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A call about: the Research Support Conference

What does research support involve? And what should we do to improve the support for researchers at the University? We spoke to Maribel Adame Valero, research policy officer and external cooperation coordinator at the Institute of Biology and a member of the Leiden Research Support (LRS) focus group. She is one of the organisers of the Leiden Research Support Conference, which will be held from 27 to 29 September.

Maribel Adame Valero

Why a conference about research support and what is your role?

‘The aim of the Research Support Conference is to bring together different experts from Leiden University who work in research support, to give them the chance to network and learn from one another. I’m on the panel at the opening session, together with Rector Magnificus Hester Bijl, Chair of the LRS steering group and Dean of the Faculty of Humanities Mark Rutgers and Eiko Fried, an associate professor at the Department of Clinical Psychology. The topic we’ll be discussing is how the national and international context influences the work of the researchers and research support staff.'

‘The conference programme came into being during various Leiden Research Support networking cafés, where staff brainstormed about the topics they would like to see covered during the conference. You can follow interactive workshops about grant advice, privacy, project management and more. Together with Felix Wittleben I’m facilitating the session 'Research support as a profession: create your own career', on Wednesday 29 September.'

Not signed up for the conference yet? Please do so before Thursday 23 September!

More information and registration

Can you tell us a bit about the Leiden Research Support programme?

‘The funding landscape has changed drastically in recent years. It’s becoming increasingly difficult for researchers to get funding for their research. Not only is the competition fierce, but organisations such as the Dutch Research Council (NWO) are setting stricter requirements for the application: alongside the actual research proposal you also have to submit a data management plan, for instance, and the project budget and project management have to be in order too. The rules and requirements from legislative and regulatory bodies are becoming stricter and more complex too. Researchers are really good at their own subject, but often don’t have time for or know too little about this kind of thing. That is why expertise and support in data management, privacy, funding and project management, for instance, is really important. And there is a lot of knowledge within the organisation, but the faculties don’t all offer the same level of support.’ ‘The aim of the Leiden Research Support programme is to provide the best possible support to individual researchers and research groups who are applying, managing and reporting on externally funded research projects. We also want to get support staff with different areas of expertise to work together more, not just within their own faculty but outside it too. We aim for a “no wrong door policy”: if the person you ask a question can’t answer it, they’ll refer you to someone who can.'

What is your tip for researchers?

‘Make sure you know what support is available at your institute or faculty. We’re here to help!’

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