DARMA Update October - Finding Funding workshop, new President, AM 2019

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

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