The Experience

Adeem Zafar, Post Award Manager, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Thuwal, Saudi Arabia

What prompted you to enroll in the Research Administration Certificate?

My name is Adeem Zafar, and I am currently the Post Award Manager at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Thuwal, Saudi Arabia. I am a Canadian who has almost 11 years of research administration experience. There are two main reasons which prompted me to enroll:

The first is that having been in research administration for as long as I have, I felt it was time to ‘formalize’ the experience that I have already gained. The Research Administration Certificate does this by giving an overview of the different areas that can encompass research administration even though one may have work experience focussed in only one area.

The second reason why I chose to enroll in this program is that it aligns well in my case since  I work abroad, the Research Administration Certificate allows me to keep up to date with what is going in the world of Canadian research administration, which can enable me to apply this knowledge to my current position as well as to support me in the future whenever I decide to return to Canada.


What advice would you give someone considering the Research Administration Certificate?

The Research Administration Certificate is definitely worth the investment for your career if you choose to pursue research administration as a career seriously. For those who are considering switching into it as a career but do not know which area to go into (e.g., Post-award, Pre-award, Contracts, etc.), this certificate will give you the overview and understanding in all the main avenues of research administration, which may benefit you in your decision-making.

Also, the fact that it is entirely online and flexible in terms of the course selection order, as well as your time commitment requirements, helps you to continue to build your work experience and pursue the Research Administration Certificate at the same time.


What do you think other CARA members should consider about formal education in the profession?

I would envision that for some of us if not most of us,  we ‘fell into’ this line of work. Formal education in this profession would help bring about more structure and further understanding of what we are already doing and what else can be done.

On the flip side, formal education in this profession can also aid in the hiring process as somebody experienced in post-award, for example, would be far more of an asset to a research institution than someone who is only qualified in general finance/accounting employed in the private sector.


What is the best part of the certificate for you?

The best part of the certificate for me is the flexibility to study at my own pace by allowing me to take the courses in any order that I would like as well as how many courses one can to take concurrently. Also, this flexibility of the program helps me balance my full-time work commitments with family time, as well.