research enterprise. It embraces Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Singapore and The South Pacific.

The Society’s strategy is well defined and strong. Within that Strategy, over the next two years we will be the most internationally engaged we have ever been, given the opportunities presented within our Society in Singapore and New Zealand, through the hosting of the International Network of Research Management Societies Congress in Melbourne in 2016, and through refreshing our international fellowship offerings with and through our sister societies overseas.

We will be engaging our members as individuals, not simply through their status as corporate members who come and go.  We’ll do this through our new IT capabilities, through social media and through accreditation and events. And we’ll be growing our membership through our new Chapters, by bringing into the fold the Australian Research Training Network of probably over 500 committed research training professionals, and simply through our energy and initiative. This alone will attract more engagement and diversify our membership. 

We’ll be exploring the establishment of a journal and/or the publication of Occasional Papers from our members. We will be seeking to speak with a louder voice on the important issues where we are best placed to comment and where our voice can make an important and unique contribution to policy and debate. Finally, we may have grown our Executive Office this last year, but we have not grown it enough.  Two people are now holding up our world, operationally speaking. We will be looking to ways to provide further support to Maria and Marisha and everyone on the Executive team is deeply, deeply grateful for their contribution to date.

These are exciting times.  If you have not yet done so, please join us on the journey.

Janice Besch

President, ARMS