International council recognises Unisan as a research administration professional

Tau Moholoopa, a Post-Award Grants Officer in the Research Support Directorate at Unisa has been awarded the professional designation of Research Administration Professional (RAP) by the International Professional Recognition Council (IPRC).


Tau Moholoopa

The IPRC is an autonomous body of expert research managers, administrators and stakeholders representing the African and international research management and administration (RMA) community.

Having first learnt about the IPRC in a story on Prof Les Labuschagne, the Executive Director: Research, Innovation and Commercialisation, and his status as a Senior Research Management Professional (SRMP), Moholoopa became curious about the IPRC.

"I started to read more about the IPRC but always felt like I was not yet ready to apply for the professional recognition," reflects Moholoopa. However, it was only when Dr Retha Visagie (SRMP), a Research Integrity Manager in the Research Support Directorate, unpacked the application during the mentoring session that he saw that his application stood a chance.

"At first glance, the application seems intimidating, but as you go through the application and the Professional Competency Framework document, it becomes more exciting, and I just continued to write, save it for later, come back to it in a day or two and just kept going," he says. When he was done with the application, it went through a rigorous review process by the IPRC Technical Review Committee.

As the 59th professional to be recognised by the IPRC, the Department of Research, Innovation and Commercialisation news desk asked him the following questions.

What does the recognition mean to you and for Unisa?

Becoming a research administration professional signifies not just a professional milestone but is a testament to my dedication and growth within the field of research administration. It validates the hard work and dedication I have invested over the years and underscores my commitment to continuous professional development. It shows that the University of South Africa invests in the professional development of its employees and walks the extra mile for the growth of research management and administration.

Why is it important to be recognised as a research professional?

Research management is quite a young field compared to other fields. The Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology (CREST) at Stellenbosch University only opened applications for a new formal qualification in research management and administration in 2021. Research management has welcomed research managers from diverse fields, which is where the recognition from IPRC comes into play, meaning that although you do not hold a formal qualification in research management and administration, we recognise your knowledge, skills and experience in research administration.

Do you have any words of encouragement for research professionals who would like to apply for professional recognition?

If the application feels draining, leave it for a moment, take a break, remember the end goal, and you will realise that the application is worth it. If it becomes overwhelming, seek help from other recognised professionals and attend the sessions offered by Unisa and the Southern African Research and Innovation Management Association (SARIMA) to help you with the application process.

* Compiled by Mpho Moloele, PR and Communications, Department of Research, Innovation and Commercialisation

Publish date: 2024/05/30

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