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The RItrain organisational competency profile





What is competency and how is it relevant to Research Infrastructures?

Competency is an observable ability of any professional, integrating multiple components such as knowledge, skills, values and attitudes.

Managers within pan-European RIs need excellent, state-of-the-art leadership and management skills if they are to succeed. RIs are primarily service organisations; they need to operate as businesses with a client base. They need a distinct set of competencies to deal with (i) multinational operations, (ii) transnational access and data flow, (iii) different social security systems, (iv) different cultures, and (v) different legal systems.

Through consultation with a wide range of and managers/leaders and technical operators of research infrastructures RItrain has defined the required competencies in RIs from preparatory to operational phases.

The competency framework can be used in RIs as a compass to design training programmes, assist appraisal and recruitment, support personal development planning, and facilitate career progression of science professionals.

All of the identified competencies have been mapped to learning outcomes of the modules in the Executive Masters in Management of Research Infrastructures

Download the competency profile here


Understanding the competency profile

The framework outlines several core competencies, which are grouped into 3 broad areas:

  1. Leading the organisation;
  2. Engagement within and beyond the organisation;
  3. Professional conduct.
For each competency there is a definition, summarising the knowledge and skills required, and the behaviours typically displayed by someone who has this competency. The definitions also encapsulate those behaviours avoided by competent individuals (ineffective behaviours).

The competencies are intended to be applied dynamically to all phases of the RI cycle – planning, construction and operation – with each phase building on the previous phase with different nuances i.e. a competency required at the operation phase connotes also the planning and construction phases as a matter of principle. Therefore, the framework provides guidance on what is needed urgently and what can wait until the next phase.

The descriptors of behaviour are not designed to be comprehensive, but provide a sense of what is expected from managers and leaders of Research Infrastructures.



Applying the competency profile to an RI

The competency profile can be used by individuals and by teams to assess the competencies that are established and where there are gaps.

An assessment can then be made as to the most appropriate approach to close any identified gaps, e.g:

•Undertaking the Executive Masters in Management of Research Infrastructures as a full Masters programme, as an organisation or as a relevant stand-alone modules
•Identifying relevant training courses (see:
•Gaining hands-on experience e.g. through an RItrain Staff Exchange
•Gain insight into specific competencies through one of the RItrain webinars