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  • 30 Oct 2018 12:08 | Olaf Svenningsen (Administrator)

    It feels like not so long ago that I complained bitterly about the heat, and now I miss it! Autumn is over us and winter is coming, and that is all as it should be. For research administrators the final months of the year are often very, very busy, but hopefully there is still time for DARMA. I have some important and good news for all members:

    Finding Funding Workshop

    Within the next couple of days, we will formally announce an extraordinary DARMA General Assembly to be held directly after the DARMA Finding Funding Workshop at CBS in Copenhagen on 20 November. If you are now asking yourself “What Finding Funding workshop is that…?” you may risk missing out on something important. The workshop is intended to provide both an overview of existing options to address this task (which is one of my own least-favorite things to do), examples of how it has been done, as well as providing participants with hands-on experience that can be used directly. The number of participants is limited to 40, and there is still plenty of space left, but don’t wait too long to register…!

    The purpose of the extraordinary GA is to elect a new President of the Association, and to discuss the proposal to make a minor change to the statutes that somehow slipped under the radar at the ordinary GA in June.

     A new president for DARMA

    So who is running for DARMA President, you are probably asking now…? To my very great pleasure it is…  (extended drumroll) Annedorte Vad, Head of CBS Research Support. Earlier this year, Annedorte was the first DARMA member to receive the INORMS Award for Excellence in Research Management. This was well-deserved, because Annedorte’s CV includes having been an elected board member of DARMA 2009-2013, President of the International Section of SRA 2014-2016 and member of the board 2014 till now (elected term ends October 2019). Even though it may not seem necessary, Annedorte is currently doing a Master of Public Governance. A well-rounded introduction to Annedorte is provided by DARMA's nomination of her to the INORMS award…

    Annedorte will bring international experience and large and a well-established network into the association. Her knowledge from SRA international is certain to benefit DARMA, too. Annedorte will also do something that old dinosaurs like me can’t do; tip the gender balance in a positive direction. The formal transition of power will occur in early-2019, as 

    The election of a new chair will take place at the extraordinary GA in Copenhagen on 20 November. Since a large number of DARMA’s members will have difficulties attending, the Board decided to make it possible to vote online. Complete instructions on how to vote and participate will given in the formal announcement that will be posted at DARMA.dk not later than November 1st (DARMA’s Statutes prescribe that an extraordinary general assembly must be announced at least 10 working days in advance).

    Why should you attend, if it’s possible to vote online? First and foremost, it is a chance to meet and talk to Annedorte; second, it will be the shortest GA ever; and finally, I plan to spend some of my strategic resources on offering those attending something bubbly and something sweet to finish a good day.

    DARMA Annual Meeting 2019

    Finally, I have to write something about next year’s Annual Meeting, which is scheduled for 21–22 May 2019; you can reserve the date already. At the Board’s latest meeting, we discussed what could be a relevant and exciting theme for the AM (having an AM theme was tested in 2018 and received overwhelmingly positive feedback from delegates). After trying out a few different ideas, the Board settled on “The future of Research Support”. When we started exploring the possibilities of this theme, it became clear that this can be very, very exciting. 

    The idea behind this theme is to provide an overview of where universities, institutions, and funders may be a few years from now, also exploring what impact new technologies, for example Artificial Intelligence or Big Data, may have on our work. We intend to explore this all the way out to the hands-on level for the individual.

    I have recently attended demonstrations of some AI systems that exist already today, and when I saw what they can do—and considered the implications—it blew my mind. AI can clearly be implemented in both pre- and post-award, and already today has the capacity to do more-than-decent proofreading of complex documents. Proofreading of a quality that is not far behind what a skilled human can do, which is... well, mind-blowing to me. 

    The Board is currently working with identifying and engaging keynote speakers and designing tracks, sessions, and workshops. Your comments and suggestions are very welcome, as always!

    A final word about furniture from... the President

    If you have read this far, you may have asked yourself why Olaf is using "president" instead of "chair"; is not "chair" a more correct translation of "formand/forkvinde"? My answer would be no; there is no more or less correct translation. What we should be called is a returning topic of conversation among the chairs/presidents of European societies; we all want to be presidents...!

    "Chair" of course is a piece of furniture, typically in close contact with an individual's nobler parts. The implication that you can be used to sit on doesn't very well reflect what a "chair" of an association does. "Chair" is of course short for of "chairman" (which I was absolutely forbidden to use when I worked for the NSF in the US), "chairwoman", or the more PC and awkward "chairperson".

    "President" on the other hand has it's roots in the Latin "prae-" and "sidere", meaning approximately "sitting before", i.e. leading a meeting. It is gender neutral, does not refer to furniture and better describes the actual role of the position.

    So regardless of what may or may not be considered "correct", I prefer to be American and use "president"—and in secret, whenever we meet and nobody else can hear us, the presidents of the European RMA's will still keep giggling and calling each other "presidents"...

    Live well and prosper!

    Olaf Svenningsen

  • 13 Aug 2018 13:49 | Olaf Svenningsen (Administrator)

    Summer vacations are ending after the hottest summer that I can remember, and cooler rainy weather comes just as I return to work – not the other way around, which is more common. When I look at all the task waiting ahead, the familiar mild post-vacation despair comes over me, as always.

    For DARMA, I may be able to present a candidate for a new Association Chair within soon, but the suspense will continue for just a little bit more. Meanwhile, I encourage members to participate on August 27th in DARMA's workshop on holding inspiring meetings. There is a fee for participating, but DARMA members get a hefty reduction on what this kind of event would normally cost. There are still spaces left, but one will disappear soon, when I sign up for the workshop... (if the registration doesn't work, please register before 21 August by mail to darma@darma.dk).

    Another DARMA meeting has been posted, the "Finding funding" workshop that has been on the planning table for some time. Preparations are in full swing, so mark 20 November in your calendars! We are also planning more workshops with the Ministry for Research and Higher Education, and the ambition is to have parallel DARMA workshops with broader attendance; more info on this will be posted here.

    In the category "Reading suggestions", I would recommend everybody to read the report "Evaluations and Evaluators in Horizon2020" if you haven't already. The report is written and (I think) conceived by a group of experts, almost all of them DARMA members. Many, if not most of the observations and conclusions are generally applicable, and provide very useful insights for anybody working with grant proposal counselling .

    Another interesting, if not important, read is the report on the possible effects of Brexit on Danish research and higher education. The Swedish Vinnova Agency has written a similar Brexit report, but the Danish version has a more interesting approach, I think. Anyway, I think it's interesting that two so very different approaches have been chosen for the same topic.

    Finally, I was just (today) made aware of a new analysis of the rules for EC proposal for the rules for participation and dissemination in EU r&I programmes (direct link to PDF), which at a first glance looks comprehensive, but still easy to overview.

    If you have any additional suggestions, please don't hesitate to post them in the comments below.

    Finally, there are a number of interesting job openings at DARMA.dk for anyone who might be looking for new challenges. Three positions are open at Copenhagen University (two at Kontoret for Forskningsservice, with deadline already August 15th), one position is open at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation (KADK) (deadline 24 August), Research Services at Lund University is looking for a competent EU adviser with  application deadline of 27 August, and finally the Faculty of Law at KU is hiring with deadline 12 September.

    Since the position at Lund is at the unit I'm head of and it is in another country I will shamelessly promote it: We would very much welcome good Danish (or Norwegian) speaking applicants! Research administration – and life – is very much the same in Denmark and Sweden, and also different in interesting ways. The common picture of Sweden painted in Danish media is a caricature, which I hope everyone is aware of.

    The staff at Research Services is a group of dedicated, very competent and also very friendly and pleasant people. Finally, living in Denmark and working in Sweden has some tax benefits and is eminently possible, I can say with confidence and out of own experience. If you are interested or maybe just curious, don't hesitate to contact me at olaf.svenningsen@fsi.lu.se

  • 30 May 2018 08:51 | Olaf Svenningsen (Administrator)

    Two weeks have passed since DARMA's Annual Meeting and General Assembly 2018 in Nyborg, with more than 100 delegates attending. The event also marked that ten year's have passed since DARMA's founding General Assembly in November of 2008. Delegates have evaluated the meeting, and 95% of delegates rated the meeting 4 or higher on a 5-grade scale (the evaluation is still open for delegates who have not responded). Most of the presentations from the Annual Meeting as well as a photo album is available at the conference page.

    Thank you to all the delegates for contributing to making the Annual Meeting a success! DARMA is nothing without its members!

    I'm writing this in the train en route to Edinburgh and the INORMS 2018 Conference. DARMA's board has a poster: "National research management associations and networks – challenges and alternatives" (poster #90), which will be available for download at DARMA.dk immediately after the conference. 

    If you wish to see what I do during the conference, please follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/OlafSvenningsen 

    Finally, DARMA's General Assembly resulted in some changes to the Board: Hanne Dahl Mortensen from SDU is a new borad member, whereas Karen Slej is leaving the board. I also intended to leave the board, but a new Chair could not be appointed, and an extraordinary General Assembly will be convened after the summer.

    I will soon get back with more on what it is to be Chair of DARMA.

    But for now, the bagpipes are calling. Stay cool and enjoy the summer; I think we are being compensated for last year...

  • 08 Feb 2018 10:35 | Olaf Svenningsen (Administrator)

    One week into my new job at Lund University, and the chaos that has reigned over the past two months is slowly turning into a more manageable situation. Below, I very briefly describe first impressions from Lund, but first some DARMA business:

    • Today is the last day for EARMA’s early-bird registration for the Annual Conference, so if you are planning on going to Brussels, it is a very good idea to register today; the savings are substantial. 
    •  EARMA is also organizing an event in Brussles on 9 March to launch an EARMA Thematic Group on ethics in collaboration with the Ethics and Research Integrity Sector of DG RTD (ERIS). Read more about the event here…
    • DARMA recently announced a meeting facilitation workshop to be held at CBS on 24 April. The workshop is offered by Brain2Business and has been specially designed for DARMA’s members. Check it out and register at DARMA.dk…
    • The program for DARMA’s Annual Meeting, 17–18 May in Nyborg, is almost completed, and we will open for registration as soon as possible. The theme of the meeting is “Research Impact”, and it is also 10 years since DARMA’s constituting general assembly.

    Since I have changed jobs and now work in Sweden, this will be my last Annual Meeting as the Association’s chair, and I hope to see as many of you in Nyborg as possible!

    There has been a couple of events in DARMA recently, the impact workshop at DTU on January 29th had an attendance of 93, which I think is very impressive. DARMA’s Special Interest Group for Staff Management in Research Support (erfa-gruppe for personaleledelse) met earlier this week (if you are a staff manager/ have “personaleansvar” and would like to join the group, please let me know). More about these meetings will follow, but I would like to remind you that organizing a Westensee Workshop is a really good way to become involved with DARMA. Starting a Special Interest Group is also a good way to take initiative in a topic that you are interested in. You may choose any level of ambition you prefer, and you will never commit to more than you think is reasonable.

    To end this blog, let me tell you a little bit about what it’s like to change job AND country. I have worked in Sweden before, so it’s not really new to me, but it’s been nine years and much has changed. An observation that I can’t help to make is that although exactly 300 years younger than Lund University, SDU is a good deal more traditional and hierarchical in its mode of operation. I don't mean to put any value in this, but the difference is striking.

    Lund University is a huge, sprawling organization that is in the middle of many significant changes that affects Research Services, among them the simultaneous expiration of a large number of centers of excellence, and the establishment of the European Spallation Source. Other interesting challenges are new requirements regarding scientific misconduct and research ethics that are the responsibility of Research Services, and the “impact” discussion in all its forms and interpretations is very present. Finally, collaboration with Denmark is going to be one of my responsibilities, wonder why...?

    In coming blogs, I will continue to give my impressions, as I become more settled in.

  • 30 Nov 2017 23:20 | Olaf Svenningsen (Administrator)

    Where did November go? Did anybody see it? I was supposed to write a blog in November…

    Maybe the reason time flies by is that this past month has been so eventful. During this very last hour of the month, let me get a couple of things off my chest:

    First, and to my great pleasure, DARMA is happy to support the next Westensee Workshop entitled the “Impact Canvas Workshop” which is organized by, and at, DTU on January 29th. The Impact Canvas was presented at EARMA’s Annual Conference in Malta earlier this year by DARMA’s long-time friend, Dr. Jörg Langwaldt of Tampere University in Finland. Read more about the workshop, and sign up before January 15th, 2018 (but why wait so long..?).

    Second, DARMA has established a LinkedIn group, to promote the association and provide an additional channel of communication for matters relevant to the association. Check it out and please join: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/12067709

    Third, the INORMS 2018 Conference will be held in Edinburgh, still in the UK, on 4–7 June 2018 as joint conference between INORMS and our British sister association, ARMA. It is certainly going to be a spectacular event, and I would encourage all DARMA members to consider attending – and even better, contribute! DARMA’s board will submit an abstract, building on our presentation from the EARMA AC in Malta, and we hope to see many more Danish contributions. The deadline for abstracts is January 15th, 2018, and the abstract submission page can be accessed here…

    If your abstract is accepted – to any conference – don’t forget to apply for a DARMA travel fellowship!

    Fourth, in October I attended the SRA International Conference in Vancouver, Canada, and the INORMS Steering Group meeting. The conference was spectacular, as always, with a plethora of interesting, relevant, and thought-provoking presentations. One that received much – and well-deserved – praise was by Tina Lewis of Copenhagen University, with the title “LEAN Activities in a Research Administration - Results No One Expected”. Very well done, Tina!

    The second session that made a lasting impression was by Kathy Grzech of the University of Kentucky in, well, Kentucky. The topic was “Revisiting Rigor and Reproducibility in Grant Applications” to the NIH. I would recommend that you note this term, rigor and reproducibility, because I have a feeling that this may be the next big thing to hit the world of research administration, after the impact wave.

    In brief, rigor and reproducibility are new evaluation criteria, introduced last year by the NIH to address serious problems with the reproducibility in an unacceptably large number of research projects. NIH’s Director is cited in the presentation: 

    “Exacerbating this situation [problems with reproducibility] are the policies and attitudes of funding agencies, academic centres and scientific publishers. Funding agencies often uncritically encourage the overvaluation of research published in high‐profile journals. Some academic centres [...] provide incentives for publication in such journals, including promotion and tenure, and in extreme cases, cash rewards.”

    Why is this so interesting? Well, the widespread practice of encouraging publication in high-profile journals – which is basically written into law in this country – is now identified as a problem by the world’s largest research funder. It is turning everything upside down.

    I found this presentation so interesting that I contacted Kathy and got permission to put her slides on DARMA’s website, accessible to DARMA members. You can access the PDF file here and read the entire presentation yourself. The challenges are outlined in slides 4–15, but the entire presentation is well worth reading.

    Fifth, DARMA’s board is busy preparing DARMA’s Annual Meeting 2018, which also marks the 10th anniversary of the Association. We hope to be able to offer an Annual Meeting that is something more than usual, so clear your calendars for 17–18 May 2018. I really would like to see as many as possible of you in Nyborg!

    Sixth and last, on February 1st I will take up the position as head of Research Services at Lund University in Sweden, and I will thus be leaving my job at SDU. Since my wife is happy with her job at SDU, and we have a very good living in Odense, we will remain here, and I will commute a couple of times per week to Lund. I will also remain as Chair of DARMA until the Annual Meeting, but will not stand for re-election, for obvious reasons. 

    I made it! There are still a few minutes left of November, so I can call this the "November DARMA Update"... ;-)

    Take care out there, and enjoy the pleasures and dangers of “julefrokost”! I know that I will...

  • 06 Oct 2017 10:02 | Olaf Svenningsen (Administrator)

    "Winther is coming" says an ad for a coffee shop (Winthers Kaffe) in central Odense that I pass on my way to work every day, and the chilly season is indeed upon us. That means work, but also many interesting things happening with DARMA. I would like to briefly write about four offerings available to DARMA members right now:

    1. The Westensee workshop on impact in Odense next week with Julie Bayley of Coventry University. You can read more about it on the event page, and in Hanne Dahl Mortensen's blog post. If you wish to participate and get something to eat, please sign up today (Friday, October 6th)!

    2. Materials from the DARMA-SFU workshop on grant applications that took place on 11 September 2017 are now available for reading and download on the workshop page (DARMA members only, login required). The workshop was a collaboration between Styrelsen for Forskning og Uddannelse and DARMA and participation was limited for practical reasons. We would like to follow up on the themes at the workshop by e.g. organizing follow-up events. Please tell us what you think either by commenting below or send me an e-mail.

    3. NCURA Magazine's August 2017 issue on the topic "The Magic of Metrics" has kindly been made available by NCURA exclusively to DARMA's members, and can be downloaded as a PDF file from this page. I hope you will enjoy reading it as much as I did. My intention is to make similar deals with other organizations. NCURA Magazine is a natural first try, since I was Global Contributing Editor 2013-15. NCURA is one of the world's biggest RMA associations and in my opinion, every research manager should attend at least one NCURA conference in their life.

    4. There is only one single place left for DARMA's intro course for research administrators, so if you wish to participate, don't wait!

    As always, there are many interesting job ads on DARMA.dk, currently 5 positions at CBS, Region Hovedstaden, DTU and UC Nordjylland.

    Don't forget to submit sessions to EARMA's 2018 Annual Conference in Brussels; the deadline for submissions is 15 October 2017!

    Next week, I will be going to SRA International's Annual Conference in Vancouver, Canada and the FtoF meeting of INORMS Board. You may follow my doings in Canada on Twitter, and I will of course write here, too.

    Finally, I have been invited to present DARMA at DFF in a couple of weeks, and we plan to organize a DARMA visit to the new DFF office in Odense, as soon as DFF has found its place after reorganization, name change and relocation.

  • 18 Sep 2017 22:37 | Olaf Svenningsen (Administrator)

    Jeg var ikke et sekund i tvivl om at jeg gerne ville rejse ud da der pludselig blev åbnet for at de administrative medarbejdere på SDU kunne søge ERASMUS midler. På det tidspunkt havde jeg været ansat som forsknings administrator i 15 år på SDU, og på den baggrund følte jeg mig klar.

    Mit eneste problem var, hvor jeg skulle søge om at komme hen – men til det jeg fik hjælp af Olaf Svenningsen, som introducerede mig til The Metric Tide, forfattet af Simon Kerridge fra Kent University i Kent, Storbritannien.

    Erasmus handler om at dele, og da jeg har været med til at udvikle ansøgningsdatabasen kaldet SDUpro på SDU, så ville mit bidrag i Kent være at fortælle om databasen i dag og om hvordan jeg anvender den til udtræk og statistikker. Spørgsmålet var så hvad jeg kunne bringe med hjem?

    Vi aftalte at besøget kunne finde sted fra den 15. maj til og med den 19. maj 2017, og med besøget stadig i frisk erindring, må jeg blot sige, at det har været en helt igennem fantastisk tur med hovedvægten lagt på IMPACT i forskning.

    Der var på forhånd lagt et program ved Kent University, som dækkede hele deres forskningsenhed – meget veltilrettelagt – men som også meget let kunne tage pusten fra enhver. De havde alle tænkt over, hvad de ville fortælle mig og forberedt slides, som jeg efterfølgende fik tilsendt.

    Impact fylder ikke lige så meget i Danmark som i Storbritannien endnu, men begrebet er jo stille og roligt ved at snige sig ind i både forskningsråd og de private fonde.

    Så da jeg fik muligheden for at deltage i en workshop om Impact på Kent University, slog jeg til.

    Titlen på workshoppen var ”Maximise your Research Impact”. Der deltog ca. 100 forskere fra Kent, og workshoppen var bygget op, så der først var præsentation fra 3 forskere, som alle havde brudt gennem den akademiske mur – dernæst parallelle sessioner mellem Mark Reed og Julie Bayley. Sidstnævnte havde jeg også en private session med, hvor jeg præsenterede en forsker her fra NAT på SDU. Meget hurtig tegnede hun en tegning til mig, som viste os (som værende på universiteterne) og dem (de andre på den anden side af den akademiske mur), hvordan forskeren kunne generere Impact ved at identificere sine interessenter. Julie Bayley er inviteret til Danmark sidst medio oktober, hvor jeg sammen med DARMA arrangerer en Westensee workshop sammen med kollegaer her fra SDU.

    Jeg har haft en fantastisk tur. Turen var veltilrettelagt og jeg fik kun en enkelt eftermiddag for mig selv. Jeg skylder en stor tak til Phil Ward, som tog mig i hånden fra første dag. Han fulgte mig rundt på universitetet og han svarede på alle mine spørgsmål med et stort smil på læben (ikke at jeg taler dårligt engelsk), men han fik viklet et "wonderful" eller "excellent" ind i alle svar Jeg har deltaget i et comedy-show, været ude at spise med hele forskerstøtteenheden samt været privat ”dinner guest” hos Simon Kerridge (hvilket inkluderede 2 meget store hunde).

    Jeg kan kun opfordre alle til at tage en tur ud for at besøge en anden forskerstøtteenhed – det er en meget givende og en meget stor oplevelse, som jeg med glæde deler med jer andre.

    Hanne Dahl Mortensen, Support Office Science, Det Naturvidenskabelige Fakultet, SDU

  • 19 May 2017 12:21 | Olaf Svenningsen (Administrator)

    Today it is two weeks since DARMA’s Annual Meeting 2017 concluded in Nyborg. I have spent most of the time since then on vacation in Napoli, Italy, enjoying other pleasures than research management and administration; sunshine and good food.

    This was the second year that DARMA used the venue in Nyborg for its Annual Meeting and the third time with the lunch-to-lunch format. All presentations from the meeting are available online at the conference page.

    Almost half of the Annual Meeting delegates have evaluated the meeting, and at present – the evaluation is still not closed – ratings are on average very good to excellent. Input from the members is very important, so if you did attend the meeting, but still have not submitted your evaluation, you can do so until the end of this month. 

    It is the Board’s intention to optimize networking opportunities and provide a varied and engaging program. For example, the Funders’ Forum and Hot Topic discussions seems to be working well, and will be repeated next year.

    DARMA's Annual Meeting 2018 will be on 17-18 May 2018 at Hotel Sinatur Store Bælt in Nyborg, so you can reserve the date in your calendar already now! It is DARMA's 10th anniversary, and you don't want to miss it!

    Immediately before the Annual Meeting, DARMA’s General Assembly was held, where the main item was the election of new board members. Karam Sidaros is stepping down as Treasurer of the Association – he has done a tremendous job and I cannot express how much I appreciate his effort – and Marianne Gauffriau was elected as DARMA’s new treasurer. Marianne has been on the board for two years, and a better choice could hardly have been made.

    Two or three new board members were also elected: Jane Tymm-Andersen of Aalborg University and Nicolaj Toft Brenneche of Copenhagen University are new in the board, and Stine Wendelboe Bjorholm is sort of new. You see, Stine was on the board, but changed jobs in 2016 and stepped down from the board, but found out that research support is the better career path and came back, ran for a second term on DARMA’s board and was elected. All three will soon be presented in more detail to the members.

    As always, DARMA members showed a strong presence at the EARMA Annual Conference in Valletta, Malta at the end of April. John Donovan stepped down as Chair, and the Treasurer, Sharon Bailey was elected new Chair of EARMA. I know Sharon very well, and EARMA has made an excellent choice. Sharon will be assisted by EARMA’s new Managing Director, Nik Claesen, and EARMA can definitely look forward to very interesting developments in the coming years.

    Á propos EARMA:

    First, EARMA has written a “postcard” on the future of European research together with a number of other organizations. This postcard text is cited on DARMA’s web pages too; if you agree (and personally, I find it hard to disagree), please feel free to share the postcard text in your own networks.

    Second, remember that EARMA has an instrument named Open Lecture Access Forums, or OLAF. An OLAF makes it possible to invite a presenter at an EARMA event to come and repeat the presentation – possibly an extended version – at your institution. OLAF’s have been held in many countries – Spain, Italy, Iceland, Ireland and even the US – but never in Denmark. Check out the OLAF page at EARMA’s web and think about if you shouldn't organize an OLAF...

    Finally, I want to point out that DARMA’s job ads can be shared on social media; check out the buttons/links in the upper left margin of each job ad. I write this because SDU recently added three job ads, and I shared them, resulting in well over 600 separate views from 15 countries in last three days.! The second reason I write this is that almost nobody is using this option. If you want to promote a job or help your institution attract the best applicants, you may wish to consider using this very simple way to get much, much more exposure.

    So there. Now I will go to my office's spring party, and enjoy the first summer-like weekend this year. I hope I will not regret writing this about the weather, and wish all of DARMA’s members a very pleasant weekend!


  • 23 Apr 2017 08:14 | Olaf Svenningsen (Administrator)

    Early Sunday morning: After a short, brisk walk through a sunny, but ice-cold Odense, I am now on my way to the EARMA Conference in Malta. The past weeks – or months – have been very busy both at work and in the private life, for both good and bad reasons. One example of how things sometimes get an unexpected twist is what happened last Friday before Easter: 

    In the afternoon, I was in a telemeeting with the governing body of INORMS, the Council. The main task for that meeting was to decide where the INORMS Conference should be held in 2020. Two competing bids had been submitted, one from the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) together with the South African and the Brazilian associations, and one from the Research Manager and Administrator Network – Japan (RMAN-J). ACU suggested that the conference should be held in Cape Town, South Africa, and RMAN-J’s bid was for Hiroshima in Japan.

    Just as we were discussing the two bids, Facebook messages saying, “I’m safe” started popping up on my screen, all of them from friends in Stockholm. At first I had no idea what was going on, but quickly realized there had been a terrorist attack in central Stockholm. In very few minutes, it also became clear that my cousin Martin, and several other friends were at the scene. Martin, who works as a TV and radio reporter had seen the attack from a bus, jumped of, and ran towards the crashed truck, but stopping to do CPR on several victims on the way. You may have seen him on TV.

    Back to the INORMS meeting, which became a bit difficult to focus on: After a vote, Hiroshima won the competition, so after Edinburgh next year, INORMS goes to Japan for the first time. Hiroshima won with a narrow margin of votes, 8 to 6, which surprised me, since INORMS was held in Cape Town in 2010, and has never been in Asia. RMAN-J is also a young association, just like DARMA was in 2012, so I am very satisfied with the outcome of the vote.

    As I am heading to the Malta, I would like to point out that EARMA has an instrument, the Open Lecture Access Forum or OLAF (I invented the instrument, but not the name), which offers a possibility to invite presenters from EARMA conferences, and other events, to repeat the session locally, and EARMA pays.  I am very happy that OLAF is becoming very popular, and the latest OLAF was held just a few weeks ago in Bologna, with Sean McCarthy. There has not been any OLAF’s in Denmark, yet.

    DARMA’s General Assembly is quickly approaching, and as no suggestions have been received, the agenda that was published on March 15th remains unchanged. The biggest issue, as I see it, is to elect a new board. There has not exactly been a surge of interest, so I will repeat that we urgently need capable people that are interested in extending their network and experience, and do important work for our profession.

    There are numerous tasks ahead of us in the coming year: the website always needs attention and a loving hand, the association urgently needs a strategy and plan of action, a blog and news editor would fill an important role, the special interest groups would probably benefit from having a coordinator, someone working with membership might be valuable, we do of course need a treasurer, and 2018 marks DARMA’s 10th birthday, which should be celebrated. If you think that any of these issues would be interesting, or if you have ideas of your own, I think you should consider running for a seat on the Board. Remember that you can run in absentia; it is not necessary to attend the General Assembly.

    So, the train is soon arriving in Copenhagen. I will report from the EARMA Conference using Twitter, so if you want to follow what is happening, that is the way.

    Hope to see you in Nyborg in two weeks!



  • 23 Mar 2017 09:55 | Olaf Svenningsen (Administrator)

    Et nyligt jobskifte gjorde det desværre nødvendigt for mig at stoppe i DARMA’s bestyrelse før tid. Ganske vist er det stadig i forskningsadministration (så I slipper ikke helt for mig), men der er nye fagområder at sætte sig ind i og nye opgaver, så der er ikke rigtig tid og overskud til at lægge den nødvendige tid i bestyrelsesarbejdet.

    Og det var en hård beslutning – for det har været tre gode år.

    Jeg havde nok ikke troet, at det ville bidrage så meget til min faglighed at sidde i bestyrelsen. Det lyder måske lidt fjollet, når det nu er en faglig bestyrelse, men nogle gange er bestyrelsesarbejde mere organisatorisk end fagligt. Det er det selvfølgelig også indimellem i DARMA bestyrelsen, men diskussionerne om nye arrangementer, strukturer etc. bliver også til en slags metarefleksion over eget arbejde og professionens udvikling. Og nogle gange bliver det også en diskussion om udviklingsbehovene for ledere og medarbejdere. De diskussioner glemmer vi let i hverdagen – og de er især svære at få på tværs af institutioner.

    Så vær med til at arrangere Bruxelles turen, så du kan præge programmet; sid med behandlingen af rejsestipendierne, så du hører om alle de spændende ting kollegerne rundt omkring arbejder med, og kast dine kræfter ind i udviklingen af DARMA’s strategi og professionens udvikling.

    Der er selvfølgelig det helt banale, at man får et stort netværk. Engang imellem bliver netværk et mål i sig selv, hvilket er lidt noget pjat. Her er det et reelt netværk, fordi man mødes mange gange og samarbejder om ting, griner af ting og om ikke skændes om ting, så i hvert fald diskuterer dem. Man er i tvivl sammen og frustrerede sammen.

    Det gør også bestyrelsen til et fortroligt forum, hvor man kan tage faglige spørgsmål op eller vende udviklingen på egen institution med andre. Igen en privilegeret mulighed, som ikke byder sig til mange andre steder.

    Jeg kan kun anbefale at man prøver kræfter med en tur i DARMA’s bestyrelse. Og selvom man er i starten af sin karriere, så gør det endelig. Det er sundt både for dig og for bestyrelsen. Og gerne nogen uden for København, så vi bliver bredt geografisk repræsenteret – og gerne nogen, som ikke er ledere. Jo bredere bestyrelsen er – jo bedre bliver det.

    Så hvem end der får ”min” plads – så held og lykke – og nyd det! Det tager noget mere end Faktas fem minutter. Men det er det værd.

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