I’m a philosopher of science-turned-research manager

Hi, my name is Nina Kranke and I work in research management at the Chair of Nature Conservation and Landscape Ecology at the University of Freiburg.

Nina Kranke

What I do

I love my job because it’s so diverse. My current position involves many different tasks like creating and maintaining websites for research projects, supporting the launch of a large transdisciplinary EU project, writing and proofreading texts for publications, creating figures and graphics, organizing events, and maintaining our lab’s social media accounts. I also assist with preparing research proposals, reporting, and tasks related to teaching like preparing materials, organizing excursions and communicating with students. I coordinated the relocation of our team’s offices to another building with less office space per person in close ccoperation with the dean’s office.

Organization

Together with other people I organize meetings and conferences like the meeting of the DFG Senate Commission on Fundamental Issues of Biological Diversity in Freiburg and the kick-off meeting of our new EU project RestPoll in Lund, Sweden. I also help with organizing excursions for students and team outings.

Communication

I create websites and maintain them. Recently I have created my boss’s personal website, the website for the DFG project MultiTroph and helped to build the website for the EU project RestPoll. I also maintain our lab’s Twitter and Mastodon accounts and write texts for publications.

Management

I am involved in project management and other administrative tasks. Together with colleagues from our EU office I managed the Grant Agreement Process for the EU project RestPoll that started in October 2023. I also assisted in the final report for PoshBee, another EU project that ended in Mai 2023 and worked on our internal research report. In addition, I am involved in recruiting processes and other administrative tasks surrounding staff and contracts.

Assistance

I assist my boss with different tasks, e.g. I schedule meetings and appointments, book train or plane tickets, make hotel reservations, register her for conferences, remind her of deadlines, take care of her paperwork, keep records of her publications and outreach activities, maintain her Google Scholar, Researchgate, and Web of Science profiles and update her Wikipedia article. When she is not available I represent her in meetings.

Why research management?

Supporting meaningful research

The short answer is that I enjoy supporting scientific research, outreach activities and teaching on topics that I find interesting and that have societal value. The researchers in my team at the Chair of Nature Conservation and Landscape Ecology in Freiburg work on different topics in pollination ecology, landscape ecology, biodiversity conservation, and multitrophic interactions, for instance. But this is not the only reason why I did not further pursue a career as a researcher in philosophy of science and started working in research management instead.

Interesting tasks

During my time as a research associate and doctoral student, I found that I am more of a generalist than a specialist. In addition, I noticed that I started to get bored of my own very specialized research in philosophy of biology and started to engage in other research-related activties like organizing workshops, writing articles for a student magazine, and volunteering as a student representative in our Research Training Group’s steering commitee. I also realized that I prefer to engage with scientific work to doing my own research. Finally, I admitted to myself that a research-related job with many different organizational, coordinative and conceptual tasks is more appealing to me than a position in research.

Important topics

Leaving research does not necessarily mean that you no longer have the opportunity to deal with topics that are important to you. Feminism, diversity, justice and nature conservation are some of the issues that have been close to my heart since the beginning of my academic career. I my current job I still deal with these issues either directly or indirectly. For example, I was involved in writing the gender and diversity plan for our EU project RestPoll and I co-organized an online workshop on gender and diversity.

Workplace university

Another reason why I decided to become a research manager is that I really like the university as a workplace. But everyone who has worked as a resesearcher (in Germany) knows that it is difficult to be a researcher and at the same time have a (social) life outside the work environment. I am not only referring to the difficult situation of being a parent and trying to reconcile employment with care work and family life. It is also difficult to maintain friendships and other important relationships when you only get short fixed-term contracts and are therefore forced to relocate multiple times or commute (#IchBinHanna). This is why I decided to take a different career path that would allow me to continue working at the university and engage with scientific research in a meaningful way.

My career path →

Are you looking for a job in research management in Germany? Check out these job postings

Skills and qualities

These are important skills and qualities that are useful in my job:

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Interdisciplinary competencies
Interest in research topics beyond the own field of expertise, understand different disciplinary languages

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Organization
Plan what needs to be done by whom and when

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Enthusiasm
See meaning in big goals and small tasks at hand

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Writing/text editing skills
Write different kinds of text adapted to the respective target audience, proofread and edit texts written by others

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Expertise
Know how research and research administration work

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Willingness to learn
Familiarize quickly with new areas of responsibility and new tasks

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IT skills
Proficient in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, graphics software, CMS (e.g. WordPress)

Our team

Work outing at the golf course
Work outing at the golf course

I work most closely with the head of our department. However, my position also involves communicating and collaborating with other researchers, the secretary, technical staff and employees of the university’s central administration.

Family

My work is very important to me, but spending quality time with my lovely husband and sweet son is infinitely valuable.

Get to know me from a more private side and read some fun facts about me.

My son is now four years old and loves crafting and drawing
Outdoor adventure with my husband and son

Let’s get in touch!

info@nina-kranke.com