Over the past few years, technology in research administration has been changing rapidly, particularly after the Covid pandemic. As a result, universities have faced significant challenges as an intersection between education, research, and office life.

Infonetica recently conducted a survey asking research managers in several universities about recent challenges, upcoming trends and their research priorities for the next three years.

Comparing results from several UK universities, including King’s College, University of Oxford and Cardiff University, I’ve summarised common answers below to give you a snapshot of how research administration in universities may be changing in 2022.

What Are the Upcoming Trends in University Research Management?

Our survey first asked research managers to state the top three upcoming trends they expected to impact university research management in the next three years. More than one university alluded to:

  • Employee experience
  • Funding and grants
  • New technologies (e.g., AI, Cloud applications and storage, virtual reality and augmented reality)
  • New models of working, including hybrid and remote working
  • Online learning

Aside from financial concerns, many of these trends relate to technological adjustments, including moves to digital modes like Cloud storage and online learning. In addition, they also seem to touch on changes in work models and culture.

What Areas of Research and Research Management are Universities Focusing On?

We then asked these research managers what their primary area of focus would be for their offices in the next three years. Again, some answers revolved around specific themes, which were:

  • Tools and funds
  • Team relationships
  • New and emerging technologies (including virtual and augmented technology)
  • Online learning

Much like in the questions regarding upcoming trends, research managers also considered new technologies and office dynamics when thinking about their workplaces. Likewise, a dependency on funding and resources appeared again. 

What Key Challenges Are Universities Facing?

Finally, we asked research managers what key challenges their departments were facing. Recurring themes included:

  • Deciding the topic of research
  • Funding, grants and support
  • Time limitations
  • New technology and tech budget (e.g., implementation of latest tools & tech training)
  • Performance problems and team relationships

Again, financial concerns remain a concern, as do new technologies and team and office dynamics.

What Are the Solutions?

As demonstrated by the results of this survey, the challenges facing university-based research offices are by no means easy to solve. Issues surrounding necessary changes to technology and difficulty securing funds are only a few of the many concerns these offices are grappling with.

However, I believe that our products can help research managers facilitate team collaboration and a transition to digital methods without any absorbent costs.

For example, Ethics RM is a software solution designed specifically to improve efficiency and collaborative potential in research administration. By seamlessly automating various processes with minimal staff training required, the system can free up departmental resources so everyone can focus on the work that matters. 

By introducing Ethics RM into their institution, a research department can simultaneously reduce their workload, upgrade their technological platforms, and maximise their team’s efficiency.

Alleviate Pressures on Your Research Office

While products like Ethics RM can’t solve all the challenges university research departments are dealing with, they can certainly help to relieve some of the pressure.

If you’re a research manager, I encourage you to read more about Ethics RM and other software solutions designed specifically for research institutions here: https://www.infonetica.net/ethics-rm/