This study sets out to examine the practices of research professionals who are undertaking a research management role for the first or second time. Most of these managers are in their late twenties to middle thirties and are usually employed as team leaders. R&D personnel early in their managerial career are served badly by the innovation literature. Much of this literature focuses on describing the behaviour of the participants rather than providing information with the potential to contribute to their managerial practice. A major objective of this study is to provide some messages for academics and others of how they may contribute better to the managerial function of first and second time R&D managers in the 21st century.