Tuesday, 25 September 2012


I've come to realise that, in order to get ahead in research administration, the most important skill to possess is an ability to master acronyms. It's an unwritten rule that, whenever two or more research administrators are gathered, each must shoehorn as many acronyms as possible into a sentence, so that to any outsider they sound like Russians gargling nails. Thus, a typical exchange would run something like this:

'Judith! I've not seen you since the ARMA conference.'
'Good to see you Maureen. I've been away at EARMA in Dublin. I stayed around for ESOF, too.'
'How was it?'
'Brilliant. Some of the INORMS lot were there, you know, from SRA, CAURA, ARMS, SARIMA and WARIMA.'
'Not NCURA?'
'Oh yes. NCURA, naturally. Oh, and ACU. Good times! So how are things with the REF at UCL?'
'OK, but the 3A, 3Bs and 4 are proving difficult. Much harder than the RAE. I don't know what HEFCE were thinking. How about KCL?'
'The same. The VC and PVC think things will be easier if the JISC RMAS system ever gets off the ground. The HoDs are less sure.'
'I hear the problem with that is individual researcher IDs. HR has concerns. But if they take on board the lessons from CERIF-CRIS...'
'Hopefully ORCID will do that.'
'Yes. But the ResID lot will need to pull their finger out first.'
'True. But then is RCUK going to accept it? And what about HESA? It'll affect ROS. And e-VAL.'
[general sucking of teeth]
'Oh, did you hear? We got that big EPSRC grant!'
'Was that the joint call with the MRC and NIHR?'
'No, the one with NERC and AHRC. The PI and Co-I are ecstatic!'
'I imagine there's a raft of RAs and PhDs?'
'Of course! But the SSC has cocked up the award announcement.'
'Yes. Gave the wrong amount via JeS!'
'It wasn't fEC?'
'So much for TRAC!!'
[both laugh, and wipe tears from their eyes]

Ah, you had to be there.

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