Back to school for a Masters in Management of Research Infrastructures

After nine years working on technical aspects of distributed computing in Italy and seven on strategy and policy aspects in Netherlands at the EGI Foundation, I am back to school for a Masters in Management of Research Infrastructures.

The Executive Masters in Management of Research Infrastructures is a new executive programme organised by the RItrain project and hosted at the University of Milano-Bicocca. The goal is to extend the competencies required to manage and lead research infrastructures. This is the first of a series of post about the experience.

As Strategy and Policy Manager of the EGI Foundation, I consider this a great opportunity to further develop in my role, share my experience and challenges, and learn from peers in the different areas tackled by the programme.

The first module

Last week, I attended the first three-day module that focused on “governance and organisation”. We learnt about the approach to design a governance structure and also that informal social structures are as much as important as the formal ones defined by an organogram. We also dived into the organisational complexity of research infrastructures (RIs) that can range from the single-site organisation to a distributed network of nodes with no central authority or legal entity.

Being the first module, I also got to know my new colleagues: 24 professionals with an average age of 45 and from 10 different nationalities. They represent research infrastructures located in 12 countries (either from single-site RIs, national nodes or international coordination bodies).

The video I pasted at the bottom of this post summarises the first three intense days with some inspirational music.

What will we learn next?

Over the next 18 months, we will cover aspects such as strategy management, funding models, international law and compliance, financial management, impact and awareness, leadership and team building, service provision, infrastructure and resource management, business development and innovation, and planning/setting up/leading an operational RI.

All the learning is tailored to the research infrastructure context and each participant will be asked to work on field project to present at the end of this journey. The next exciting step will be to decide the topic of my final project and given all the streams of activities in the EGI context, I’m not definitely short in ideas.

I will keep you posted on the developments and in the meantime, wish me success!