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Good turnout for first network meeting for research support staff

The work of research support staff such as grant advisers, data stewards and project managers is changing fast. This makes it useful if they don’t have to keep reinventing the wheel. They shared their experiences at a digital network meeting on 6 July.

Without large grants, scientific research is almost impossible, and successful applications are worth their weight in gold. However, the requirements for managing and justifying research data are rapidly changing and the application process is becoming increasingly complex. This makes it important for people to share their top tips. To do so, they first need to know of each other’s existence, hence the Leiden Research Support digital network event on 6 July for 47 research support staff from all corners of the University.

From finance to ethics

The event met a great need, said organiser Niels Laurens, manager of the Institute for Physics and one of the project leaders of the Leiden Research Support programme. The aim of this programme is to improve the support throughout the University for researchers and research groups that need to apply for, manage and justify externally funded research projects. ‘It’s a real shame we don’t make more use of one another’s expertise, for example in the field of European grants, finance, ethics or new legislation.’

Self-organising networks

Laurens gave the example of the data management requirements of the EU and NWO: researchers have to be able to demonstrate that their data is openly available and reproducible. With a new rule such a this, it saves a huge amount of time if you don’t have to figure everything out alone. Leiden Research Support therefore helps research support staff throughout the University find one another.

Share successes

The meeting, which was held online in Kaltura, was opened by Rector Carel Stolker. He emphasised the importance of research support staff and their crucial role in realising new research projects. After some words of encouragement, he called on the research support staff to make their successes more visible within the organisation.

More network meetings will be held over the coming year to strengthen the ties between the research support staff and give them the opportunity to share ideas. If you are interested or have any questions, please contact Niels Laurens or see the website (in Dutch).

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