The role of national associations
National associations have been developed by research businesses over the last 65 years. They represent a multi-generational commitment by research businesses to co-operate to promote and advance the business of research.
National associations deliver training, organise conferences, collect statistics, and make representations on behalf of those businesses. They also provide compliance structures supported by established codes of conduct and are a repository of expertise on national legislation, culture and customs. These associations are an established network linking researchers, clients and other stakeholders including regulators and legislators.
Supporting and defending self regulation
The research sector is based on national markets. This is how research businesses organise themselves and how law and regulation is currently applied. The basis therefore of any successful self-regulation regime must be strong national associations. We recognise that these associations do not yet exist in all markets, and existing self-regulation can be improved. However where self-regulation is done well, it is done nationally. This is possible because:
- There is certainty as to how the rules applied would be considered by a court in that jurisdiction should a legal dispute arise.
- There is certainty as to the procedural requirements for a disciplinary case to be considered fair (e.g. under Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights).
- There are good relationships with other regulators, such as data protection authorities or ombudsmen who would otherwise intervene in the absence of self-regulation.
- It allows the concerns of citizens to be addressed in their own language and with their national standards of professionalism and decency applied.
Strong voices advancing standards and influencing policy
The voice of industry is critical in the determination of legislation and regulations and the maintenance of self-regulation; commerce; standards-setting; business ethics, practice and management, and client service. National associations often establish business processes and practices for the industry that become commonly-accepted. They also develop best practices and apply auditing and certification procedures as a quality assurance credential for a business, like ISO.
Research should not be represented by a single voice, but rather, when the occasion requires, by a choir of many voices. Researchers need and deserve strong voices at every level, locally, nationally, regionally and globally. The same message will not always be delivered, because of the nuance of language, custom and culture, but those messages should be co-ordinated and informed by experience gained by individuals, companies and associations.
The Global Research Business Network
The Global Research Business Network (GRBN) is the embodiment of an open and generous commitment by 35 national associations and their regional federations to work more closely together to serve the research business community. It is not a new association or a further layer of bureaucracy.
GRBN is based on a three tiered structure of co-operation and mutual support:
- Research business supporting effective representation and self-regulation by strong national associations.
- National associations supporting effective autonomous regional federations by sharing information, pooling resources and co-ordinating action.
- Regional federations being outward looking towards a global network to represent the best overall interests of research.
Working with research businesses, GRBN will create national associations where there are none. We will nurture new or developing associations to help them serve the needs of their members. We will also reinvigorate established associations, challenging them to address emerging issues and to remain relevant to the business of research. This is a bottom-up approach focussed on maximizing effectiveness at the national and regional level, based on strong and effective national associations.
GRBN Programme 2012-2013
Following meetings in London and Miami attended by representatives of national associations from 17 countries, a programme of work for 2012-13 was agreed.
EFAMRO will lead development in the area of standards and self regulation. This will include a comparison of existing codes of conduct used by GRBN members. In identifying areas of commonality and difference, this document will assist research businesses seeking to expand into new markets. It will also lay the ground for future discussions on revising and reconciling codes where possible.
ARIA will lead the development of new initiatives to measure the growth and predict the future development of the research sector. This will build on ARIA’s successful State of the Business Survey and will encompass all GRBN member countries, including major developing markets.
APRC will lead development of GRBN information resources. This will not only create a central resource for shared knowledge and information, but will also feed into the development of conferences, training and qualifications across the network. It will be the cornerstone of a community of practice dedicated to promoting and advancing the business of research.
To find out more visit our websites or contact us directly:
The Global Research Business Network – www.grbn.org
APRC, the Asia Pacific Research Committee – www.aprc-research.com
Contact: Peter Harris email@example.com
ARIA, the Americas Research Industry Alliance – www.aria-americas.org
Contact: Alex Garnicaalex.firstname.lastname@example.org
EFAMRO, The European Research Federation – www.efamro.eu
Contact: Barry Ryan email@example.com