The RItrainPlus management training programme is designed for professionals in Research Infrastructures and Core Facilities. The programme, organised for the first time as a pilot in summer 2023, has attracted a lot of interest and received 277 applications from over 40 countries. Over 130 participants were selected to enter the
Prof. Marialuisa Lavitrano, the coordinator of the RItrainPlus project

The RItrainPlus management training programme is a new initiative that started in June 2023

It aims to enhance the competencies of managers of Research Infrastructures (RIs) and Core Facilities (CFs). The course programme was developed by RItrainPlus’ key experts who have extensive experience and knowledge in managing research performing- or service providing organizations. The course content reflects the results of the research that involved 330 RI and CF managers in a quantitative and qualitative survey and interviews on the needed and most valued competences. The survey results showed that managers prioritised communication, interpersonal, networking and management competences.

“Research Infrastructures and Core Facilities are complex organisations that operate at the frontlines of research. On top of the specific competences in their sector, scientists and operators have to improve their competences in managing human resources, communications, and management”, says Marialuisa Lavitrano, leader of the RItrainPlus project.

s better.”

The participants of the first RItrainPlus management programme are already a highly educated group of experienced managers, some of whom have years of experience in leading scientific institutions. On top of scientific expertise, Lavitrano believes, it’s important to keep improving the managerial skills.  

“Science is in evolution, and right now we are in the middle of a revolution with big data”, Lavitrano says. “Professionals in scientific organizations must continuously update their skills to be able to respond to new challenges.” 

Lifecycle management helps to maintain RI’s competitiveness 

The RItrainPlus management training programme consists of continuous professional development courses. The programme includes:

  • Managing the lifecycle of an RI
  • Ethical, Legal and Social Implications in RIs and CFs
  • Data management
  • Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Engagement with Industry
  • Socio-economic impact of RIs
  • Team building and development
  • Coaching development programme 

Giorgio Rossi, Professor of Physics at the University of Milano and a coordinator of NFFA Europe, was the lead in the task of developing the CPD course on Managing the lifecycle of an RI. He finds that this short course and another one on socio-economic impact are very useful for RI managers who want to evaluate and enhance the impact of their RIs.

“Socio-economic impact is something you have to explain in every proposal. These courses offer a valuable look into some expert studies on different methodologies and frameworks and introduce some case studies that have been carried out. This all helps managers to lead their own RI

Understanding the lifecycle of a Research Infrastructure is important for managers who want to evaluate and enhance the impact of their RI

The concept of the ‘lifecycle’ is often used to describe how a research infrastructure moves from developing its concept to an operational infrastructure. Efficient planning of operations and awareness of the lifecycle helps the RI to reach its goals. Giorgio Rossi has a long history of working in ESFRI, the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures, which contributes to the development of a strategic roadmap that identifies vital new European RIs for the next 10-20 years. The ESFRI Landmarks are the RIs that were implemented or started implementation under the ESFRI Roadmap and are now established as major elements of competitiveness of the European Research Area.

“The Research Infrastructure project can stay in the landmark for 10 years and then it has to show results”, Rossi explains. “They are evaluated in terms of scientific and organisational maturity, and once they pass that evaluation they are able to reach a legal status of an ERIC.”

“This kind of challenging work requires the RI managers to be highly skilled in lifecycle management,” he concludes. 

The RItrainPlus management programme will offer CPD pilot courses twice: once in 2023 and another in 2024. The first pilot will help the project team to evaluate the programme’s effectiveness and identify areas for improvement. The second pilot will incorporate the feedback from the first one and test the revised programme. Both pilots will involve participants and organisers who will share their experiences and insights.

“The pilot gives the project team, the faculty and the participants the possibility to interact with each other”, project leader Marialuisa Lavitrano says. “This will be a co-creation of new science.” 

Over 130 participants selected for the RItrainPlusmanagement training programme