Volunteer Spotlight

Daniela Bianco, Manager of Research Development and Relations at Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS)

1.What inspired you to become involved in the Professional Development Task Force?

I had the pleasure to informally lead an ad hoc group in past years who championed building up the CARA Webinar curriculum.  The popularity of webinar offers coupled with CARA’s strategic directions were key drivers, as well as an ideal opportunity to optimize depth and breadth in forming a task force with national representation of CARA members.  Working jointly with CARA Executive Director, Sarah Lampson, we developed Terms of Reference, and Webinar Program One Pager to solicit and recruit CARA community members to serve on the newly formed Task Force.


2.Please tell us about your background (professional/volunteer/education)

I am the Manager of Research Development and Relations at Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS), whose employment history extends over 30 years of service. I have over 20 years of experience as a research administration professional with progressive leadership and management experience in an academic hospital and university acumen.

I have been a long-standing member of CARA since 2003. My experience within CARA has been such a positive one. I currently Chair a national task force spearheading establishing a framework for CARA’s professional development curriculum that is tied to core competencies, as well as value-based across all levels of the research administration profession. My past contributions have included both moderating and presenting at national conferences, hosting webinars, poster presentations, as well as contributing toward social media blog, testimonials and posts. These rich experiences have led to increasing my professional network not to mention broaden my knowledge base of Research Administration as a Profession (RAAP) that has allowed me to tap into best practices and solutions growing and learning alongside my fellow Research Administrators. I am utterly honoured and proud to be named the 2020 Recipient of the Dan Chase Distinguished Service Award – Priority Initiatives.


3.What do you find most rewarding about volunteering?

Allows for personal growth pushing comfort levels (in a good way) at times; but, more importantly volunteering serves as a key conduit to channel CARA’s national voice on strategic priorities for the betterment of individuals and Research Administration as a Profession.


4.Why do you think CARA's webinar program is important?

The Task Force is currently developing a value-based and competency-based frame work and domains to augment the existing platform with the aim to elevate quality and reputation offering diversity within a comprehensive approach to learning and advancing careers across all levels.  Webinars offer real life/work experiences sharing best practices to common goals, challenges and solutions to mitigate risk and quality of conduct of research and all its moving parts.


5.Why do you recommend others get involved with their professional association?

It is a golden opportunity with endless means to suit any member’s comfort level that enables rich experiences that help with increasing confidence, leadership visibility as well as both professional network and broadening the knowledge base of RAAP.


6.Why do you think ongoing professional development is important?

I would say it is a requirement in order to leverage the ever-changing environment and profession keeping abreast of what is trending, how to mitigate risk and implement best practices or offer solutions for streamlining workflow and improve efficiencies.


7.What do you like best about being a research administrator?

No day is ever the same.  Many day-to-day interactions call for creative solutions and access to a professional network that is diverse and rich with expertise, including serving as a mentor for more junior staff and/or learners!