Fast Facts On The Evolution Of The Profession Of Research Administration

Katie Porter, Director of Research Administration, Hamilton Health Sciences

No longer a silo-ed back office function, Research Administration has come to the forefront of institutions as a key enabler of research activity, funding and real-world impact. 

I thought it would be interesting for the CARA cohort to look at where the profession of Research Administration began.

  • The evolution of Research Administration is linked to the emergence of formal research conducted at institutions of higher learning.
  • Our profession grew as public research funding agencies increased their demands for reporting and regulations.
  • With new obligations to meet regulatory requirements, along with the fact that this administrative work could not be done by researchers, the profession of Research Administration was born.
  • As research funding models became more complex, reporting requirements more specific, and institutions more concerned with compliance to regulations, the role of Research Administration evolved into an important support system for the research enterprise.

While today’s Research Administrator may still navigate the regulatory system and ensure compliance, they are now a strategic partner for researchers at institutions, building an infrastructure that facilitates and enhances outstanding research.

As research itself evolves, advances in analytics and technology emerge, and a greater breadth and depth of scientific knowledge appears, our profession must evolve yet again.  I look forward to hearing your thoughts about where we’re headed as Research Administrators and how we can support the dynamic research going on at our organizations.