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Olaf Svenningsen

on 1 March 2018

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Transcript of NOVA-2016-02-18

Experiences from Sweden, Denmark and the US
Supporting research
NOVA Internationalisation Prize Seminar:
Working Together Successfully
Olaf Svenningsen
"OK; that sounds good, but what does research support
actually do
Follow this presentation "live" :
Thank you for your attention!
Olaf Svenningsen

Research funding in a European context: past and present
Institutional funding
Project funding
Driven by scientific curiosity
Focus on single disciplines
Peer review primary quality criterion
Dominantly public national research funding
Internal drivers: Research for research's sake
Driven by problems, challenges
Peer review and impact, societal value
Diversified European and cross-border funding
Research to support policy and political goals
Increased expectations/demands
More political
More money
More legal
The "evolutionary ladder" of research support
Paper pushers
Back office
Proposal support
Contracts, IPR
Project management methods
Project design
Global networkers
Relationship builders
Research community advocates
Needs and expectations for support change accordingly:
Thematic priorities
Partnership requirements
Funding terms and conditions
Evaluator experience
Build trusting relationships
Interest in knowing...
Ability to talk to many different stakeholders (researchers, funders, industry, authorities...)
Understanding the political system
Policy input...
Understand lobbying and consultation processes
Research support in the US
US research institutions normally do not have direct government research funding (block grants);
Research funding is thus normally 100% external, and also dominantly federal;
Research administration and grants management are, and have always been, fundamental to US research institutions;
"Compliance" is a central concept, but;
Administrative burden is officially considered unreasonable
Presentation at EARMA conference in Dublin 2012
Presentation at DARMA annual meeting in Århus 2013
Adapted from
NCURA Micrograph
The Role of Research Administration

"Ray Woodrow of Princeton said nearly forty years ago that sponsored programs administrators must
manage for research
, rather than
do management of research
Pre-award services are under the academic reporting line, whereas post-award is under the financial/administrative reporting line!
Emergence and growth of the
Third Space Professional
Research support in
Denmark and Sweden
Similar patterns (or lack of...):
Spawned by EU research funding programs, often through a "bottom-up process";
Catalyzed by complex, strategic national funding programs;
Few non-EU RSO's older than 15 years;
No common denominator except mission ("attract more funding"...);
Link to this presentation:

So there is no single coherent "Scandinavian research support model"; How about the rest of Europe...?
(Celia Whitchurch:
Most of the processes and tasks are carried out in collaboration with other services, offices, or functions. The defining aspect of the RSO is that it brings together all the processes and tasks into a coherent service, focusing on efficient acquisition of external research funds.

Focus and support from top level management is a condition for success.

(NSB report:

Oslo, 18 February 2016
University of Southern Denmark (SDU)
Danish Association of Research Managers and Administrators (DARMA)
Wide/wild variation:
central – decentral – distributed – etc.
finances – tech trans – communication – legal – library – other offices – department – etc.
pre-award – post-award – strategy – "fundraising" – innovation & commercialization – etc.
typically 4-15 FTE
all are pre-award, most also have post-award
Full transcript