Hiding in plain sight: research management as a practice and profession in the scholarly ecosystem

Julie Bayley, Kieran Fenby-Hulse

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The growing interest in meta-research reflects an increasing sector appetite to understand the methodological, philosophical and societal implications of research, and provides vital insights into fundamental issues such as integrity, bias and reproducibility. However, the research sector is far from static, and routinely faces changes to funding and assessment expectations within pressured, changeable and competitive political climates. Whilst research on research provides vital insights, the processes of managing research within both established and fluid research environments is often omitted from discourse. A focus on research, without sufficient consideration of the research environment or institutional infrastructure, inaccurately characterises research as a dyadic (researcher-research), disconnected and unsupported activity. Research Management and Administration (RMA) is an increasingly core function within universities, with roles including funding management, post-award support, financial compliance, outreach and impact amongst others. RMA often provides a formal, subject agnostic brokerage role between researchers, the institution and the wider sector, intermediating between the requirements of each. In recent years the role and professionalisation of these colleagues – as distinct from the process itself – has grown substantially, and in tandem with the growth in Professional RMA Societies. This chapter will use the example of impact to explore the significance of RMA to the research environment, the challenges and institutional responses to sector change, and the vital governance role to optimise ‘space’ for academics to deliver robust and original research.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Meta-Research
EditorsAlis Oancea, Gemma Derrick, Nuzha Nuseibeh, Xin Xu
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing Ltd.
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781839105715
ISBN (Print)1839105712
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2024


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