People first, every time: optimizing your most valuable resource to deliver happy staff and best customer service

Ashleigh Merriel - HDR Progressions Coordinator, Flinders University
Dr Anders Friberg - Grants Office, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden
Esther Philips - Grant Advisor & EU Project Manager, Institute of Environmental Science, Faculty of Science, Leiden University

Walk the Corridor: The importance of human interaction in computer-mediated environments

ASHLEIGH MERRIEL – HDR PROGRESSIONS COORDINATOR, FLINDERS UNIVERSITY

According to Hobaugh (1997), problems with social dynamics amongst participants is often the major cause of ineffective group actions in an online environment. In an industry reliant on email communications, is it any wonder that productivity issues arise as the socio-emotional aspects are neglected.

The balance between emotional intelligence, relationship management and the bureaucracy of research management can often be difficult to achieve. Decisions based on publication outputs, grant income and number of HDR completions are the focus of any strategic discussions relating to research management. While these aspects are important to the rankings and various successes of an institution, the intangible is often ignored. Relationship management in research is essential to the success of all stakeholders from the student and academic supervisor through to the institution and/or industry funder.  This presentation will focus on the importance of human interaction in a computer mediated world and the significance of relationships and rapport in research management, and how to manage it when it all goes wrong.

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A tool to assist Grants Office priorities and measure support values

DR ANDERS FRIBERG – GRANTS OFFICE, CHALMERS UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY, GOTHENBURG, SWEDEN

The resources of a small Grants Office are always limited, and university administration is always under pressure to be as efficient as possible. In this context, we find it necessary to actively address three key questions: 1) How do we define the value of Grants Office support? 2) What support activities yield the best return of investment? 3) What funders and calls should we invest support time on and why?

We have devised a tool, a mathematical model, quantifying the value of our support. Factors considered are financial value, strategic value and support benefit. Important prerequisites affecting the usefulness of such a tool include good insight into the impact of support activities, a well-developed time allocation system, and dialogue with university faculty and management. Importantly, most of the factors included in the model are subjective, making it adaptable to shifting strategic priorities.

This tool will guide and support decision making and prioritization of support activities. The expected impact is to ensure the right support, with the right funders and calls, for the right “customers”, creating value for Chalmers with a verifiable return of investment.

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Yes, we can’t. Dealing with stress

ESTHER PHILIPS – GRANT ADVISOR & EU PROJECT MANAGER, INSTITUTE OF ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE, FACULTY OF SCIENCE, LEIDEN UNIVERSITY

Pleasing others seems a recurrent aspect in life. A baby’s first laugh pleases the parents. As soon as the baby discovers this, it will try to find ways to please the parents again. This pleasing continues throughout life: teachers, partner, employer, colleagues. It also is an important part of a Research Manager’s daily life. We do our utmost to help colleagues in writing, submitting and managing research projects. Driven by our passion to please, saying ‘no’ is something we rather not do. Or don’t do at all.

Where lies the responsibility for this situation? Is it simply a question of too many tasks? Are we not resilient enough? Can’t we say ‘no’? And if not, why? Has our concept of service backfired? Do we hold ourselves to an unobtainable standard? Are we trying to control the uncontrollable? One thing is certain: if we want excellent research support to be sustainable, we need to look into this.

We intend to take the discussion beyond stating that stress is a problem in research management and open the discussion on what to do about it.

Room Pentland
Time 12:00 - 13:15
Date Thursday 7th June, 2018
Theme Leadership & Professional Development
Style Panel
Speakers Ashleigh Merriel - HDR Progressions Coordinator, Flinders University
Dr Anders Friberg - Grants Office, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden
Esther Philips - Grant Advisor & EU Project Manager, Institute of Environmental Science, Faculty of Science, Leiden University

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