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African and UK research management professionals co-create resources to improve the profession


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African and UK research management professionals co-create resources to improve the profession

Nairobi, Kenya | London, UK, Thursday, 29 October 2020

Six teams consisting of 57 research management professionals from Africa and the UK have been selected to take part in the International Research Management Staff Development Programme (IRMSDP) seeking to develop their individual capacity, promote knowledge and culture sharing and the development of tools and resources by research management professionals in the respective regions.

IRMSDP is implemented by the Research Management Programme in Africa (ReMPro Africa), a programme of the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA). AESA is a funding, agenda-setting and programme management initiative created through a partnership between the African Academy of Sciences (AAS), African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD), and global partners. IRSMPD, which contributes to ReMPro Africa’s fourth strand on developing individual capacity of research management staff, is implemented in partnership with ARMA (UK), the professional membership association for Research Managers and Administrators in the UK.

The other three ReMPro Africa’s strands are institutional leadership, standards and sustainability of research management function.

“This partnership with ARMA is keen to promote South-South and North-North collaborations, while at the same time strengthening international ties and enabling research management professionals to widen and share their skills for the benefit of their institutions and the profession,” says Allen Mukhwana, the Research Systems Manager at the African Academy of Sciences.

Following a rigorous selection process, 12 teams from Africa and UK were selected. The teams were consequently matched to form 6 international teams consisting of 57 individuals who will participate in the actual knowledge and culture exchange programme. African participants are from institutions in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Somalia, Tanzania, Uganda, Botswana, Kenya and Zambia. UK participants are from institutions in the North East, South East, London, North West, East Midlands and South East regions.

List of participating institutions:

Team One
Namibia University of Science and Technology (Namibia), University of Witwatersrand (South Africa), Loughborough University (United Kingdom), Botswana Open University (Botswana), De Montfort University (United Kingdom), Cranfield University (United Kingdom), Stellenbosch University (South Africa), and the University of Namibia (Namibia),

Team Two
Nugaal University (Somalia), St John’s University (Tanzania), Imperial College of London (United Kingdom), The Francis Crick Institute (United Kingdom), University of Nairobi (Kenya) and the Uganda Management Institute (Uganda)

Team Three
School of African Studies (United Kingdom), Bindura University of Science Education (Zimbabwe), London School of Economics (United Kingdom), Midlands State University (Zimbabwe), Africa University Clinical Research Centre (Zimbabwe), and the National University of Science and Technology (Zimbabwe)

Team Four
Durham University (United Kingdom), London School of Economics (United Kingdom), New Castle University (United Kingdom), Northumbria University (United Kingdom), Aga Khan University (Kenya), University of Washington, Women’s Health Project (Kenya), International Centre for Reproductive Health (Kenya) and the KEMRI Wellcome Trust Research Programme (Kenya)

Team Five
Africa Health Research Institute (South Africa), Center for Family Health Research (Zambia), University of Leeds (United Kingdom), University of London (United Kingdom), University of Southampton (United Kingdom) and the Botswana-Harvard AIDS Institute Partnership (Botswana).

Team Six
Cardiff University (United Kingdom), The Public Health Alliance for Genomic Epidemiology, University of Western Cape (South Africa), University of Bath (United Kingdom), African Institute of Biomedical Science and Technology (Zimbabwe), University of Cape Town (South Africa), University of West England (United Kingdom), University of Exeter (United Kingdom) and the University of Bristol (United Kingdom).

Over a course of eight months beginning in October 2020 and ending in April 2021, the six teams will gain practical skills and co-create resources to close the critical gaps in the African research ecosystem to support a vibrant research culture and leadership at universities and research institutions. The teams are focusing their innovative ideas on the  themes: Research management support functions and infrastructure; professional development for research managers and administrators; funding and collaboration for research; and research uptake and impact.
The ultimate goal is to strengthen the research management capacity of institutions via the professionals who work for them.

Hamish Macandrew, ARMA’s Chief Operating Officer, added, “ARMA is delighted to be working with our African partners on this ground-breaking project. IRMSDP offers a marvelous opportunity for our members to build connections and establish strong working relationships with those who manage and support Africa’s research programmes. Global research challenges need cross-continental partnerships, and this programme will deliver exciting and innovative initiatives that can only strengthen the provision of collaborative, world-class research.”

“I am passionate about research administration and my goal is to make a positive impact by lessening the encumbering red tape usually associated with research administration, giving PI’s and their teams more time to focus on their scientific goals. The IRMSDP is a very exciting initiative which contributes to ReMPro’s 4th strand of developing individual capacity of research management staff would allow me practical skills and knowledge sharing pathways to achieve this goal.” says Sashin Harilall, Research Grants Manager at the Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI). 

Notes for editors

Research Management Programme in Africa
The Research Management Programme in Africa (ReMPro Africa) seeks to build the expertise necessary to create and sustain robust research enterprise and environments by addressing systemic level challenges at African institutions. ReMPro Africa is implemented through the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA) with the support of Wellcome, United Kingdom Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO formerly DFID), UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), and the UK Department of Health and Social Care (UK-DHSC).

The Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa
The Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA) was created in 2015 through a partnership of the African Academy of Sciences (AAS), the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD), founding and funding global partners, and through a resolution of the summit of African Union Heads of Governments. The mission of AESA is to shift the centre of gravity for African science to Africa through agenda setting, mobilizing Research & Development (R&D) funding, and managing continent-wide Science, Technology & Innovation (STI) programmes that promote the brightest minds, strengthening the best possible science environments in Africa, fostering scientific excellence, inspiring and mentoring emerging research leaders, and accelerating and translating research & innovations into products, policies, and practices that will improve and transform lives in Africa.

The African Academy of Sciences
The African Academy of Sciences (AAS) is a non-aligned, non-political, not-for-profit pan African organisation whose vision is to see transformed lives on the African continent through science. Our tripartite mandate is recognising excellence, providing advisory and think tank functions, and implementing key STI programmes addressing Africa’s developmental challenges. The Academy’s five strategic focus areas include: Environment and climate change; health and wellbeing; natural sciences; policy and governance; and social sciences and humanities
Join us on and Twitter @AASciences and learn more by visiting

African Union Development Agency
The African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) is the development agency of the African Union, coordinating and executing priority regional and continental development projects to promote regional integration towards the accelerated realisation of Agenda 2063 – Africa’s vision and action plan

ARMA (UK) is the professional membership association for research managers and administrators in the UK. The organisation currently has over 3,000 individual members from around 250 organisations, ranging from universities and funding bodies to the National Health Service and independent research institutions. It represents research leaders, managers and administrators, offering professional development and opportunities to build networks, knowledge and skills. ARMA also works with UK-wide and international bodies to influence and understand the changing research management agenda, translating the impact of that change for its members. Most of all, ARMA works to enhance research management as a profession in the UK research environment.
Media enquiries
The African Academy of Sciences, Nairobi, Kenya
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