The DARMA blog offers an opportunity to share your thoughts or start a discussion on any topic relevant to Research Administration and Research Management.

The blog is open for everyone to read. However, you must be logged in to write new posts and comment on existing posts. This is a forum for DARMA members and affiliates to share knowledge with peers.

You are welcome to systematise and sharpen your reflections on your recent conference participation, discuss your learning of a workshop, start a debate about our profession, share tips and tricks on best-practice etc.

If you have a suggestion for something that should be covered or someone who should be invited to contribute, please contact the DARMA Secretariat.

  • 10 Apr 2019 11:06 | Annedorte Vad

    Nu er det igen muligt at søge om støtte til internationalt samarbejde via International Network Programme. Styrelsen for Forskning og Uddannelse har åbnet for ansøgninger til 2019-call'et. Ansøgningsfrist er onsdag den 8. maj 2019 kl. 12:00.

    International Network Programme (INP) sigter mod at yde støtte til forskere ved danske institutioner (både offentlige og private), der ønsker at indlede netværksaktiviteter med samarbejdsparter fra Brasilien, Indien, Israel, Japan, Kina, Sydafrika, Sydkorea og / eller USA. 

    Læs mere på

  • 20 Mar 2019 15:57 | Jan Andersen

    Successful COST BESTPRAC meeting held in Tallinn, Estonia

    BESTPRAC is a COST network that gathers people working at universities and research-driven institutions who are carrying out different tasks to support EU-funded research projects.

    Since 2014, the network serves as a platform for exchanging experiences, sharing and developing best practices, encouraging knowledge sharing and increasing efficiency in research administration.

    Twice a year, the network organises joint meetings of its members. The 11th BESTPRAC Working Group meeting was held from March 11-12 at the Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia and gathered over 100 people from different European countries.

    Denmark has two official representatives in BESTPRAC, myself from DTU and Emilia Alegria from Århus University. After beeing the initiative taker and chair, I stepped down last year, so this was my first meeting without any formal roles.

    As part of the meeting, two plenary sessions were held for all participants. The first one was held by Peter Härtwich from DG Research & Innovation on the EU Funding&Tenders portal. The portal was recently launched by the European Commission and it contains many novelties in comparison to the Research Participant portal previously used for applying for and implementation of Horizon 2020 projects. In the other plenary session, “The Art of Writing”, Ellen Schenk from Erasmus University Medical Center Rotterdam presented the most important aspects of writing a successful funding proposal with useful tips on how to make a funding proposal stand out. The recordings of both sessions are available on the BESTPRAC YouTube channel.

    Apart from the joint sessions, separate meetings of the three individual working groups (WG1: Administration, WG2: Finance, WG3: Legal) were held and filled in most of the Tallinn meeting schedule.

    I particpated as a member of Working Group 1, Administration.

    The Administration group discussed the next multiannual financial framework 2021-2027 and presented facts about Horizon Europe and Erasmus+ programmes known at this point. A discussion on how to better engage with the government, business & civil sector was also held as well as two sessions designed to develop soft skills needed in research administration.

    You can find more information about BESTPRAC at www.bestprac.eu and use the BESTRAC knowledge base: http://bestprac-wiki.eu/Main_Page 

  • 14 Mar 2019 20:27 | Annedorte Vad

    Please find below a link to the announcement for the NordForsk call in the Nordic Programme on Sustainable Urban Development and Smart Cities.



  • 11 Feb 2019 20:04 | Annedorte Vad

    This is just a quick note to let you know that the registration is open for the DARMA Annual Meeting. Go to the registration page for more information 

    The theme of the meeting will be The Future of Research Support

    You can look forward to two days with inspiring keynotes, interesting discussions and networking with old and new colleagues across the research support profession. 

    The deadline for registration is April 1. Please note that the number of participants is limited to 100 so don't wait too long register if you want to be sure of a place. 

    We look forward to seeing you in Nyborg.

    Kind regards, 

    The Darma Board

  • 08 Feb 2019 08:22 | Hanne Dahl Mortensen (Administrator)

    Jeg blev valgt ind i bestyrelsen for Darma med et løfte om at arbejde med Impact i ansøgninger. Nu er jeg kun glad for at kunne sige at arbejdet med at synliggøre er skudt i gang.

    Jane og jeg inviterede Dr David Phipps fra Toronto i Canada på besøg her på SDU den 4. februar, så han kunne hjælpe os i gang. Han holdt et par meget inspirerende oplæg, hvorefter vi delte os i fire grupper.

    Dr. David Phipps er leder af et stort netværk på tværs af Canada, som dækker alle aspekter af Impact i ansøgninger. Han er endvidere leder af York forskerstøtte enhed.

    Alle grupperne fik emne, som de skal skrive om i relation til Impact på Darma’s hjemmeside. Hvordan de forskellige grupper skal arbejde aftales internt, men planen er, at den færdige hjemmede præsenteres til Darma’s årsmøde den 21. maj 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

  • 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...

DISCLAIMER: Any opinions expressed here represents only the authors, and not DARMA.

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